Think Ahead for Winter Growing

Winter Growing in Aquaponics
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Yes, you can grow a variety of crops YEAR ROUND in aquaponics in acclimatized greenhouses if you install grow lights for use during winter months to extend the light of the day. In order to grow food you need six hours of direct sunlight per day or ten hours of grow lights. 

However, there is a caveat, the ambient air temperature still determines which crops are easier to grow in cold weather or hot weather. For example, It’s easier to grow fragile greens in cooler weather. Let’s use bib lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce or red leaf lettuce as an example. If the air temperature is too hot, those lettuces will not grow to their maximum size, in fact, they may BOLT before they have even reached their average  growth and are best grown in cooler temperatures. However, in hot seasons, there are far more heat-resistant lettuces available such as Romaine (cos).


Komatsuna summerfest - An Asian Green we prefer over bib lettuce.

Komatsuna summerfest – An Asian Green we prefer over bib lettuce.

Despite the fact that Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are ‘housed’ in acclimatized greenhouses and provide the ideal water temperature for growing lettuces at 78 degrees F, all seedlings and growing plants (of all varieties) still react to climatic conditions:

  • Air temperature
  • How air temperature effects the temperature of the gravel in the grow beds
  • Humidity levels
  • Sunlight exposure levels
  • Day length
  • Root drainage and water flow
  • Appropriate pH balance and appropriate nutrient levels.
Phyllis Davis harvesting greens for a luncheon. That's was one heck-of-a-salad. Yum.

Phyllis Davis harvesting greens for a luncheon. That’s was one heck-of-a-salad. Yum.

In order to create maximum crop yields, careful consideration is always paramount for seed variety and selection for growing at optimal levels by experimenting with small seed batches until you find a seed that offers maximum production in your farm.

Before deciding on one particular seed or seed variety for your farm, experiment first. Since every area of the world offers a variety of seed choices in that country or region, take your time to speak with local growers and seed suppliers to see which seed will work best for you, in your climate, and then purchase a few different varieties of small packets of seeds to experiment in your aquaponics system until you find the seeds that work best for you and your family or future customers.

All varieties of lettuces grow to harvest between 40 and 75 days and most lettuce seeds available for sale have been developed for growing hearty, healthy heads of lettuce in both cool weather and hot weather conditions. 

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, holding ONE HEAD of India Mustard. Wow! That will make one gigantic salad!

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, holding ONE HEAD of India Mustard. Wow!
That will make one gigantic salad!

 

Cool weather lettuces we recommend

  • Head and Big Lettuces: Arctic King, Buttercrunch, Matchless, North Pole, and Burpee’s Bibb, Red Sails, Prizehead
  • Romaine: Parris Island Cos (the most common)

 

Heat-tolerant lettuces we recommend:

  • Head lettuces: Gulfstream, Vista, Oak Leaf, Great Lakes, Ithaca, Gator (highly recommended by University of West Virginia). Burpee, Igloo.
  • Leaf Lettuces: Simpson Elite, Burpee™s Heatwave Blend, Black Seeded Simpson
  • Romaine Lettuces (cos): Snappy, Terrapin, Pomulus.
  • Red Lettuces: Redfire and Red Sails.

Aquaponics in COLD Climates is Ideal for Greens

Aquaponics in COLD Climates is Ideal for Greens
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

greenhouse snowThe key to the success of aquaponics in cold climates is the climatically adapted structure housing the installation.

In tropical and warm climate installation, less planning and careful construction are required for success, but even in very cold climates, aquaponics can be very productive. It is the extra attention to details including insulation, heating, ventilation and backup or duplication of the electrical power that ensure success.

First, here’s some information regarding insulation. It is much easier to HEAT up space than to COOL it off. The laws of physics are in play here. Heat moves to areas where there is less heat or lack of heat. To create an insulated space and keep the air temperature inside that space at a reasonable level is easily accomplished and has been done for centuries. Today, the use of high R factor insulation, excellent sealing, and wind-proofing can produce a space with a very high R factor which means very little additional energy is needed to heat the space.

farm 8 18 2012The other benefit of the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems is their wide range of temperature tolerance. Space at the Grow Table level needs to stay in the range of 45 to 104° F (6 to 40° C). The Fish Tank is heated to a constant temperature and helps maintain the temperature inside through the timing of the water cycles.

Heating the space can be as simple as adding a small space heater that is placed on the floor. It can be electrical, propane, city gas or even fuel oil powered. Exhaust from combustion needs to be vented as in living space. There are installations measuring 20’ x 36’ (6 x 11m) in Minnesota that only require a small thermostatically controlled electrical heater to keep the space above 45 degrees. There are larger installations in Wisconsin, Oregon and New York heated with wood-burning stoves. These stoves are a lot more work, but work they do in producing great vegetables.

