Hi I’m Dr. Tarrin P. Lupo and I’m a gardener, well sort of… I live in Savannah Georgia and currently we are getting close to October. You can even hear the Cicadas if you listen, we are in Cicada season. I have had my successes. Just look at this Thai Basil plant that I cloned. These were actually pretty tough to find here in Savannah. We finally located them in an asian market. Once I got the roots growing well in water I transplanted them and put them into my wood chip garden. I have also had my failures too. This poor avocado tree was only one day from retirement. and this poor avocado tree It never even learned to read. (Crying) Cut!….Cut!… An unexpected phenomenon has been occurring in this country over the last 50 years.
People of all kinds of unrelated professions have dropped out of their jobs and decided to become farmers. Most of these adventurous folks have no prior experience in farming. They just got to a point where they said Screw this job, I’m going to become a farmer. Over the last 50 years Many small independant family farms Have either been bought up, Bankrupted or been legislated out of business. Most the food today is produced and owned by massive corporations. So with all the cards stacked against the little guys, How are some of these micro-farms surviving and even thriving in this hostile environment.
I say we go find a couple and find out what their secret is. (Rooster crying out) Many new farmers start with just chickens. So I decided to talk to my own local chicken lady. Suzanne Bailey breeds chickens and sells them to other farmers who want to bulk up or start their own flocks. Her husband Mike and her have a reputation in the community for producing some of Savannah’s finest fowl. People make long drives from multiple states just to get their hands on her rare breeds. Most folks are surprised to find out She is not a full time farmer.
Well, I’m actually a chemist. but I do this because I love the animals so much. and I don’t like to be bored. so when I get home I work with animals. I asked her to give me a tour of her most popular breed These are the Maran’s This variety is called a Splash Maran, the hens are. The rooster is what’s called a Blue Copper Maran. and the reason I have a rooster in here is because I have an order for hatching eggs. And a Blue Maran rooster over a Slash hens will will produce 50/50 % Splashed Blue Marans. These eggs are so prized that they go for about $35 a dozen in the right season.
Theses are the Marans and they originate in France, and they. lay an egg just about every single day. and their eggs are very, very dark brown. So I have a lot of customers that prefer the dark brown layers. Through trail and error she has become quit good at hatching all kinds of poultry This is the brooder house, just a little handy house I use to put my incubators and hatchers in. The chicks, once they hatch they leave the hatcher. I keep them in the tubs with heat lamps until they are about 3 weeks old. I do that until they are old enough to go outside to the outside pens. and those also have heat lamps. You have to keep chicks at 95 degrees the first week and 5 degrees less each week. until they are fully feathered. Once they get to within 4 days of hatching they go into the hatching trey here. These are actually turkey eggs that hatched, the last ones that hatched. They hatch in this trey, the bottom of the hatcher there.
And once they are all out and dry and walking around and everybody’s done, the hatcher tray comes out and the chicks get to go into the little tubs, with the heat lamps on them and water and food One of the hardest parts about breeding chickens is just keeping them safe. Suzanne has found a way to keep a peaceful truce with a local den of foxes. like sacrificing a virgin to appess a dragon She culls her sick birds once a week and offers them up as tribute. Instead of burning the carcasses she throws them in front of the foxes den in the woods. This has reduced attrition dramatically, but she still has a second line of defense for other predators.
This is Holmes, he is a miniature mule, he is 4 years old He is not nice. His whole purpose in life is to just keep foxes and coyotes out of this pen. and he does a very good job. We pen him in his little corral in the afternoons whenever I feed the chickens because you don’t want to be out here with him. because he is not a really nice mule You mean he is kind of a jerk? He is pretty much an ass. (both laugh) So what would you do over if you could start from the beginning again? I would not hatch as many chickens. I went way overboard, had way to many, had to build more pens. They are built now, so thats good, but In the future I will only be hatching A limited amount of birds that people are wanting instead of so many. So what kind of advice would you give to someone just starting out that doesn’t know anything about chickens? I would suggest, finding someone that has chickens who can help you, because books and the internet are great but first hand experience is wonderful.
