Monday, November 26, 2012

Find of the Day

While surfing the internet today I found a really awesome product that ties in with the aquaponics post I put up yesterday. It's quite similar to the large beds of vegetables fed by water from fish tanks, only in miniature (and much more compact and stylish!).
The page is titled "One Pot, Two Lives" (click the title for the link) and is a fish tank and flower pot all in one. The fishy's waste feeds the plant while the plant filters the fish's water. You still have to feed the fish, but there doesn't look to be a whole lot of nasty fish tank cleaning involved.

It also does look like it needs to be plugged in, probably for a bubbler to keep the fish water moving.  Hopefully it would be a simple fix if it broke and wouldn't need to be thrown away if only part of it broke. 

It's not specific as to if certain kinds of plants are preferred over others. It would certainly be an awesome thing to have in a small apartment like the one I live in. Surfing through the comments, it seems that the only fish that would work in a small environment like this would be a beta fish or a goldfish. No one knew if there was a heater in this product, but both of those fish don't need one because they're okay with colder water temperatures. Of course, most of the debate centered around if it was "cruel" or not to keep a fish in such a small container. But I say that's up to the individual to decide. The concept is, however, a really cool one. It would be neat to see if this could be made into something a bit larger, possibly on the size of a regular fish tank with multiple fish and plants.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lots of Plants, Small Spaces

Today, being the last day of our long Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to spend the day browsing gardening blogs, pinning great garden projects to Pinterest and getting sucked into some great videos about urban farming and hydroponics on Youtube. I found these through one video I saw while browsing the blog The Blogging Nurseryman by Trey Pitsenberger.
I thought I'd share a few.

1. Internet of Food: Ardunio-based, Urban Aquaponics in Oakland
This video was the one I found on Trey Pitsenberger's blog and led me to the others. The concept of aquaponics with a garden fed by water from a fish tank was new to me and the video was really informative. I also loved the technology element, one in which the gardener can interact with their garden through the internet. Figuring this technology out now in order to pass it on to younger gardeners, ones who will be inheriting a world where there's a need for smaller gardening spaces and new ways to grow what we need.


2. Biointensive Mini-Farming: Grow More Food in Less Space
This video was a neat look into how one person can grow all the food (if you're a vegetarian that is) they could need in a small space. One of the most interesting things to me was the grains being raised and how many of them were alternative grains to regular wheat.

3. Urban Forest Erupts in San Fransisco's Edgy Tenderloin
I loved this video. This is about a garden springing up in an alleyway between apartment buildings in the middle of a densely populated area of San Fransisco. The greenery just seemed that much, well, greener surrounded by all that concrete. The local art decorating the buildings and the clay oven they actually cook were really cool touches. My favorite part was the the words "Our Lady of the Alley" painted around the oldest resident's kitchen window that looked out upon a cherry tree they planted just for her.

4. Soil-less Sky Farming: Rooftop Hydroponics on NYC Resteraunt
The last video was about a resteraunt in New York City that grows it's fresh produce on the roof of it's building. Climbing up six stories, you'll find the roof covered in tall, very thick PVC-looking pipes that have notches cut into the sides where the produce grows, fed by water that is mixed with fertilizer and pumped through the top of the pipe to rain down the sides and water the plants. It was another really good look at a method of hydroponics I'd never seen and was interesting to see how much faster the plants grew in this way and how high a yield the restaurant gained from it.

 All of these videos certainly inspired me because at this point I'm starting to look at focusing my major towards things like urban farming and other sustainable methods of growing food in the spaces left to us, ones that just keep getting smaller and smaller. I find it fascinating how resourceful we can be when it comes to feeding ourselves and the new ways we find to go about doing so.
The videos were found on the channel of the co-founder of *faircompanies where all of these videos and a lot more can be found. The channel has a lot of videos on individuals, small companies and businesses who are doing projects in a much more different and sustainable way. I certainly enjoyed the one about the couple who build hobbit holes as playhouses, chicken coops and even tiny cottages. I'd definitely check some more of them out because there will probably be quite a few more of interest to you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And I'm Back!

Hello all!
I'm sorry for not posting for about 2 months. I can't believe it's been that long. It's felt like only a few weeks!
Like I said in my last post, this semester's been pretty crazy. My classes have been going okay. I'm just barely making it through my algebra course (I'm terrible at math) and struggling to pass my online chemistry course. I'm just hoping it all turns out okay in the end.
As far as updates on the horticulture major, I'm talking to the department adviser tomorrow to get details about switching into the college I need to declare the major and what courses I should take next semester. At this point I'm looking at Intro to Microeconomics, Intro to Soil Science and a basic Biology course. I'd only be taking three courses, plus a campus band and pep band so hopefully I would have time to look for a job/work once I find a job. Because I'm a poor college student and really just need to work. :P

As far as personal updates go, one big reason I didn't post at all last month was because on the 14th I was in a car/pedestrian accident where my boyfriend, his dad and I (and three other people I didn't know) were struck by a drunk driver as they made a left turn (not yielding to the bunch of people crossing the street with the right of way). Everyone that was involved was okay, my boyfriends dad with the worst injuries of a broken leg and slightly fractured shoulder. I had a lot of bruises to my knees because that was where I was struck and some bumps and bruises from being thrown, but an MRI and multiple doctors visits confirm that I don't have anything more serious than some deep bruising in my legs. At this point, I'm almost healed up, but it'll probably be another two weeks before the majority of the bruises are totally gone. We were really lucky though, so I'm super super thankful for that.

Needless to say, all that craziness really threw my academics off. So I probably won't be getting the best grades this semester, but hopefully I can pull a pass in everything.
My horticulture class is going pretty well. Memorizing Latin names is certainly a challenge, but I tend to do a lot better than I assume I will, so it's pleasantly surprising to get good grades back. For our last midterm we were required to learn the common and Latin names of 70 deciduous trees... Somehow it managed to be my best test score yet in that class. Our next midterm that's coming up next week is on the conifers and thankfully there's not as many trees to memorize this time. :)
That's about all the updates I have for you guys. I hope you're still reading! I'll leave you with some pictures I've taken during our class walks around campus. :)