Even in cold climate installations, ventilation of the space must be addressed to reduce humidity and pockets of stale air. Every installation requires a small circulating fan to mix the air and ensure the air is moving. This air movement helps the pollination of the flowering plants (for example, tomatoes) and keeps any dampness at bay. Venting the air to the outside in very cold weather is seldom necessary. The smart method of having a growing space in cold climates is to attach the greenhouse to your house. The heat from the house helps temper the air in the greenhouse, and the plants give much-needed moisture to the winter air in the house.

Cold climate aquaponics does require more planning, better and more careful construction and the added expense of the backup heating and power requirements. Now is the time to plan, construct and begin to enjoy aquaponics no matter where you live.

Learn More About Aquaponics and Your Portable Farm

Learn More About Aquaponics and Your Portable Farm

A single module of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System 

A typical-sized Grow Table in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System is 5ft x 40ft or 6ft x 32ft (1.4m x 1.6m), which provides 200 sq. ft (42m²) per Grow Table. A 200 sq. ft (42m²) Grow Table feeds eight people all the table vegetables they need to remain healthy forever. You can also build smaller Grow Tables.

Depending on how motivated and skilled you are, you can build a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems module in a few days, and after your installation is complete, you will be ready to harvest food in 40 days or less. After installation, your daily maintenance for your new farm is about 10 minutes per day to feed your fish, plant seedlings, and harvest your vegetables.  And, the more Grow Tables you install, your time will increase only a few minutes per day, per module.

  1. To create a balanced diet, purchase other sources of carbohydrate such as potatoes, rice, corn or wheat, and some additional protein source of meat, chicken, eggs, protein-rich vegetables, and more portions of tilapia or other fish are still necessary.
  2. Aquaponics is known for growing healthy greens however, we have found new and creative ways to grow ‘blooming plants’ in Portable Farms such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, cucumbers and even eggplant. These plants normally prefer a loose sandy soil high in nutrients. However, we have never had success growing any variety of squash.
  3. Growing any type of melon in Portable Farms is not suggested (we have tried many times) because the vines and melons take up the entire Grow Table and do not leave room for any other vegetables. You might try using stable trellises with netting to support the melons and keep the leaves away from the gravel.
  4. Our systems do not grow all vegetables that typically grow in soil. For example, aquaponics does not grow ‘root vegetables’ in the gravel used as the growing medium in Grow Tables. Examples of root vegetables are potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes, celery, etc. These root vegetables cannot move the gravel to thrive and mature.
  5. We do not recommend growing perennials that remain in the Grow Tables year-round. For example, we do not recommend growing berries since the root system of the plants grows large after a year and creates a large root ball that begins to decay and mysteriously attracts insects (primarily ants and white flies) and blocks water flow in the table.
  6. Tomatoes and cucumbers require about 100 days in the Grow Tables. If you have a small Grow Table, we suggest you grow a wide variety of lettuces, basil, kale, Swiss Chard, bok choy, green beans, spinach, mustard greens (we call mustard greens Wasabi lettuce – it is hot and spicy).
  7. We also recommend growing Asian greens in aquaponics. Asian seeds are available from Johnny’s Select or Burpee Seeds. They grow quickly and are delicious and healthy and easily prepared by stir-frying, steaming, frying or added to soups.

    Tilapia is the chosen fish for use in aquaponics in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere uses Jade Perch and Silver Perch. Some in the Southern Hemisphere use Barramundi for aqupaonics, but it’s not recommended if you’re a beginner.
  • Plant your seeds within two weeks of the time you expect to complete your installation of your Portable Farms®. In most cases, building and installing your new farm will only take a few days of dedicated effort, so PLANT YOUR SEEDS as soon as you set the dates for constructing your farm. Only you can determine your skill level or your installer’s skill level. Still, for MOST people with the proper tools and building experience (i.e., capable of building a cabinet), it may only take a few days to build and install their Portable Farms® Aquaponics System. If you paint the wood for your farm, add a day or two to this equation. Please ask your installer to read Sections A-L of this course so they can build your farm correctly.
  • It is also essential to find a source for tilapia (fish) NOW and preorder them for a date when you believe you will have your installation complete to install your fish—more on fish and fish breeders.  

It is our pleasure to bring to you the information you want for creating high-output on-site food production facility using PFAS LLC’s state-of-the-art aquaponics design for you and your family.

Our online aquaponics course offers the assembly and operating instructions for building your own Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems installation up to the size for feeding up to eight people in one module.

 

Commercial Aquaponics’ Quick Start Guide – Dream Big

Commercial Aquaponics’ Quick Start Guide – Dream Big
by Colle & Phyllis Davis

If your dream is to enter into the exciting field of the commercial aquaponics business and you want to get started as soon as possible, here are some options for your consideration.

  1. You will need greenhouse space and renting a greenhouse space (instead of buying land and building one yourself) is an affordable and easy way to get started. The biggest expense in starting up a commercial aquaponics installation is always the cost of the land and the greenhouses. By renting existing greenhouses, you can start in a matter of weeks. Plus, you may never build your greenhouses because renting space can give you a one-year ROI. That is extremely attractive. Contact a real estate broker in your area to inquire about the rental availability of greenhouses in your area.