And if you can get a mentor to help you thats the best way to go. Of course most people starting out don’t want to invest the money setting up a chicken farm this size before they know if they even like it. A good place to start is your own back yard. Michelle Padget and Scott Morgan live in mid-town Savannah They invited me over to check out their coop they built in their own back yard. They keep it small and simple to handle. but living in the city has a very different set of complications. I know in some places in the country there are legal problems that or legal hurdles that people have to jump over.
To be able to have chickens, but here they are pets. It is perfectly legal for us to have up to 5 birds. But we can’t have a rooster though, because we are too close to the neighbors. I guess that is our biggest problem with raising chickens in the city is space. We just have a little yard and chickens require a lot of grazing space. If we were out in the country they would be able to roam more and we would be able to have a rooster to protect them. As it is, we just got our little set up here. So what advice would you give to someone who just wants to set up chickens for the first time in their back yard? I would not under estimate the existence and tenacity of the predators that exist in your area. Learn about what eats chickens and what’s around, because we had no idea. how many opossums, raccoons, hawks, etc.
Where going to come around, even cats were pawing underneath the coop and unloosed one of the wooden planks and ate one of the chicks. Before we had time to stop it. So you just never know what is hungry for a chick or chicken. So learn about how you can keep them safe. Michelle tell me , how do you keep your chickens safe? That is probably the most important thing we had to deal with, because it turns out everything eats chickens. We keep them enclosed in the pen at night We close them up in a coop so raccoons and opossums don’t get them. During the day hawks are a problem and we have strung fishing line in sort of a web overhead.
To keep the hawks from coming down. into the pen to get them. Did that help? Yes it did, we have not had any hawk attacks since we strung up the fishing line. Thats good news, so we will see. It’s like an arms race. Every time you fix a problem the predators find a way through it or the chickens find a way out of it. It’s like a game (laughs) Scott shares some advice on how to make a low cost pen for the first time.
Well there are a lot of potential designs, there is no need to reinvent the wheel unless you want to. You can get online and there are all kinds of designs from having having no money to wanting to spend $500 on a fence and a coop. We bought our coop for $200. We originally just had this chicken wire here and some of these wooden planks. Then they were getting under the wire so then we did the pallets, now they are getting over the wire. We have one or two that can still fly even though we clipped their wings.
So we are going to raise it up with more chicken wire, hopefully that will quell them (laughs) Michelle goes on to tell us, What breeds she recommends for beginners. There is a website, I think it is “my back yard chicken dot com” or “back yards chickens dot com” or something They will go through the whole breeds and they will tell you which breeds are aggressive and which breeds are friendly or which breeds lay eggs better. This is Goldie and she is a Wheaten Americana Which is a breed of chicken that lays blue eggs so we are very excited about her and this breed tends to be very calm and very docile. There are others that are a little more aggressive, some of ours are just not friendly at all but as you can see Goldie is a sweet girl.
I would say do your research, if you want a friendly chicken you can that you can pet, dress up and paint their nails. (laughs) Raising chickens inside a city sometimes has some unattended side effects. Failed farmers tend to dump their chickens in the government parks here in savannah. People have been dumping their birds for about 3 years now here in Daffin Park. It didn’t take long for these feral fowl to take full advantage of their new environment. What I found fascinating was just how fast these chickens went from domesticated birds Back to their wild ways. In just a few generations these chicken could protect themselves and even flourished. The wild chickens have done well fitting in with the community. They contribute by keeping the wild bug population down. eating the scrub and even fertilizing part of the yard. but mostly its the entertainment value. People just really enjoy seeing chickens when they go out for their walk.
And they have become much loved in the community. I am even told that some breeds of chickens need very little care and take care of themselves. Chickens like jungle fowl and bantams will actually fly up in trees at night and protect themselves. Seeing these wild chickens survive here Shows you just how tough they really are but don’t be fooled Most breeds will do very poorly if you leave them on your own.
So you feel you got chickens down and you are feeling more adventurous. Well the next step for most people are goats. Wendy and Richard Cowart run a small goat farm called Bootleg Farm. They mainly focus on goat milk and cheeses. Well we decided to go with goats initially because we wanted pets just to have goats around the house. and then we decided that if they were going to stay with us then they had to provide something back to us. We really didn’t want meat goats so we decided to do dairy goats and enjoy the milk. Tarrin Lupo: Is it true that goats do a lot of damage around your farm? Wendy: They will eat all the bush and shrubs that you have because they are more browsers like deer. They are not really grazers although they will graze. They prefer the trees and the bushes, so if you need land clearing they are awesome for that.
