For this week, not much has changed (again). Tank cycling is a biological process that takes 30 days, and is depicted below:
Over the past few weeks, I’ve experienced occasional die-off of guppies and shrimp in my tank as the Nitrate cycle continues. I’ve kept the marine life (who so bravely self sacrificed for my scientific endeavor), in a bag inside my refrigerator until I had time to go to Petco. My boyfriend wasn’t too happy about this part of the experiment. At Petco I replaced my 4 shrimp (they messed up and forgot to give me a shrimp and I didn’t notice until I got home, so now I’m down to 3) and picked up 2 new male guppies and 1 more female.
THE KALE REPORT
As time continues, the Kale has rapidly adapted to its new environment and has transitioned well into aquaponics. I removed my largest kale plant’s supportive stake in hopes it would straighten itself out and reach towards the light. Instead, the kale plant now bends across the growing medium basket and has since oriented only the top towards the light. Although the plant may now retain an awkward and bended form through its side-draping, it has the unintended effect of decluttering the space for the romaine lettuce seedlings to continue to mature. Another sign of the larger kale plant’s happiness in its new environment has been the rapid growth of new roots sprouting from the basket. Moreover, the new growth leaf on the kale plant resembles that of a happy kale plant, rather than the deformed leafs it was producing while in soil (due to poor spacing and light conditions). Additionally, the stems of both kale plants have fattened considerably, a major indicator of strong new growth and favorable growing conditions
WHAT ROMAINS OF THE LETTUCE SEEDLINGS?
This week, I thinned out my romaine lettuce seedlings. While conventional knowledge stated I should trim the seedlings with my scissors, I found the recommendation to be inhibitingly cumbersome. While most articles adviced against directly pulling out seedlings at the worry it would disturb other seedling’s root systems, I found that my unconventional growing medium of only lava rocks (I don’t use rock wool, it contains potential carcinogens and spikes the PH level) allowed for the quick and easy removal of undesired seedlings without disturbing other seedlings. The process is remarkably easy and contained, compared to trimming with scissors. As my seedlings continue to mature, I will likely thin the seedlings down to 3 or so plants.