“The agricultural sector is going to face enormous challenges in order to feed the 9.6 billion people that the FAO predicts are going to inhabit the planet by 2050: food production must increase by 70% by 2050, and this has to be achieved in spite of the limited availability of arable lands, the increasing need for fresh water (agriculture consumes 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply) and other less predictable factors, such as the impact of climate change, which, according a recent report by the UN could lead, among other things, to changes to seasonal events in the life cycle of plant and animals.” The Future of Agriculture- Smart Farming by Federico Guerrini, Forbes Magazine.

If you rent or build your own greenhouse, here are some necessities for a successful aquaponics greenhouse structure:

      1. Orientation: Mostly North/South for the long axis in Northern Hemisphere. There are many exceptions/
      2. Ideal temperatures: Interior 60° to 100° (15 to 38C) for plants and 70° to 90° (21 to 32C) for fish.
      3. Sunlight: Minimum 6 hours of DIRECT sunlight or equivalent per day
      4. Ventilation: Interior air movement and venting to the outside to control humidity and temperature
      5. Water: Potable water available inside structure always
      6. Electrical power: Needed to run pumps and other electrical equipment including fans, heaters, and lights. Can be solar or other alternative energy source.

2) Here is the most important question to ask yourself before you launch your commercial aquaponics farm, ‘Who is your market?’ In our eBook Commercial Aquaponics GOLD the number task to do before you do anything else is to define your market. What will you grow? Who will buy your production? A commercial aquaponics installation produces a scary amount of produce and keeps doing it every week for as long as you want.

Here is a weekly updated report from the FDA entitled National Retail Report for Specialty Crops. It lists the retail prices for the most popular fruits and vegetables in the United States each weekFor example: 

December 3, 2021.  Red Leaf Lettuce – Selling in US – $1.30 per weighted average price – sold in 1,030 stores.

December 3, 2021.  Red Leaf Lettuce – Selling in US – $2.90 per pound –
sold in 93 stores.

As you plan your crops, you must compete with either price or freshness, quality, and availability.

PLEASE NOTE: Aquaponics grows ‘above ground table vegetables’ like lettuces, basil, Swiss chard, kale, bok choy, mustard greens and some blooming plants such as green beans. It does not grow root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, etc.), and does not grow fruits that are grown on trees (apples, pears, or plums), or on larges bushes that prefer dry sandy soil (melons or berries).

Your best markets are casinos, high-end restaurants, resort hotels, and specialty markets. You will take years longer to make your money back if you go the wholesale route, no matter how much you sell. Sell to the chefs and buyers who must please the most discerning customers, and they will pay the best prices.


3) To become a successful commercial aquaponics systems business owner. First, what size space do you need. After interviewing, in person, at least ten chefs add up the number of boxes of lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and whatever else they want to buy from you and divide the number by half. This process gives you a build-in expansion to satisfy their demand.

Fun story: The first time you deliver a box or two of lettuce and the chef tastes it, they may cry. It will be the best lettuce they have had in years. Then in a few weeks, they will ask you if you can provide different lettuce, say red leaf or butter, and here is where you own them. The ‘special orders’ are where you make the most money, grown to order, local, pesticide-free are super sexy, and the product is the finest available.

4) How much can you grow in the space you are renting? With the market requirement in hand, the formula for maximizing the floor space in a greenhouse is to divide the total floor space by 350. Example a greenhouse 30 x 90 = 2700 sq ft. Divide by 350 (sq ft for each Module) to get 7.7 modules. Depending on the physical layout, a maximum of 7 Portable Farms Modules will fit in that space. Using the Commercial Aquaponics GOLD eBook means you will be selling to upscale markets you would make back your initial investment in one growing season!

Remember, you are only using enough space to satisfy one-half of the demand. Therefore, you need to get your hands wet, your crew trained, your delivery system worked out, and have shipped products before committing to a larger space.

Today is the first day of your new project. Get started by buying the Commercial Aquaponics GOLD  interviewing chefs, looking for greenhouse space, and taking the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course©.

  • Sample Greenhouse Facility Lease

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/sample_greenhouse_facility_lease_e3141

  • How to Start a Plant Nursery from Home

https://www.gardenguides.com/123065-start-plant-nursery-home.html

  • Leasing greenhouse space

https://www.greenhousemag.com/article/gmpro_0110_technology_greenhouse_space/

Warehouse Aquaponics? Yes, Here’s How . . .

Warehouse Aquaponics with Portable Farms®? Yes, Here’s How . . .
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

How to keep a warehouse clean in four steps

We cracked the code so you make money faster and easier and with LOWER ELECTRICAL COSTS to increase your ROI for warehouse aquaponics! You’re welcome.

Those huge empty warehouses on the edge of town seem to be begging to be repurposed again in some productive and sustainable way. The enclosed spaces run from tens of thousands to millions of square feet of usable space. There must be some way to turn that empty space into a money maker.

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLD

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing.