Tarrin Lupo : So what kind of advice would you give to some about raising goats who has never done it before? Wendy: You have to have plenty of space for them, They don’t like being very confined. Although they do okay in confinement but they are more prone to diseases and other problems in a smaller area. and if you are not set up or ready to have small baby goats you do not need to get a buck.
Tarrin Lupo: So what are some of the problems with having bucks? Wendy: Bucks will typically go through a rut season which is there mating season or breeding season. and it lasts anywhere from August to say March. and they stink very, very badly. They will pee on themselves and the girls think it smells wonderful but it really, really stinks. Tarrin Lupo: One last piece of advice from Wendy was to make sure you get more than one goat. goats are herding animals If you only get one they will make your life miserable as well as they will be sad. Now that you know a little more about goats. perhaps you would like to try your hand at cattle. Welcome to Hunter Cattle Company. The farm is located in Brooklet Georgia, about 40 minutes outside of Savannah. It sits on over 300 acres of reclaimed Georgia swamp land, that was once an Indian village.
Hunter Cattle is a fully functional and self contained small farm. They raise pigs, chickens, turkeys and of course cattle. They mainly focus on raising two breeds Black Angus and Black Baldies. The owners have rapidly grown over the last 10 years with no signs of slowing down. They have 4 full time employees and a very large part time staff. The Furgusons recently have become large enough to even construct their own onsite processing facility now that family can keep that money they were outsourcing to a slaughter house. This is especially impressive since their former profession was not farming. We always had a family business, I worked with my dad, then my son and then my daughter started working with me and my wife and we did some construction work and when they became families of their own with children we all wanted to get out on the farm and raise our own food. Tarrin Lupo : Del explained to me why he wanted to start with cattle. Well I love cows hanging out with them in the pastures on a quite afternoon to hear them chewing the cud and to be out there in the middle of them, it’s wonderful.
And people might say how can you end up having a cow on a plate, but that is all part of how it goes. Tarrin Lupo: one of the things the family does really well is community outreach. most people in savannah know exactly who they are and what they do. they even put on a farm heritage day and invite everyone to come. Instead of competing with their neighbors , they instead invite them to show off their farms too. I think the best way is to open up the farm for people to come see.
And once or twice a year we have a day that we just tell all our neighbors , friends and customers, hey come out and see what we got going on. We just want to promote our Hunter cattle company and just want to promote all the farmers that are doing their best to survive and at the same time provide. provide food for the plates, and we invite all our farmers neighbors out here. Just give people an education of what it takes to eat. the family also does community outreach by helping out some of the local humane society. Well, they will call us up and will say they have a cat or two. that needs a home and they are always happy to bring it out because they.
Know this is a wonderful place Of course the cats are also functional If a cat can chase down a rat, that is the best pest control we got. Some of the cats here end up having kittens We have people who come to the farm and see dozens of animals but will still sit there and pet the cat People love the kittens. Tarrin Lupo: Hunter Cattle company is a working family farm Every member has a job and they are expected to pull their own weight.
They also cut loose and have lots of fun as a family too but having young children presents some unique problems at harvest time. It’s just a part of our life, it is just a way of life. I had someone the other day ask “how do you teach your 7 year old to axe down and cut down a tree?” I thought to myself it is nothing we taught him, that is just something he has been doing his whole life. As far as farming, this is all they know, they know we raise our own meats to eat. For us we would rather raise them and know what we are putting in our bodies, that they were treated right and eat them. then just eat something that we had no clue about. Tarrin Lupo: Kristin goes on to share about some of her experiences with having children work with her on their farm. It is an adventure, they think it is such an adventure.
Every morning they want to get through their home school work super fast just so they can get down to the barn and start working, which I think is really amazing. Now when they are teenagers, I am not quite sure they are going to think all this farm work as amazing. So you know what? So some of them might want to stay on the farm and keep farming and some of them might want to do something different, and that’s totally fine. Debra Ferguson was quickly hit with reality of owning a farm I didn’t realize that when we bought the farm, we really bought the farm. It was a whole new lifestyle and it was no more vacations, No more trips to town because you got a 1000 mouths to feed. No more good night sleeps because you are worried something might get out. or something might be sick. So it is a whole new ball game. Tarrin Lupo: Debra found out that simple things like taking a vacation were a huge ordeal. Before we bought the farm we would go to missions a couple times a year. and vacation. Now it is pretty much impossible for the whole family to go anywhere together.
