This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens. Todaywe have another exciting episode for you, here in Irvine, CA, on a field trip at the Orange Co. Great Park and we’re at the Great Park, Orange County Farm Food Lab. And whenever I come to Orange Co., I like to visit the Orange Co. Great Park and check out the farm and food lab, ’cause they got so many different things growing, and they’re constantly bringing in new technologies as a demonstration garden, to show you guys what you guys can do at home.
They also have classes and do education here, to teach you guys how to grow food. I encourage you guys, if you live anywhere in Orange Co., or even the LA area, or San Diego, come and check this garden out! It’s open 10AM to 3PM every dayawesome place! What we’re gonna check out today are some of the new things that have shown up since I’ve last been here. And some old things too, that I haven’t really covered too much in some of my past tutorials at the Orange County Great Park. Be sure to check some of my past.
Tutorials for the OC Great Park, where I talk about some of the other things in the Farm Food lab they have growin’ on here. Today, we’re gonna cover mainly three things 1 Some espalierstyle fruit trees that you can grow pretty much anywhere, including your front yard 2 We’re gonna talk about some of these guys over here some vertical container gardens that minimize the amount of space, but maximize the amount of plants you grow. 3 And also, the thing I’m most excited about is what’s over there they’ve got a selfcontained.
Solar Powered Aquaponic System Grows Fish and Vegetables Anywhere
Aquaponic system running off the sun. So first, let’s check out some espelier trees. So the first thing I wanna show you guys today are some espalier trees now espalier, I think that’s a fancy French wordand I don’t exactly know what it means. If you know what it means, post it down below. But whatever it means, it means growing at a flat planetwodimensional instead of threedimensional. So if we look down, you can see this whole wooden fence, we see these trees are planted in a single plane they’re not spreading outall three.
Dimensions. They do this for a very important reason 1 The tree will take up less space. So they’re judiciously training these guys, and you can see the plant tape they’re using to tie these up, and they tie at every few inches, because they want these trees to grow in a certain fashion along the plane. Anything that shoots out in a direction they don’t want, they’ll just actually clip back, and they’ll encourage the growth in the direction they want. One day they’ll have this full, and basically this wire will be full of a treeand just like this when this one’s comin’ out, it’scoming.
Out really far, you know, about five feet, and once this starts to bloom and fruit, you know, there literally could be a fruit hanging every few inches along this whole line. So what this does this will save you space also, some espalierstyle trees can be more productive than even a large tree, because you’re growing in a smaller area, and because a tree is smaller, it doesn’t have to feed all of its massive trunks, limbs and leaves. And they can actually live longer. That being said, they’re probably a bit more laborintenive,.
Because you do need to constantly keep up with clipping back the branches you don’t wantto keep ’em trained where you want the tree to grow. So especially in small, tight spaces, when you don’t have acreage to grow a lot of fruit treesespalier styleMay be a real good thing to do to grow some fruit trees on your property. Another benefit if you orient them right, in the right location, you can actually grow espalierstyle trees and vegetables in a raised bed down below. Let me show you guys an example.
Of that next. Next I wanna show you guys how you can grow a fruit tree in a raised bed garden and still grow vegetables. So the sun’s over in this direciton, and you can see the fruit trees right here and it’s just all one line in the back, straight. You can this amazing garden up in frontsome collard greens and some leaves and some herbs down below. And because this is in a single plane and not branching over the whole thing, it still allows light to penetrate so that you can grow some vegetables down below. So I think this is a very good.
System to grow some fruit trees. And you can see here, this one’s got a whole lotta apples on it, ready to be harvested very soon. So the last thing I wanna share with you about the espalierand here’s another espalier example, just going against the standard hurricane fencing hereis that certain fruit trees are more conducive to be espalier’d than othersis that a word, espalier’dHave you ever been espalier’dup against the wall So certain fruit trees are better than others So things like the stone fruits tend to work fairly well for thisalso things like apples.
And pears. Maybe some of the other tropical trees may not work so well, and I haven’t necessarily seen that done. So if you wanna espalier one of your trees, do a Google search and make sure it’s one of the ones that’ll work well with the espalier style of growing. Now we’re gonna look at a new system that they didn’t have here at the Orange County Great Park that I showed before on other tutorials when I was in Florida, this is a system they use in Florida a lot this is basically styrofoam containers that hold the soil, or the planting.
Medium. I would consider this a soilous mixit’s mostly coconut core, maybe with some other organic matter in there. But for the most part, you can see they’re growing four peppers to a containerthat’s 4, 8, 12, 16, 20hey, I went to college, or somethin’20 peppers and you can see that this thing is completely loaded up! I mean, what if you could take, literally, like, one square foot of space, grow vertically, and grow 20 peppers like this So how this is watered, they top water this down water and fertilizer goes down through.
All these and drains into the bottom container here, and check it out they got some humongous beets growing down in the bottom. So you can see this system is yielding pretty good. Once again, they’re putting in a waterfertilizer mixture, and it’s fairly high in nutrients, that they’ll get this kind of growth, because there’s not a lotta soil in there. Plants need the soil to hold their roots, but also for the nutrition in the soil that they also extract out if there’s things like rock dust, microrisa and good organic matter in your soil, that’ll feed your plants, because they’re.
Using a soilless system herethey gotta actually add in the fertilizer to make the plants absorb it, so it can yield this much. What I’m gonna show you guys next is another system they have, actually another tower system, where they’re more relying on the soil and the nutrients in the soil instead of actually feeding nutrients to the plants. This is another tower growing system that they’re using, and this one has more planting spots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. I think the other one only had four spots. Now this one relies more on the soil and getting nutrition in the soil to feed.