The main advantage for using greenhouses is to modify the microclimate and to extend the growing season for a wider variety of crops. The protection from the weather has a huge positive effect on the plant growth and is very cost effective. The main disadvantage, in most cases, is that the greenhouse is being used in the same-old-ways of intensive farming methods that are used in regular growing. The water is applied to the plants and the excess water flows into the ground and is lost forever. Even if watering is done with careful irrigation even drip irrigation systems, the water is lost forever and, in some climates, increases the humidity inside the structure. 

How about making this available warehouse space into a huge aquaponics setup using some special grow lights to grow plants? It sounds so reasonable and straightforward. Every week PFAS LLC receives requests from all over the world from those interested in making use of abandoned warehouses in their area. They dream of converting the interior space of warehouses into a high-intensity food production facility to grow, sell and distribute food locally and make lots of money.

Greenhouse advantages:

  1. Controls pests, diseases and predators (birds, small animals, etc.) from the natural surrounding environments

  2. Protects plants and fish from extreme weather conditions (except for tornado, hurricane or major flooding)

  3. Enables ability to provide shade cloth to protect from too much sun for maximum production

  4. Extends growing season

  5. Provides pleasant, comfortable, quiet work environment for workers

  6. Offers ideal conditions for growing plants and fish

  7. Creates a space for the option of installing Grow Lights above grow trays for year-round maximum growing conditions.\The physical building needs to enclose as much air space as possible to help regulate the temperature. Buildings with taller roofs are much easier to keep cool and interestingly, they are easier to keep warm when using the PFAS Technology

 

Below is the process that nearly all warehouses must go through in order to be ready for Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems:

  1. Obtain the use of the building through leasing or purchase or whatever means of legal transfer is required to secure the right to use the space.
  2. Obtain the necessary permits to make changes to the electrical, HVAC, surface water diversion, sewage hook ups and security systems. This may also require a zoning change.
  3. Permission from Fish and Wildlife Department in the local jurisdiction.
  4. Permission from the electrical utility to ‘up the load coverage’ to keep the grow lights on.
  5. A thorough cleaning. Steam cleaning and even sand blasting walls and floors may be necessary to make the space clean and usable for growing plants and fish.
  6. Painting all surfaces and using an epoxy coating on the floors.
  7. Replacing or updating the entire HVAC system.
  8. Installing an effective grow light system first before installing the aquaponics’ Modules.

YEAR ROUND Ideal Growing Conditions for Aquaponics

YEAR ROUND Ideal Growing Conditions for Aquaponics
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis 

indiamustard3

One single head of India Mustard (tastes like a spicy lettuce) that was harvested from a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.

 


 Question: 

 “How is it possible that Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems can grow such DELICIOUS and nutrient rich food year round?”

Answers:

  • In sunlight, plans use photosynthesis to turn CO2 and water into oxygen and sugar.
  • In the dark, plants switch to the same system animals use to stay alive, the building and repair of the organism itself. 
  • Added to this phenomena of growth, is the fact that as the temperature increases, chemical activity speeds up.

greenbean aquaponicsThe closer to the ‘ideal’ temperature the better for the plants to grow. The ideal temperature for plant growth is, interestingly, 73° F at the leaf surface or about the same temperature as humans enjoy.

In a climatically adapted greenhouse, temperatures are regulated so the maximum temperature the plants can comfortably tolerate is never reached and the lowest temperature that the particular plant can grow at, produce the best possible conditions for growth.

To have a warm garden in the winter time takes some planning but once it is in place, it will produce prodigious amounts of happy food. For a plant to have all of the nutrients and water it can possibly use delivered to its roots before it even needs them means the plant can grow a quickly as possible because there are no limiting factors.

  • All of the food (nutrients) for the plants arrives before the plants need it, or want it.
  • The water is always available and it is refreshed a couple of times a day
  • The light levels are always perfect in the structure
  • The air circulates in a gentle fashion to help with pollination and to help avoid dampness in the structure
  • The temperature is pleasant and varies a bit so as not to be monotonous
  • There are no bugs or weeds or poisons or harsh chemicals used to contend with, ever.
  • The water in the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems turns over ENTIRELY twice a day. Plus, all of the heavy fish poop has been removed and rerouted so it never flows into the Grow Tray or has contact with the plants.

As a result of an ideal environment:

  • The plants grow faster than the seed packets say they will
  • Food grown in an aquaponics system is much healthier than ‘regularly’ grown plants, and as a result, they are healthier for you, they TASTE BETTER and are higher in nutrition.
  • The food in an aquaponics system is grown without any chemicals (think about it; if chemicals were used, it would kill the fish). The growing food is more beautiful with each passing day
  • The plants mature in less time and require 90 to 95% less water than their dirt-grown friends
  • The plants stay clean and dry at all times
  • They are harvested when they are at their peak of ripeness and maturation which means their flavor and nutritional content are always at optimal levels
  • They are simply the best vegetables on the planet.