We have to leave someone here to look after things. We do have good help but it is still not the same as having your family member here to take care of business. Tarrin Lupo: Their son Anthony shared a warning about cattle. One of the the biggest things is you’re really going to need to love it. in order to be able to do it, Because if you don’t love it, you are going to be giving up a a good steady paycheck for a bunch of nothing for a while, so if you plan on doing cattle you better love it Tarrin Lupo: He also shared some advice on how some new farmers avoid making mistakes when starting out.
Well, on of the bigger is electric fence along the highway. during the middle of a storm, when power goes out, you always got to worry about the cows running out into the road. Another thing is, you really need to watch and mange your money very well. Makes sure also when you are breeding cows have a low birth weight bull. A low birth weight bull means a lot. You want to make sure you throw a lower birthweight on your calf. When we first got into it, we bought some bred cows that were bred to a high birthweight bull and the calves came about anywhere from 100-140 pounds we ended up having to pull a lot of calves that year. You want to try and stick somewhere between 60-80 for most of your cows. especially for when you have a heifer who has never had a calf.
So that will really help out Tarrin Lupo: Their son Hunter spent most of his life on this farm and is now struggling if he wants to leave. Well it’s a blessing to grow up on a farm. It’s something that not a whole lot of people get to experience. Since I was 11 I have been here and the Lord has truly blessed it. I have been praying whether it is his will to leave or to stay. I’m waiting for an answer and is soon as I know we will go from there, but for right now this is where I am at.
Tarrin Lupo: Hunter cattle also monitizes it’s company by offering over night stays at the farm. Perhaps you are not ready for livestock a lot of new farmers start out just growing vegetables. Kevin and Melissa Brown run Kachina Farms located in Rincon Georgia. They mainly focus on growing high quality organic vegetables for high end restaurants in Savannah. Tarrin Lupo: Melissa give me an idea what you did before as a career and why you decided to go into farming. I was in the Medical field and I was working in St. Joseph Candler and my husband due to some healh issues was laid off and we did this on a small scale Just to give him something to do and pass the time. We did not realize that there was no organic herb farm in the area, certified organic. So we ventured out to couple of people to see if it would benefit or profit. by word of mouth we started getting costumers and restaurants calling every day. Tarrin Lupo: Melissa explains what hoops you have to jump through to get certified organic.
It’s not a whole lot of hoops, I just called the Georgia department of Ag. and they can get you set up with an inspector and give you the rules and regulations they require. If your farm has never been tilled or never been farmed then it is not hard. If it has, then you have to wait 3 years to be certified. Tarrin Lupo: Even in Georgia, if you want to grow year round, you are going to need a green house.
Kevin gives some tips on how to build one economically. Commercially bought green houses are extremely expensive. For small scale and medium scale farms you can probably build your own greenhouse. using treated wood. driven into the ground and fence railing. which I did here in this greenhhouse. we did it for a fraction of the cost. The large greenhouses cost $4,000 – $5,000 dollars This one, if we had bought it all new wood maybe $1,200? at the most, the only thing we did not skimp on was ever, was the plastic. The plastic is a green house grade. the stuff you buy at hardware stores will degrade in 1 year and break. This will last 4 to 7 years. Tarrin Lupo: One of the most interesting things the farm does is actually grow their own worms. All of our cuttings and waist Paper waist, culled peppers of plants we can’t sell or use. are put in our worm bins. The worms will break down all this material. It takes about 3 weeks to go from whats first applied, to to useable worm castings.
This is about 1-2 weeks out. they have already broken down the newspaper. and a lot of the material. There is 1000’s of worms in this bed. This black material you see on top, that is the worm castings already developing. again , this started from this down here. the sandy loam we have down here in the south-east. is difficult to grow in because it is mostly sand and won’t hold nutrients.
