First, I have to clear up an important mix-up with the plants: What I had previously thought were spinach seedlings were actually arugula – I must have switched up the labels after seeding the plants. The growbeds have re-labelled, and all four plant species are now growing well.
In addition, there’s been an exciting addition to the system – Red composting worms. Ms. Milkowski recommended I get in touch with Ms. Trespas, who has her own vermicompost system, and she was kind enough to donate a few of her own worms to the project! I estimate that between the totally awesome fully grown four inch ones and the teeny-tiny wriggly larvae, there were approximately forty or fifty worms split between both growth beds. To get them in, I simply took big chunks of compost and spread it over cardboard pieces placed on top of the growbeds. Because of the worms’ natural aversion to sunlight, they quickly escaped into a more desirable environment – right into the growbeds. After checking back the day after and not seeing worms crawling all over the outside of the system, I think it’s pretty safe to say they’ve found an ideal environment from which they won’t try to escape.
The daphnia culture is returning mixed results – the established colony I’m using which belongs to the biology stockroom seems to be doing fine, but the two other cultures which I’ve tried to start in an old 2 liter soda bottle and the smaller, algae-rich tank don’t seem to be flourishing as I hoped they would.
The system itself seems to be doing just fine. At this point, I think it’s all set to cycle over spring break. Hopefully when I return, the system will be fully established and ready to take on some new aquaculture (it’s currently cycling with eight goldfish). If the plants are grown in well enough, I’ll be able to start harvesting and replanting soon – I decided not to seed the growbed over the vacation because there is already a plethora of seedlings, and I didn’t want to risk overloading the system.
Spring term is looking really hopeful! The independent project was approved, so we’re all set to continue work on the system. Most of next term will focus on the development of this blog, expanding the system, and giving presentations/lectures.
See y’all in a few weeks!