One of the (many) key reasons plants in Portable Farms® grow so quickly and so LARGE is because the plants roots are bathed in warm water that is loaded with nutrients and are supported by warm gravel in a warm building. What more could they possibly want or need? Portable Farms® spoil the plants and and cater to their every need for comfort.

Interior of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. Photo taken January 3, 2012.

Interior of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. 

 

To provide the absolute ideal conditions for growth and health to any living being, gives them everything they need to be their best. This is true of plants in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System, raising animals and even raising children. The raising children thing is much harder actually. At least we don’t have to eat them. 🙂

 

 

Start the process of having your warm garden by taking the Aquaponics University Aquaponics Online Course today and have warm healthy and delicious plants in only a few weeks.

 

Want to Make a Chef Weak and Breathless?

Want to Make a Chef Weak and Breathless?
– Colle and Phyllis Davis

Do you want to know how to make an Executive Chef weak at the knees and breathless? Offer them a farm that grows an unlimited supply of fresh pesticide-free food and home-grown fish that’s near their kitchen. Then, after they wipe tears of joy from their eyes, tell them that the farm pays for itself and after that, the money they had been spending on food from their suppliers can now be spent on increased salaries and kitchen improvements. Since they’ll be speechless, expect a hug.

Today, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems offer fresh food and home-grown fish in an easy to operate system that pays for itself. What could be easier? This really is 21st Century Agriculture.

If a chef has been ordering 2 cartons of lettuce per week (24 heads per carton) from the food supplier who delivers his produce, now he only needs to plant 48 seeds in ‘grow medium’ into his Portable Farms®  Aquaponics System. By planting every week, he never needs to order lettuce again. It only takes 35 to 40 days to grow a head of lettuce. Plus, the produce won’t need to travel from local or long distance farms or endure packing and refrigeration so the food retains all of its flavor and high nutritional value. The chef can always harvest their vegetables at their ‘peak’ of perfection instead of receiving vegetables that were harvested and shipped too early. These systems are a perfect example of a Carbon Negative footprint, especially when compared to in-ground growing and current agricultural practices.

The Portable Farms®  Aquaponics Systems can be sized to meet the food requirements of a restaurant. A 20 x 30′ system can be placed in the parking lot behind a restaurant and will grow 3,600 vegetables and 1,400 pounds of fish per year. This size farm won’t grow enough food for the needs of even a small restaurant with a regular customer base. However, it is large enough to supplement their food supply from existing suppliers and adds ‘bragging rights’ to customers and the local media to increase their customer base because they’ll be able to tell the public they ‘raise a portion of their own organic vegetables behind the restaurant and it also provides some of their own fresh, home-grown fish.’ They can also offer their customers a tour of their farm creating an even deeper customer loyalty. A positive dining experience and a greenhouse tour will spread the excitement around town, within days.

chef proud 2A larger restaurant who wants to reduce food costs, should consider a 90 x 120′ (1/4 acre) Portable Farms®  Aquaponics Systems near the restaurant.  This size Portable Farms® grows 60,000 to 70,000 vegetables and around 21,000 pounds of fish per year, depending on the crop choice and the market values for those crops, the ROI for this sized unit is between three and five years. The ROI is much faster for commercial sized systems because they have far more growing space for vegetables and tank space for fish.

What is a Portable Farms®  Aquaponics System?

The Portable Farms®  Aquaponics System is a closed loop, water-based fish and organic vegetable production system. It utilizes insulated and heated fish tanks to grow Tilapia, and then runs the warm water from the fish tank (rich with warm, nutrient-rich fish waste) through a clarifying system with special pumps, and then the water flows through  gravel-filled Grow Trays to feed and water the growing plants. The entire system is built in modules; each module (shown below) contains one fish tank, one settling tank, and of course, the food growing space. These modules are enclosed in a climatically adapted growing structure, usually a greenhouse. The structure keeps out pests and helps maintain a perfect growing temperature. A commercial sized system contains between 28 and 32 modules.

The Portable Farms®  Aquaponics Systems are specifically designed to utilize currently unused urban or near-urban space to grow food as close to the end consumer as possible. It is not designed to replace regular land-based agriculture. The main function of the Portable Farms® Aquaponics System is to produce nutritious food, on site, using a minimum of space, electricity, water and labor.

Restaurants generally purchase food from local and national suppliers who arrange with providers for vegetables, dairy, bakeries, meat and fish to be delivered to their restaurants. These suppliers sell chefs what’s available on the market at that time, and then make regular deliveries to their kitchens. It sounds simple, but it is not. Thousands of people are involved in the process of growing food, shipping it, selling it in the marketplace, and then distributing the food to restaurants for preparation by chefs to serve to their dining customers. And, in the process of bringing food from farm to table, the costs rise to pay everyone along the line.

Owning a Portable Farms®  Aquaponics System takes all the ‘middle men/women’ out of the equation. In fact, one full-time, semi-skilled worker can operate and maintain over 1/4 of an acre of Portable Farms®  Aquaponics System. It’s not quite ‘a drive through farm,’ but it’s close.