So worm castings are one of the best ways. to add Organic matter to that sand. Once you combine it, it becomes a great medium for raised beds or even to apply to a growing medium. We use a shaker that we made. out of wood and screen wire we use it to separate the worms from the castings. Once we shake it out, all the castings drop to the bottom and then we have a product we can use in the nursery. Tarrin Lupo: If you want to make maximum profits you have to get good at growing seedings. Tarrin Lupo: Kevin shares some advice. The worm castings are combined with peat moss. with the peat moss and the castings together. It creates our growing medium. We take the growing medium and put it in these dixie cups. of which we drill a small hole in the bottom for drainage. and we will fill hundreds of these up.
And put our seeds in it. for this cilantro it was about 2 weeks and we got plants. Two of the main products we can use as organic growers especially for bugs and fungus, fungicide is neem oil it’s used by most organic growers neem oil comes from the neem tree it’s applied using water as its carrier. the great thing about it is once it is coated on a plant it produces a covering that is bad tasting to most insects It is a fungicide to prevent tamping off or any other fungus disease on the plant.
The other one in Bacillus Terangus or BT that is a worm killer we get cut worms and web worms that is probably our second biggest problem this is one of the only available products we have that we use Tarrin Lupo: Melissa shares some marketing advice for new farmers just starting out. I would first meet farmers in your area and find out what they are selling what they are not selling, I would also go to chefs that are in your area look at food co-ops, look at what their need is. look at what they have too much of and what they are really in need of and that way maybe you can have a niche in the market that nobody else has.
Tarrin Lupo: To find out more about growing herbs and exotic vegetables I went to see my friend at Ogeechee River Gardens. My name is Michele Pokrandt, my farm is Ogeechee River Gardens and it is located in Richmond Hill Georgia Tarrin Lupo: Michelle is actually a professional gambler. She uses the money she earns at farming to bank roll her buy ins. She mainly sells her vegetables at the local farmers market.
She focuses on some unique vegetables and flowers to supplement her income. The bitter melon has been a really god niche market it sells main to the Asian community, Hawaiian, Polynesian and Indian there are lots of different names for it it’s a very bitter, beautiful fruit and it is in the gourd family. It is so easy to grow, you just got to knock the stink bugs off occasionally. Tarrin Lupo: Michelle also gives some advice on how to self pollenate your vegetables that grow in a greenhouse. Take the electric tooth brush, put it on the stem, vibrate the little flowers to get the pollen to knock back in there tomatoes are self pollinating, they do not need a flower of another tomato so you can just do it yourself when the bees are less active when you are growing in a high tunnel, to get them to create a tomato. Tarrin Lupo: Michelle shares some advice about using high beds and grow bags to make your life easier and save some money. I made these beds because I am getting older and I don’t feel like bending down in the dirt.
So I can be at this height to harvest and plant also I can fit more in the bed then I can in rows in the garden because I don’t have to have walking rows in my raised beds Plus I have better drainage, better control and better control of the insects. and it is just 100% easier for me than being in the ground. The bottom two boards of the boxes I just have top soil in there and the top say 10 to 12 inches is engineered soil that I get from a soil scientist that is just wonderful super charged soil and there I am able to ensure that my plants are going to grow wonderfully because the soil is so well drained and so well put together. Tarrin Lupo: So what do you use to fertilize? I use anything that has to do with the sea such as fish emulsion, seaweed, kelp crushed up lobster and crab shells I just think the minerals from the sea does a really great job on the fertilization.
The bags are grow bags, they are very inexpensive. Fill them up with the good soil. Plan out whatever plants you want to grow, in the spring I do tomatoes. Here I am doing a bunch of Fresh herbs, parsley, sorrel dandelion, tatsoi mizuna I have a drip system going on here there is a drip tape we call it. If you can see this drip tape? every 18 inches it has a whole and every morning it waters so I don’t have too. The ground cover we are using is a poly-propylon fabric. that just helps control weeds in the agriculture industry. and it is a life saver for me, because I don’t make money pulling weeds. Tarrin Lupo: It is much more profitable to start your plants out from seeds. Michelle shows us how she does hers. I start out with seeds in plug trays, and then from the plug trays I move them up to a 4 inch pot once they are rooted in a 4 inch pot, I take them out into the garden bed. and plant them out for the season and grow them out that way. Tarrin Lupo: Michelle share one last piece of advice for new farmers.
