You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.
Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants! In today’s episode we’re talking about plant processes—you know; all the stuff you gotta do to make those little solar powerhouses turn into beautiful crops!
I’m always learning. Figuring out something new. Seeing it done by someone else. Or just having an enlightening conversation that sparks new ideas and processes. I’m not a guru. I just try to keep improving and getting better at what I do. Part of that is this podcast. By listing out topics to discuss, I can see issues with my own processes, or at least, share ways to help you avoid my issues.
What’s my best story?
What do I mean? Well, it’s all a numbers game…at least for people who like looking at the numbers of things. But in this case, it’s about planting, plants, and your entire cycle of working with plants.
Still lost? I was too, until an example was given in the class I was taking. Then, it made total sense!
For example, say we want to have friends over to enjoy some of our fresh greens this summer, say July 4th weekend. How many seeds need to be planted to make that a reality? Well, this is where all the numbers come into play. Instead of starting with the seeds, we start at the end and work backwards. Isn’t math strange with all the backwards stuff? (I love it!)
So, once we know how many people are coming, we can figure out how many, let’s say lettuce heads, we need. Then we can factor in for a few heads not coming up, or being attacked by birds, or some other unexpected event. Then we can figure out how many seedlings we need to transplant to reach that adjusted goal. And again, we’ll add in a fudge factor for the seedlings. By now, you can see that our final number of lettuce heads has grown quite a bit, and for our final step, we’ll see how many seeds we need to turn into seedlings…and as you probably have guessed, we’ll add another bit of a fudge factor into that.
You might ask where these fudge factors and adjustments come from. Well, it will come from your own experience and knowledge. I’d like to be able to tell you and make this example more solid, but each person’s growing situation is unique.
In summary, if we need six heads of lettuce, we very well could end up starting 20 to 30 seeds just get those six heads. When you think about it, that seems like a lot of loss, but it’s playing to the probabilities (the numbers) of each growth step.
Ok, I won’t continue with this mental math exercise anymore. I just hope you see that some calculating is necessary to figure out your starting point.
But what are some of the other areas and actions you should be doing when it comes to your plants. Well, how about a list. The plant actions list I made sounds like this:
- Prep or soak seeds
- Plant or start seeds
- Cull seedlings
- Transplant seedlings
- Cull seedlings
- Possibly transplant again
- Possibly cull again
- Cull or clean the harvest
- Eat and enjoy
- Record the results
So, you see, it’s a numbers game here too. If you can figure out how to balance the numbers between starting, culling, transplanting, and harvesting, you’ll understand where your plants are going.
I’d love to go into each step on it’s own, but I’d probably talk all day. Suffice to say that the actions you have to take follow a rinse and repeat pattern. The trick is to figure out what the secret sauce in your exact situation is that makes all those functions come together and create wonderful plants.
What’s my advice for this episode?
As always, know your end result; your purpose, and just like the math example, work backwards. Figure out what steps and what actions, specifically, you need to produce the end result. I’d love to tell you step by step what to do, but each situation is unique. Yes, I could probably get you close, but the magic is in the details that I cannot see or foretell from here.
As the saying goes, good experience requires you to have bad experiences first…meaning you just got to give things a try and see what works.
And if you can…learn to love the figuring out part. It’ll be the stuff you remember most.
Take care, and happy aquaponicing!
This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.