Category Archives: Classes

Aquaponic Basics Classes September 12, 2015

Cover

 

It is time!

If you are thinking about joining the great world of aquaponics-Here is your chance!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Because of the uncertainty of getting IBC totes for class-at this time we are ONLY OFFERING THE AQUAPONICS BASICS CLASS ON THIS DATE! If I have the ability to get totes-I will open up the tank building class and those who have signed up for the basics class will be given first option for the class.

There will be three options for the class that day:

Aquaponics Basics, Aquaponics System Building, Full class which includes both options

Be prepared to get your hands dirty! The day will start with a tour and explanation of our suburban greenhouse. We will discuss:

  • Aquaponic Basics
    • What is aquaponics?
    • How does it differ from hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaculture?
    • Is it cost effective to grow this way?
  • Is aquaponics legal in residential areas
    • What about more commercial applications
    • Do you need permits for vegetable/fish sales?
  • What are your goals with aquaponics
    • What are you wanting to grow? flowers, vegetables, herbs
    • NOTE: for Washington, DC residents: since Marijuana is not legal in MD, I cannot teach to that specific plant, but will answer any questions as best I can.
    • Personal consumption only or larger scale
    • Outside system or in a garage, shed, or greenhouse.
  • Types of aquaponic systems
    • Fill & Drain, Constant Height, Vertical, Gutter
    • Pro’s and Con’s of  systems
    • Which system is best for you?
    • Types of plants best for your system
  • Different types of Grow Media or floating rafts
    • Pro’s & Con’s
    • Cost factor
  • Raising and breeding Tilapia fish (This is our fish of choice)
    • Pro’s and Con’s of Tilapia
    • What other fish lend well to an aquaponics system
      • Are you wanting to harvest fish for food, for sale,  or just have fish for the system
  • Receive tracking logs for maintenance and monitoring of your system

We will also be covering topics about: cycling your tanks, grow media, heating, lighting and covering any questions that you may have leading a good understanding of aquaponics and how to start.  After attending the basics class, you will have the knowledge to successfully start your aquaponics adventure.

Once completed in the greenhouse, you will roll your sleeves up to be  completing your own IBC tote tank system. Be sure to bring your truck or trailer. We sold almost 100 of these last year at $299 each and you will take yours home with you the day of class!

I will take you through step-by-step in building your tank and the importance of measurements, heights, and clearances to insure your tank will function properly. Although we will have the majority of the parts pre-cut, please have knowledge of basic hand tools and drills. If you have a battery operated drill, feel free to bring it.

With any system there is some basic maintenance. As we complete the tank systems, I will cover basic maintenance and common causes of malfunctions,  as well as the necessary steps to solve and prevent future issues.

If you bring pictures of the area where you want to install your tank and a simple drawing , I will help you determine the best setup for positioning lines and filters. We can also make small modifications on the spot that would make your system very user friendly for your location.

Simple drawing example. Can just hand draw layout as well.
Simple drawing example. Can just hand draw layout as well.

When you complete this class, you will walk away with the knowledge you need set-up and run your new aquaponics system successfully. Not to mention that you will have your tank system built and ready to set and function as soon as you get home!

All class participants will receive the book and DVD from the foremost expert in Aquaponics in the United States: Sylvia Bernstein.

Aquaponic Gardening: A step-by-step guide to raising vegetables and fish together. This book is the first and best book I have read in starting my aquaponics adventure: a $30 Value

Aquaponics Explained Video: full-length aquaponics course taught by Sylvia Bernstein in her warm, approachable style in June, 2012 at the Denver Botanic Gardens: a $30 Value

Just choose the option that best fits your needs. If you just need the knowledge right now and a better understanding of the aquaponic system, then the Aquaponic Basics Class is for you.

9:00 am Aquaponics Basics-This will include everything listed above in the “Greenhouse Tour” plus the book and video to take home.

$99 per person.                    Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

If you understand the basics of aquaponic gardening and are ready to get your system set up[ and going, with the knowledge of building and maintaining the system, then the AP Tank Class is for you.

11:30am Tank Only Class-This class will be spent hands-on in building your own tank system to take home right after class*. It will include all instruction on the mechanics and maintenance of the IBC tank system. You will be able to leave the class with the knowledge to build more tanks or variations to fit your needs in your own space. This class will include Sylvia Bernstein’s book & video to take home.