A way to make good money by keeping it simple. Well cut flowers are very profitable and so easy to grow there are so many beautiful zinnia seeds that are geared for farmer market farmer people growing Sun flowers, zinnias, beautiful cut flowers, long lasting They sell out first thing at the market, if you start at 9 , by 10:30 -11:00 you will be sold out. Tarrin Lupo: perhaps you don’t want to really grow anything. Maybe you just want to tap existing trees. Check out this maple sugar farm in upstate New York. My name is Gary Wohlschlegel, grape farm, dairy farm.
I went to work at a large company for 30 some years Then I lost my job and started looking into the maple business. In the early spring we tap the trees we put a spout on the line put it in the tree when the sap starts dripping we turn on the vacuum then the vacuum sucks it out of the tree and then it runs by gravity down to the pump house. the pump house sends it back up to the evaporator. then the sugar house. When we start getting sap to the pump house , we pump it up here to the sugar house. In the sugar house, we collect it in a large tank the we run it through the reverse osmosis, which takes away 80% of the water. then we concentrate that down to about 12% sugar We put it in a concentrate tank Then when the concentrate tank gets full then we turn on the evaporator and start concentrating it even further until we get up to about 66 bricks.
Then we filter it and put it in barrels. Tarrin Lupo: I ask Gary just how much final product do you get per tree? The answer was surprising. A 1/3 to 1/2 gallon depending on the season it could be even a 1/4 of a gallon of finished syrup on a good year maybe a 1/2 gallon Tarrin Lupo: Gary explains, what are the favorable conditions that make a tree flow better. Cold nights and warm days, so if we could get into the get into the mid 20’s at night and go up into the low 40’s would be great. Tarrin Lupo: How long does that season last? 6 weeks on average.
About 30 days they figure of actually running. This maple plaque shows what tap hole maple is When you tap holes in a maple tree how it configures the wood and kind of stains it, you can see where the tap holes are you can see the streams of of coloration that runs through the wood and stuff. My advice for getting into any sort of work is to do your back ground we went to a lot of seminars and got educated on the whole maple process. Also on the maple end building your sugar house and getting all your set ups done. get a person with a lot of advice and knowledge and go from there Tarrin Lupo: Ernest and Donna Hancock run a radio show together in Phoenix Arizona.
They also have a news service called www.freedomsphoenix.com In their year they have chickens, and they are growing their own vegetables. Their main focus right now is their aquaponics system. They made a complete self-sustainable aquaponics systems which runs on solar generators. Their idea was that they could pack up their system at anytime and be able put it anywhere. Their own food, power and clean water. Ernest Hancock: The fish that we chose, the tilapia, was because they were a nile fish. They have low oxygen , it’s a lot of heat, it’s just like Phoenix. So Egypt Cairo is Phoenix So these fish come from the same kind of environment that they will be in here. We had this water feature here when we moved here so we wanted to make use of it. So what we did is we just had a sump pump that pumped it into the top pipe. that feeds the “Aquadome” and then it returns here.
We also have the waterfall area we can use, we are going to be doing plants up here. It’s just a sump pump, but their is another method called the air lift which we are using over there. Where you create a pocket of air or bubble, just using little aerators for fish aquariums. and that air bubble lifts the water up and it uses only about 15% to 20% of the energy. So we are probably going to go to that, but we needed to condition the water over a few months. to do our bacteria experiment. So what happens, it’s the ammonia created by the fish that goes into the beds and the bacteria breaks down nitrites first. and then another bacteria breaks it down into nitrates that feeds the plants and then cleans the water then it comes back to the fish, creating a loop the sustains everybody. When the water comes in from the pound it goes into this tank here. That another pump goes up and supplies each one of these 3 main grow beds. These plants we had for months, the water had been doing its thing with the ammonia from the fish, the bacteria in here.
So when we planted these plants a week ago they were half this size. they went stupid right away. So what happened , we learned that we could we could do a lot more plants, we were afraid that we don’t have enough plants to clean the water for the fish. So we keep adding on more plants, we have something like 200 plant places holders for the plants. So we are about 1/3 there. So the water pumps up into these beds.