To the plants. And the reason for this is, number one, they’re a lot larger. I like this material better, this is made out of plastic and the other one’s a styrofoam. Styrofoam, in my opinion, very bad for the environment. I like this system a lot better and they’ve basically got a drip system on here, so this basically waters all by drip. So an example of just one of the containers is right here, and all these others are just stacked up on top of each other to make all the different.
Planting spotsso for example, in this one system here, there’s 6, 12, 18I gotta use my math today24, 30, 36! All right! I went to high school for somethin’! So we’ve got 36 planting positions on these strawberries, and it’s only like four feet tall. So you could really grow a lot of things. Say you have a patio on your apartmenton your deck outside, you could grow in justactually this takes more space. This probably takes about four square feet of space to grow 36 plants and this is what the system looks like.
If you want more information on this, you wanna go to agrotower. So I definitely like this a lotthis is nice and heavy duty and will probably last you many years to come. So grow your food now. To grow something in these systems, I’d probabaly stick to growin’ something like strawberries or herbs, or maybe some lettuce. You don’t wanna grow things that are going to take a lot of nutrition out of the soil, unless you’re constantly feeding it with some nutrient solutions. So definitely if you wanna grow vertically in.
A tower system, this is what I recommendand hopefully one of these days I’ll have one on my show, to show you guys how they work, specifically and how to set it up. So the last thing I wanna show you today is the thing that I’m most excited about a selfcontained solarpowered aquaponic system. I’ve seen an aquaponic system in a raised bed garden at a community garden before, and it was a small system and it appeared to work pretty good. But this system looks like they got it pretty much diales inand this is completely.
Running on batteries, so you could llve out in the forest, as long as you’re getting good sun, and having an aquaponic system like this, being able to harvest your own fish and actually harvest your vegetables too! So what I wanna show you guys next is how they got this system set up. The first part of this aquaponic system starts with the solar panels up top they have two karosirasp and karasira knives are fairly good ceramic knives, but maybe they make solar panels. They’ve got two 130watt solar panels up top, that actually have the.
Wiring that goes down below into this big box here, that I can’t really show you guys. And inside this locked box here, they have all the batteriesso all the batteries store the elecricity from the sun so that the pumps can continue to work. Once they store the electricity during the day, the pumps are constantly running, and you can see down below here is a pump, and this actually is called a Marine lamp pumpthey probably use these for boating and whatnot and actually this pump just goes inside the.
Tank to pump the water up to the aquaponics bed up top. Movin’ around further here, you can see they’ve got a little grate here, so that we don’t lose the fish and the fish don’t jump out. We can lift this up, and you can look very closely down in there you can see some tilapia in there, in addition. Here’s some of the drainage after the water is pumped in from this reservoir, because the fishes in there are poopin’ and peein’ and that basically makes a nutrientrich solution that then they actually pump up to the top and then goes.
Through the hydroton. And then the plants, which absorb the nutrition from the poop and pee of the fish, and then the plants absorb all the nutritionand check it out! In this little garden we’ve got some little lettuces that look really amazing, we’ve got tomato plants and cabbages, some parsley and other herbs growing. And it all looks like it’s doing amazing. So I definitely think this is the future of aquaponics. If you wanna do it anywhere witthout using electricity, one of the inputs they need to use here is.
Actually some kind of fish food. You can grow your own duckweed, or you can use some commercial fish food to feed your fish so they can poop out that rich fertilizer. Now another thing I wanna talk about is, you know, they’re literally using fish waste as fertilizer to feed the plants up top. I wanna mention also is they’re using the hydroton balls which is often used in the aquaponics, and these are here just to hold the roots in place because they are basically an inert substance. You could also use something like rocks, but the hydroton.
Is generally sterile, so that’s usually used more than some rocks out of a field, or something like that. So are you guys not gonna be weirded out and not eat some stuff grown on fish pee and fish poo, like your lettuces I mean, many people use manures cow manures, chicken manures or turkey manure all the time and don’t think twice, but what about using human manure and human pee, or urine to feed your plants. Now I’m not at a stage where I’m gonna put my own No.2 and stuff.
On my plants, but I think urine is a great additioncan be a great addition to your plants to add nitrogen to your garden. And I’ll have an upcoming episode about that really soon. But I think that’s definitely a good way to use your pee instead of flushing it down the toilet in some clean purified water to get rid of it. So this solarpowered, selfcontained aquaponic system here is in the prototype stage and they’ve been getting better and better and hopefully soon, they’ll have the smaller version that they’ll be offering to the public. A local company here has actually designed,.
Or building these, just offsite here, close to the Great Park. Well, I’ve had a lot of fun here at the Orange County Great Park, and the last thing I wanna show you guys really fast isyou know what You can grow a tree literally anywherecheck it out! I’m standing in between two orange trees here. And these are literally in halflined barrelsand as you can see, this guy’s actually quite productive. So no matter where you live, you can grow a treeand you gotta make sure you have the right variety of dwarf treethey’re.
Gonna do best in a small container because the root system won’t get so big, and even yield good fruit for you. And especially in a place where you wanna grow a citrus tree, and it freezes outside, you can actually leave it outside in the summertime, and pull it inside for the winter, so it doesn’t freeze its kajeebies off. In any case, I hope you guys enjoyed this episode I’m learning more about these new technologies they have growin’ on at the OC Great Park. Once again, my name is John Kohler for growingyourgreens. See ya next time, and remember keep on growin’!.