*Does not include Grow Media or fish

$349 per person                  Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

If you want to combine the knowledge of aquaponic gardening and starting your system, then come for the complete 1/2 day training!

 FULL CLASS-Best Value. Save $50 from the cost of both classes   for a packed 1/2 day of training and education about aquaponics; leaving with all the information and material you need to get started with your own aquaponics system when you get home!* Includes everything in both of the above classes at a $50 savings, but as an added bonus full paid tuition will include ONE guest FREE. So bring an interested friend, neighbor, or relative and they can participate with you.

$399 for 2 people**                 Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

*Does not include Grow Media or fish
**Includes only ONE book and DVD per paid tuition

Every class will have door prize drawings and giveaways throughout the class, so come prepared to make it a day of learning and fun!

Classes held in Southeast Baltimore County in Dundalk. Times and exact address of class will be sent on your payment confirmation page.

 

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Emergency responseBaltimore County has rescheduled the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Emergency Preparedness class. This is a great free 5 week program for anyone concerned about being ready for natural disasters.

The class will cover:

Natural Disasters and Technological Hazards
This session focuses on the natural and technological hazards most likely to threaten this area.

  • Past disasters in Maryland
  • Preparation of a 72-hour emergency kit
  • Preparation and maintenance of a family emergency plan
  • How to assist people with disabilities during an emergency
  • What to do before, during and after a disaster

Fire Safety and Extinguishers
This session focuses on fire prevention and extinguishing strategies.

  • Types of fires and how they occur
  • Potential fire hazards in the home and workplace
  • Evaluation of fires and assessment of firefighting resources
  • Operation of different types of extinguishers
  • How to decide whether to attempt to extinguish a fire and how to do so safely

Crime Prevention and Awareness
This session focuses on how to identify and protect yourself against potential crime threats.

  • Personal safety techniques
  • Steps to protect homes against break-ins
  • Recognition of suspicious activity and how to report it to 911
  • Learn about “Citizens On Patrol” and how to implement this program in your community
  • Identification of possible terrorist targets

CPR and First Aid
This session focuses on patient assessment and how to administer first aid.

  • Hands-on-only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Treatment of life-threatening conditions
  • Treatment of burns, wounds and bleeding
  • Treatment with splinting of fractures, sprains and strains
  • Treatment of hypothermia and heat-related illness
  • Simple triage

Building Resilient Communities
This session covers ways in which communities can prepare for, mitigate and withstand long-term incidents.

The next session will be from September 10 to October 8, 2015 from 7-9pm each Thursday for the 5 weeks.

Station 6
2815 Sollers Point Road
Dundalk, Maryland 21222
Maximum Participants: 25

Please go to :

http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/emergency_prep/neighborshelping.html#form

to get more information and register.

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors-Emergency Preparedness

Emergency responseSorry for the late notice but wanted to let everyone know about the upcoming Neighbors Helping Neighbors Emergency Preparedness Class.

It will be 4 Thursdays from 7-9pm starting Thursday April 30, 2015 through Thursday May28 at Dundalk Fire Station #6 2815 Sollers Point Rd. 21222

Session Topics

Natural Disasters and Technological Hazards
This session focuses on the natural and technological hazards most likely to threaten this area.
•Past disasters in Maryland
•Preparation of a 72-hour emergency kit
•Preparation and maintenance of a family emergency plan
•How to assist people with disabilities during an emergency
•What to do before, during and after a disaster

Fire Safety and Extinguishers
This session focuses on fire prevention and extinguishing strategies.
•Types of fires and how they occur
•Potential fire hazards in the home and workplace
•Evaluation of fires and assessment of firefighting resources
•Operation of different types of extinguishers
•How to decide whether to attempt to extinguish a fire and how to do so safely

Crime Prevention and Awareness
This session focuses on how to identify and protect yourself against potential crime threats.
•Personal safety techniques
•Steps to protect homes against break-ins
•Recognition of suspicious activity and how to report it to 911
•Learn about “Citizens On Patrol” and how to implement this program in your community
•Identification of possible terrorist targets

CPR and First Aid
This session focuses on patient assessment and how to administer first aid.
•Hands-on-only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
•Treatment of life-threatening conditions
•Treatment of burns, wounds and bleeding
•Treatment with splinting of fractures, sprains and strains
•Treatment of hypothermia and heat-related illness
•Simple triage

Building Resilient Communities
This session covers ways in which communities can prepare for, mitigate and withstand long-term incidents

Hope to see many of my neighbors there.
Get more information and register at:

http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/emergency_prep/neighborshelping.html

Aquaponics-Let’s go cycling

So, you have your new tank filled with water and your grow bed full of media, Now what? To be sure that your system is optimal for fish and plant life the system must be cycled to grow the proper bacterial levels.