Make YOUR chef happy today. A happy chef creates a happy and prosperous restaurant with loyal customers who tell all their friends about their dining experience. It’s the best investment you can make in today’s competitive environment. LEARN FROM US: CLICK HERE.


Portable Farms® – Go Solar and OFF GRID. So, Sexy.

Portable Farms® – Go Solar and OFF GRID. So, Sexy.
– By Colle and Phyllis Davis

PFAS LL offers Portable Farms® Kits designed for SOLAR installations.  

The PFAS LLC Research Center installation at our headquarters in Southern Florida has operated on solar power since last August and has not missed a beat. The system is 100% solar powered and you too can have a system solar powered Portable Farms® with 12v air compressors and timers.

Full disclosure: We use a slightly modified solar electric system with a 12VDC to 110v AC converter for the large air pump because of the noise factor. We have on hand and have used a 12v air compressor for the CAD Pump and it works just fine but is much noisier than the 110VAC compressor. You have been forewarned. 🙂

Solar Aquaponics GOLD

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

The PFAS LLC Florida solar electrical system:

solar panel

  A single 100 watt panel installed next to a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System        

The increasing demand from our students in areas of the world where electrical power is erratic or non-existent has prompted us to offer the Portable Farms® Kit that is part of the Aquaponics University Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course© with a 12 volt DC OPTION. The price is exactly the same as the regular 110 AC system, but we need to know when you order the AU Course or additional Portable Farms® Kits that you want the 12volt option.


With the price of solar panels continuing to drop, the price/value proposition has swung over to favor the solar installations EVEN IF YOU HAVE GRID POWER. For example, the system in use –shown above – is a 100watt panel, MPPT controller, a 12v constantly on air pump for the air stones, a 12v timer, (here is where the difference in our system lies) a 700watt converter 12/110 to run a 110 VAC 65lmp air pump to run the CAD Pump and one deep cycle marine battery. That’s it. The system is bullet proof with all the controls on a panel under the Grow Table.

 

What will ‘going solar’ do for you?

  • Reduce the worry of a power failure that could impact your fish.
  • Reduce the cost of electrical power from your house. Our system will take about 2 year to pay for itself because so little power is needed for the Portable Farms®.
  • Increasing the solar installation size to run Grow Lights for winter growing will quadruple the size/cost and will take about 3.5 years to pay off depending on the size of the installation.
  • Give you incredibly huge bragging rights.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint.

There you have it, PFAS LLC has made solar power components an option with their Portable Farms® Kits. If you are planning a commercial installation the needs of a 10,000 sq ft (1,000m2) climatically adapted building on solar is about the same as a small 2 bedroom house. The main difference is that the Portable Farms® uses the most electricity when the sun is shining so the battery bank can be much smaller than for a house.

To insure you receive the correct power components for your Portable Farms® Kit(s) you must notify us when you receive your Congratulations on Graduating Letter (or before) so we send you the right Portable Farms® Kit.

Begin reducing your carbon footprint and enroll in the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© today and let us know when you start, that you are joining the solar revolution and want the 12volt Portable Farms® Kit for your installation.

Growing Marijuana in Aquaponics – Part 1

Marijuana Growing in Aquaponics – Part 1

By Colle and Phyllis Davis 

Read our Three-Part Series on Marijuana Growing in Aquaponics

Marijuana Growing in Aquaponics – Part 1

Marijuana Growing in Aquaponics – Part 2

Marijuana Growing in Aquaponics – Part 3

 

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “Can I grow marijuana in my Portable Farm?”

There are  many variables to this question but,  “Yes,  you can grow marijuana in aquaponics.”

In this series, we discuss the different ways to grow medical herbs in aquaponics, the necessary modifications to produce the best results, and the pitfalls of single cropping and mixing herbs with other plants in the grow table.

  • In our first year of offering the Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems training in 2008, the most common general question we received was, “How does that thing work?” meaning aquaponics.
  • The next question was, “Can I grow marijuana in aquaponics?”

Step back for a moment. When we launched Portable Farms in 2008, marijuana was illegal in most places in the US, including California, where we lived at the time. Supporting an illegal activity with the use of our technology gave us pause and our lawyers warned us against pursuing anything related to marijuana. We would not be doing anything illegal by selling our systems for the purpose of growing marijuana by our customers, but we were advised to avoid anything that could draw negative attention to our young and thriving company. We took their advice.

About that time, a competitor of ours in the aquaponics business decided to grow marijuana and they both went to jail. We wanted to avoid any implications or suspicions that could create legal problems.

Now, 13 years later, the laws have changed in many US states (list below) regarding the laws for owning or growing marijuana. Small amounts (generally 2 to 6 plants at a time determined by State Law) of marijuana for personal use. Check with the laws in your state for laws related to using or growing marijuana.  We do NOT grow marijuana. FULL STOP.  We accept no responsibility regarding legal advice or updated rulings or information. The suggestions contained in this series or articles are based on our vast experience in growing a wide variety of kitchen herbs that require similar growing conditions including water needs, sun requirements, spacing, fertilizing, and other aspects. 

