Paul Nickerson

Archive for the ‘Alternative Agriculture’ Category

PolyFace Farm: Reposted Video from USAToday

In Alternative Agriculture, Gardening on November 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I don’t typically like to post content that isn’t mine, but I am giving a presentation on sustainable agriculture and thought that this operation is absolutely incredible. Joel Salatin’s attitude about farming is very contagious and his methods are inspired. I highly recommend checking this out. Hopefully I will have the chance to visit the next time I am in VA.

New Purge Valve and Overflow Control

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics on October 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Some recent modifications to the Aquaponic System due to the use of Sunflower Press Cake. We had some problems with lines clogging with seed casings and overflow issues due to a  new pump.

Amazing Talk by Pam Warhurst: Edible Landscaping

In Alternative Agriculture on August 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I don’t usually repost things here, but I recently watched this talk and thought it was amazing!

Edible Landscaping TED Talk

Research Symposium Presentation

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics on April 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Here is a copy of the presentation I gave at the Messiah College Research Symposium today. It was a ‘brief’ overview of the research we have been doing to establish a system that is fueled by sunflower seed press cake from the SunFlower-Power project on campus. You can’t quite make out the slides in the presentation due to the lighting.

WGAL News Feature on Messiah College Aquaponics

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics on April 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

WGAL Feature

System With GroTech Gutters!

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics, Gardening on March 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

The 300 Gallon system is currently located at Messiah College, Grantham PA. We recently plumbed in a 180 plant, GroTech gutter system into the main sump tank. After having worked through a number of the problems with integrating different style systems, it seems to be producing well. There have been some Iron deficiencies, but nothing that a bit of Chelated Iron couldn’t fix.

The fish gave birth again! The fry seem to be doing well.

We will be working to integrate SOMAT waste from the cafeteria, as well as poultry waste as an alternative diet. Research in that area should start at the end of this week! I’ll keep you all posted!

Potatoes from Tower

In Alternative Agriculture, Gardening on November 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

So I finally had the opportunity to dig the potatoes from my outdoor tower. Unfortunately, I have been living in Philly, and have not been able to maintain the tower: watering, piling. Because of this, the tower was not piled since I left it in August. Moreover, rain seems to have washed dirt from inside the wire tower, uncovering the plants. When I went to dig up the potatoes, the dirt was only about ten inches deep. These potatoes were all that were produced this year in the tower.

The potatoes we planted in furrows were also few and far between this year. In both the furrows and the tower, there were numerous potatoes that were mushy, destroyed by either a fungus or insect.

Next year I will be around for the entire growing season, and will be able to keep a closer eye on the tower. I am hoping that with some more attention next year this tower method will produce more. Also, I will be mixing more straw into the mix next season to make digging easier and keep the dirt from becoming so compact with rain.

‘Artificial Leaf’ Solar Technology

In Alternative Agriculture, Gardening on September 18, 2011 at 11:03 pm

‘Artificial Leaf’ Solar Technology.

One Gallon Vertical Grow Containers

In Alternative Agriculture on June 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm

We assembled these containers by first planting the seeds in trays. When the seedlings grew their first sets of true leaves, we removed them from the trays and fed their roots through the hole in the container. We used a small amount of newspaper as a collar to protect the stem of the plant from the sharp edge of the plastic, and filled the container with potting mix.

The herbs were grown on top of the containers from seed, and seem to be doing very well. The herbs seem to aid in water retention inside the containers. This has helped us to utilize the maximum amount of available space.

The Potato Tower: Bigger and (Hopefully) Better!

In Alternative Agriculture on June 1, 2011 at 10:13 am

Outdoor Potato Tower

After the problems with Fire Safety, who apparently were under the impression I had a heat lamp in my room, I reconstructed my Indoor Potato Tower in my basement to continue seeing how that would turn out.

In an effort to upscale the Potato Tower project, I have also constructed this larger tower in the garden at the school. It is currently six feet tall, and about four feet across. To maximize space, I planted it with Red Pontiac potatoes. As a filling media I am using a compost-soil mix that will provide a high amount of nutrients for the plants.

For those of you who are confused as to why we are burying beautiful plants, potatoes grow along the buried stem of the plant. By increasing the amount of stem we are able to bury, we can drastically increase yield per unit ground space.

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