Cycling is simply a process to reduce the ammonia content to near zero. The goal is to get it below .5ppm. During the cycling process, the ammonia will be reduced to a nitrite, a nitrobacteria known as Nitrosomonas. I won’t get all chemistry here, so give me the benefit of knowing the conversion happens.

Nitrites are actually more harmful to plants than ammonia, so our goal for nitrites is the same as ammonia, under .5ppm. I might note here that you will need a good quality water test kit to check these levels, as well as your ph. ph should optimally be around 7.0.

The nitrosomonas will begin to attract another nitrobacteria called nitrospira, which is the “good” bacteria we need. The nitrospira will begin the process of converting the nitrites into nitrates. Nitrates are a necessary food source for your plants and are harmless to your fish.

Nitrogen Cycle

To start the cycling process, you must first INCREASE the ammonia levels in your water, somewhere between 2-4 ppm. Yes I do mean increase because the ammonia is what actually attracts the nitrobacteria (Nitrosomonas) which begins the conversion of nitrites. There are generally two ways to start-with fish or fishless.

With fish is the simplest, no-brainer way to start. Just add fish to the water and let them start giving off high ammonia waste. The fish will do all the necessary work, all you have to do is feed them:high protein in. The process will complete anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks, just test your water about once per week. Let me note here: DO NOT use the fish that you plan to raise. I personally started my first tank with about 50 gold fish. They are inexpensive at most pet stores; 15-20 cents each. So $10 worth of fish and a can of gold fish food, then sit back and wait.

The draw back to this method is that you hope the fish will live through the cycling process. The 4-6 week process usually takes about 1/2 of the fish stock unless you monitor and adjust your ph daily. As the fish die off, do not remove them from the tank. As they begin to decay, they will give off a higher ammonia concentration. If you have qualms about the fish dieing, I suggest you use the fishless method.

The fishless method can be done in a shorter amount of time, since you don’t have to worry about keeping the ph just right for the fish to live. The process can be as short as 10 days.

You can use a liquid or powdered ammonia. Just be sure that the product is 100% ammonia. If you buy aquarium ammonia from a pet supply store it will be exactly what you need without worry. If you buy ammonia from another source just be sure it is 100% ammonia.

You might read in some sources that human urine is a good source of ammonia. Personally, I don’t recommend peeing in your tank because their may be some harmful bacteria or germs from your digestive system that could be transferred to your aquaponics system.

Once your system, through daily testing is at the right levels (ph, ammonia, nitrite) it is fine to begin planting and appropriately add your fish stock to the tank.

Are you thinking about starting your own aquaponics system? Do you live in the mid-atlantic region of the United States? We offer classes on Aquaponic Basics, as well as building your own aquaponics system. Get all the information on the upcoming classes HERE.

 

 

OK, I give up! Aquaponics Education

Building aquaponic systems from IBC totes over the last two years has been extremely enjoyable and somewhat profitable. I do not build systems during the winter months because I have no place indoors to work, so each spring I have started out fresh with new advertising, pre-orders, etc

Greenhouse AP tank set
Greenhouse AP tank setup-fill & drain systems

So many of my past customers have purchased a completed aquaponic system from me and then purchased a raw IBC tote with every intention of duplicating the process from the first tank. Too many found that it wasn’t so easy to make sure that all measurements and pressures were accurate. SO I end up getting the call that “My system doesn’t work!”. Since my systems are guaranteed to work, I usually end up making a trip to find that the system that doesn’t work is not the system that I built! Nevertheless, I end up doing an impromptu class on “How to build an IBC aquaponic system.”

Building the systems, without knowledge of the inner workings, which include heights, clearance’s, and head pressure, can be complicated.The trial and error process is very time consuming, not to mention the money spent learning that something won’t work!  I spent weeks working out different variations to insure I found the right combination that was going to work-First time and every time!

As 2015 spring begins in the Mid-Atlantic Region, I am going to start this building season by saying “OK, I give up!” I am tired of taking the calls about poorly built systems or trying to talk someone through the errors they made when trying to reproduce my work. I’m flattered, but time is a commodity that I have little of with my responsibilities around our suburban homestead.