Information for Growing Herbs in Aquaponics

One module of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System

Growing herbs requires research for each plant to determine their watering needs. Many herbs require less water than the vegetables or greens that are grown in Portable Farms. In fact, many plants prefer loose sandy soil over aquaponics growing for that very reason.

All Portable Farms® Kits are commercial kits designed to support Grow Tables up to and larger than 200 sq ft (18m2) and work even for the smallest Grow Table installations. The difference is the timing of the water flow.

Aquaponics is best known for growing greens. The image above is a tray of Romaine Lettuce.

If you want to grow a few ‘herbs’ in your regular Portable Farms® Module, plant a few seeds and see how they mature. You may find they require one water cycle and not two cycles per day.

Changing the timing on the water pump to once a day with a longer cycle still gives you great vegetables, and your herbs will be happier. If you are only growing greens, changing to once-a-day timing will slow their growth a bit because they love water. Herbs, not so much.

Fish joke: We do not yet have data on whether the fish get the munchies from the new plants, but when someone has good data, we will see if we can share it with you.

Mixing plants and herbs in a single Grow Table means compromising on production because of the plants different moisture needs. Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and peppers dislike wet roots but enjoy daily watering. They need plenty of water in the morning, but not in the afternoon.

For example, lettuce, Swiss chard, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, and collards enjoy two water cycles a day. This water need is why raft culture works well for them; their roots are in water all the time. Herbs prefer a much dryer root zone and become waterlogged and unhappy when overwatered.

Next, in this series on growing marijuana in Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems, we will cover modifications to the basic Module layout to produce a more abundant crop. You can still use some of the Grow Table for regular vegetables, so you can grow your herbs and vegetables at the same time.

The following list by Disa.com provides information regarding growing cannabis in all US States.

Last Updated: June 2021

Note: State status reflects current laws at time of update, not pending legislation or future dates upon which marijuana becomes available medicinally or recreationally.
* Enactment is pending until future date.

State

Legal Status

Medicinal

Decriminalized

State Laws

Alabama

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Alaska

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Arizona

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Arkansas

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

California

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Colorado

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Connecticut

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Delaware

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

District of Columbia

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Florida

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Georgia

Mixed

CBD Oil Only

No

View State Laws

Hawaii

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Idaho

Fully Illegal

No

No

View State Laws

Illinois

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Indiana

Mixed

CBD Oil Only

No

View State Laws

Iowa

Mixed

CBD Oil Only

No

View State Laws

Kansas

Fully Illegal

No

No

View State Laws

Kentucky

Mixed

CBD Oil Only

No

View State Laws

Louisiana

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Maine

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Maryland

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Massachusetts

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Michigan

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Minnesota

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Mississippi

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Missouri

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Montana

Fully Legal*

Yes

Yes*

View State Laws

Nebraska

Fully Illegal

No

Yes

View State Laws

Nevada

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

New Hampshire

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

New Jersey

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

New Mexico

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

New York

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

North Carolina

Fully Illegal

No

Yes

View State Laws

North Dakota

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Ohio

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Oklahoma

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Oregon

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Pennsylvania

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Rhode Island

Mixed

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

South Carolina

Fully Illegal

No

No

View State Laws

South Dakota

Fully Legal*

Yes*

Yes*

View State Laws

Tennessee

Fully Illegal

No

No

View State Laws

Texas

Mixed

CBD Oil Only

No

View State Laws

Utah

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Vermont

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Virginia

Fully Legal*

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

Washington

Fully Legal

Yes

Yes

View State Laws

West Virginia

Mixed

Yes

No

View State Laws

Wisconsin

Mixed

CBD Oil Only

No

View State Laws

Wyoming

Fully Illegal

No

No

View State Laws

 

Worm Casting for Aquaponics

FF Portable Farms® Worm Casting Tea – The Quick and Easy Method  
Brought to you by PFAS LLC, Inventors of Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems
https://portablefarms.com 804-367-3752    pdavis@portablefarms.com

 CLICK HERE to learn about Mineral Rock Dust.  Both Worm Castings or Mineral Rock Dust have been shipped to Portable Farms® customers in ALL 50 US STATES!  

Find the Order Form at Bottom of this Page.

We suggest you purchase a simple sprayer to apply your worm castings tea to your plants and spray the plants in your aquaponics system once a week with Worm Casting Tea to create healthier plants. There are tremendous benefits from the foliar application of Worm Casting Tea in your aquaponics system:

 

 

  • Safe for your fish (a very big advantage).
  • Our FF (Fish Friendly) Organic Worm Castings are pure organic worm castings and not vermi-compost.
  • This worm casting tea is non-toxic to plants, fish, pets, or people.
  • By spraying the worm tea on your plants (under the leaves as well as on top) and over your seed trays (seed nursery), you are adding nutrients directly to your growing plants and making them healthier and minimizing any potential problems.
  • Since you are spraying the leaves and fruit/vegetables, pathogens are less likely to attack your plants because you are adding beneficial microbes (very important to healthy plant growth) to the surface of the plants.
  • Worm casting tea is beneficial and controls many fugal problems like black spot, black mildew, and tomato blight, to mention a few.
  • Testing proves that there are microorganism properties in the worm casting tea that act as an insect repellent for many insects such as aphids, white fly, spider mites, and other small bugs that eat plant juices. This is due to enzyme released in the worm tea called chitinase which will dissolve chitin which is the exoskeleton of an insect.

