William Bombardier Log

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Fri Oct 7, 2016 ~ Vertical Growing Towers Substrate Testing

The current vertical growing towers all contain no substantiative substrate beyond physical media in the form of a long rectangular sponge. Although this works, the chemical and biological processes of the plants are completely dependent on the water quality which can be difficult to control in an ever-changing aquaponic system and makes growing of different crops within the same system restrictive, if not improbable.

To ameliorate this restriction, we are exploring the use of different substrates and combinations in some of the grow towers through preliminary testing of 10 different towers using different configurations. In some towers the current sponge filter media is completely removed and the entire length of the tower has been replaced with varying substrates including peat, organic compost, and re-used potting soil with perlite. Ten (10) empty (unplanted) towers were selected and set up with the new substrate system. In cases where multiple new substrates were added, they were first pre-mixed in a large work pail before adding unless otherwise specified with the exception of Azomite powder. Approximately two tablespoons of Azomite was added to the top of each re-built tower. ( Azomite )

Below is a spreadsheet indicating which towers received which substrates. In the cases where sponges were left inside, front and/or back is also indicated. Plantings will be updated as data becomes available... seeds are currently being sprouted.