I have no dreams of grandeur to become the foremost aquaponics system builder on the east coast: I just love working with aquaponics. It is an enjoyable hobby, which allows me to marry two of my hobbies: Gardening and animal husbandry.

I will still be producing new systems this year, but for the first time, I will be offering a class on aquaponics, basics,  system construction, and maintenance. This will be a hands-on half-day class and you will leave knowing enough to build and maintain your own IBC tote aquaponics system.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty! The day will start with a tour and explanation of our suburban greenhouse. We will discuss:

  • Is aquaponics legal in residential areas
    • What about more commercial applications
    • Do you need permits for vegetable/fish sales?
  • Aquaponic Basics
    • What is aquaponics?
    • How does it differ from hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaculture?
    • Is it cost effective to grow this way?
  • What are your goals with aquaponics
    • What are you wanting to grow? flowers, vegetables, herbs
    • NOTE: for Washington, DC residents: since Marijuana is not legal in MD, I cannot teach to that specific plant, but will answer any questions as best I can.
    • Personal consumption only or larger scale
    • Outside system or in a garage, shed, or greenhouse.
  • Types of aquaponic systems
    • Fill & Drain, Constant Height, Vertical, Gutter
    • Pro’s and Con’s of  systems
    • Which system is best for you?
    • Types of plants best for your system
  • Different types of Grow Media or floating rafts
    • Pro’s & Con’s
    • Cost factor
  • Raising and breeding Tilapia fish (This is our fish of choice)
    • Pro’s and Con’s of Tilapia
    • What other fish lend well to an aquaponics system
      • Are you wanting to harvest fish for food, for sale,  or just have fish for the system

Once completed in the greenhouse, you will roll your sleeves up to be  completing your own IBC tote tank system. Be sure to bring your truck or trailer. We sold almost 100 of these last year at $299 each and you will take yours home with you the day of class!

I will take you through step-by-step in building your tank and the importance of measurements, heights, and clearances to insure your tank will function properly. Although we will have the majority of the parts pre-cut, please have knowledge of basic hand tools and drills. If you have a battery operated drill, feel free to bring it.

With any system there is some basic maintenance. As we complete the tank systems, I will cover basic maintenance and common causes of malfunctions,  as well as the necessary steps to solve and prevent future issues.

If you bring pictures of the area where you want to install your tank and a simple drawing , I will help you determine the best setup for positioning lines and filters. We can also make small modifications on the spot that would make your system very user friendly for your location.

Simple drawing example. Can just hand draw layout as well.
Simple drawing example. Can just hand draw layout as well.

When you complete this class, you will walk away with the knowledge you need set-up and run your new aquaponics system successfully.

All class participants will receive the book and DVD from the foremost expert in Aquaponics in the United States: Sylvia Bernstein.

Aquaponic Gardening: A step-by-step guide to raising vegetables and fish together. This book is the first and best book I read in starting my aquaponics adventure: a $30 Value

Aquaponics Explained Video: full-length aquaponics course taught by Sylvia Bernstein in her warm, approachable style in June, 2012 at the Denver Botanic Gardens: a $30 Value

We will be offering 3 variations of the class on Saturday May 9, 2015. Choose the one that is right for you.

11:00 am Aquaponics Basics-This will include everything listed above in the “Greenhouse Tour” plus the book and video to take home.

$99 per person.                    Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

1:00pm Tank Only Class-This class will be spent hands-on in building your own tank system to take home right after class*. It will include all instruction on the mechanics and maintenance of the IBC tank system. You will be able to leave the class with the knowledge to build more tanks or variations to fit your needs in your own space. This class will include Sylvia Bernstein’s book & video to take home.

*Does not include Grow Media or fish

$329 per person                  Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 FULL CLASS-Best Value for a 1/2 day in training, learning about aquaponics and leaving with all the information and material you need to get started with your own aquaponics system when you get home!* Includes everything in both of the above classes plus the book and DVD but as an added bonus full paid tuition will include ONE guest FREE. So bring an interested friend, neighbor, or relative and they can participate with you.

$399 for 2 people**                 Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

*Does not include Grow Media or fish
**Includes only ONE book and DVD

Because of the amount of space necessary I must limit participation. Once the class is full the Pay buttons below will no longer work. I have already started receiving phone calls about the class, so HURRY and reserve your spot soon to insure your space!

Classes held in Southeast Baltimore County in Dundalk. Times and exact address of class will be sent on your payment confirmation page.