 

The FF (Fish Friendly) Worm Casting Tea method works much faster than standard methods and produces tea of equal or better quality. You can make your Worm-Castings Tea in as little as 4 hours and 98% of that time is allowing the tea to brew or sit and brew prior to application in your aquaponics system. Easy to make. Easy to spray. Great for your aquaponics system.

For an aquaponic system with 200 sq. ft. of grow space, use one cup of FF Worm Casting Tea. You only need 10 cups of fish-friendly water from fish tank or aquarium to make the tea and apply it on the same day. 

Adjust amounts for your grow tray size. The Portable Farms® Worm Casting Tea Method makes two assumptions:

  1. You have an aquarium or fish tank water or water that has been in an open container for overnight.
  2. Here is a quick and complete way to remove chlorine from water – Vitamin C (only plain water-soluble ascorbic acid with no fancy additives such as Citrus Bioflavonoids or Rose Hips, etc.) at the rate of 1 mg per gallon of water. We picked up this trick for curing water from our work in Portable Farms®.

 

Ingredients and equipment:

  • 1 cup FF Worm Castings which is 100% organic and supplies a natural source of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and iron for your plants.
  • 10 cups of water from your aquarium or your fish tank. Use tap water only when it has been treated with Vitamin C to remove the chlorine.
  • A bucket that holds 14 cups of water (make sure the bucket has had no chemicals in it in prior usages).
  • Let a kitchen blender to do the work to mix and aerate the worm casting tea.
  • Use a wire mesh strainer (mesh strainer works better than a spaghetti colander) or a cloth (cheese cloth or old hosiery) to line the strainer (the tea must pass through your sprayers nozzle so make sure the filter is smaller than the particles in the brewed tea, so strain well). If the worm casting tea is not well strained, it will clog up your sprayer

 

Process:

  1. Pour four to five cups of water which has been taken from your total of 10 cups into a kitchen blender (this process is tough on blenders, so it is best to buy a cheap one to use only for this type of work) and put the lid on before you blend.
  2. Turn on the blender and let it run for about a minute at a relatively high speed to entrain air into the water oxygenating it.
  3. Remove the lid and then carefully add the one cup of FF Portable Farms® Worm Castings.
  4. Put back the lid back on the blender and run it at full speed for one to two minutes, turn off and then let the mixture sit for 2-4 hours in the blender.
  5. Set up the strainer with the cloth liner to drain into the large bucket with the rest of the water.
  6. Very slowly and carefully pour the mixture through the strainer/cloth into the bucket with the remaining water. The drainage gets slower and slower so you may want to stop and change filters to speed up the process.
  7. Stop pouring when the heavier remains start to flow out of the blender.
  8. Stir the worm casting tea thoroughly.
  9. Pour the resulting liquid into sprayer. Note, the color of the Worm Casting Tea can be VERY black.
  10. Now you can spray your plants on the top and underside of leaves.
  11. Use all the mixture within a day. It may start to ferment if you leave it in the sprayer longer than one day.
  12. BIG BENEFIT: FF Worm Casting Tea can be made in HOURS not days!

Note: Use the remaining casting residue left in the strainer cloth and blender on your indoor or outdoor plants, or your yard, at the base of a plant or tree. DO NOT PUT LEFT-OVER WORM CASTING RESIDUE INTO IN YOUR AQUAPONICS GROW TRAY.

Very Beneficial Additional Ingredients:You can add The FF Portable Farms® Mineral Rock Dust at the rate of one teaspoon per batch at the time you add the Worm Castings, now you have a great Mineralized Worm Casting Tea.  This FF Portable Farms® mineralized Worm Castings Tea is quick, elegant, the perfect nutrient foliar spray, and a strong insect spray for the plants. It is fast and easy to make and is applied the same day.

This is one more product and service from Portable Farms® to encourage successful growing in the field of aquaponics.

Code

Product Name

Size

Price

FF – Worm Casting 105 FF Worm Casting 5 lbs
$16.50 plus $14.25 Shipping and Handling = $30.75. 




FF – Worm Casting 110 </td FF Worm Casting 10 lbs $26.22 plus $17.00 shipping and handling = $40.32.




FF – Worm Casting 140 FF Worm Casting 40 lbs

$39.50 Please email us your zip code to determine shipping charges to your location from Southern California.

FF – Worm Casting 2000 FF Worm Casting

Export Minimum Order outside US is 2200 lb./1000kg  –  tote

Please email us your zip code to determine shipping charges to your location from Southern California.