And then they have what is called a bell siphon A bell siphon , you want the water to circulate, it goes up into the tank. Then it siphons and drains all the way down. fills up and down about every 15 minutes. You’ll have to look up “Bell Siphon” to see how it works, it is hard to explain without me showing you. Bell Siphon on youtube, go see that it is cool. The Egyptian who thought that up gets a gold star, because that one I could see where that one would be a benefit for a lot of things, I wish I had been taught that in school when I was a kid. I could have used it a bunch of times. This main one here, when it fills up and drains, it goes into the floating beds. and when the floating beds are over full , they go back into this, and this tank, when it gets too high it goes back to the pond. Now there is another tank we will show you later but this is the main system The water comes in from the pond, it’s distributed out into the grow beds and float tanks.
Then it goes back to the pond for recharge, thats it. When we first planned on doing this, we went to a prepperfest event that we had our “Moneydome” up, we were there and got to meet a lot of people, and one of the guys had a thing called the H2OPE system. and it’s H2OPE and it stands for water purification and energy So he had a water store in Las Vegas He created it himself and he has all kinds of different sizes. H2OPE systems, just go look them up online, they are awesome. They got suitcase ones, big ones, little ones. This you can put 3 large marine lead/acid batteries in there. You can get Lithium Ion, you can do all kinds of stuff, whatever battery you want. What it does is it has quick connects on here, to connect it you just go “Bam!” and it’s done.
It is amazing just how fast and easy this works. and I will show you the 2 compartment sink we are doing and how we are going to be using that To have powered water, I need pressurized water because I want to do everything out here. I will rinse my plants off, prepare them and eat them, got a table, everything. but I needed pressurized water. this is purified water also, I can throw that hose into a swamp it has reverse osmosis it has an ultraviolet, a carbon filter it does alkaline, it is amazing what it does.
But it also pumps water, we could do irrigation filtration, we can do showers with it the “Jack-a-lope Freedom Festival” , we use this for we use this for powering everybody’s phones and everything. “The Power of the Showers” (smiles) This is mobile, it just has a handle that pulls out and it has wheels and you just go For what we used it for, for months in the summer, it powered the entire dome. The problem was , the roll out solar panels we had, as the sun went down in the winter time, I did not have a place to put them. that it was getting enough sun, so we may hang them off the dome it’s self. so that is what we are probably going to do.
So we unplugged it, because we have to need to hook up the plumbing into the sink system and do it, but I ran this for months, when there was no sun, and there was a wheather system in for like 3-4 days the power of the batteries was able to run this entire system this entire time So the reason for the H2OPE system So if I take the domes down and put them one a trailer, This entire system can fit on my little trailer, along with this power system and I show up somewhere, I got food, I got purified water, I got pressurized water, I got power. Frickin, who wants me in their bug out? That’s why! The whole purpose of this was to be able to be self sustaining that was kind of the point, I wanted my grandchildren to eat well and to know how food grows.
They eat healthy, every Monday they come over and we spend at least an hour working on the dome. the “Aquadome” we are going to go work on the dome. They understand, they think this is normal. One of my sons just bought home, in the back yard they have an area where they are putting in an “Aquadome” I’m sorry I mean the grow beds and the aquaponics. The table here is just a 4×8 sheet piece of plywood we put in and it is supported by By the same conduit EMT we are using for the dome, that supports this, and this thing is strong.
Well we put the H2OPE system in to power it and I can rinse all my vegetables I can get them all prepped, heck I got the power, I can do my juicing right frickin here. The reason we did it this way is because a camera goes right there and it hooks into my radio and television show So we can come out here between the 4 minute and 8 minute breaks between the hours and we can do all the farming, and by the end of the show , the 3 hour show that we do, I am done with my farming for the day and I don’t have to do additional video work. It’s part of the show I have a wireless mic the video feeds into my switcher, and I’m done. We got these verticals These hard points on the dome as so strong, I can hang from them, you should get a picture of me hanging from them. We have these strawberries, We got this idea from someone who had made these on youtube for their strawberries. All this is, is PVC drain pipe you cut every 8 inches on each side and you heat gun it then you just press it and form it and then we painted it to make it look cool, because it has to be cool.
These are part of the 200 plant areas that we have the sink, the camera, the mic, it is all inspiration for everyone to grow food, now this whole area that this is on two summers ago is where we had our garden and I spent most of my time weeding. it was amazing , it grew really fast, but there was a lot of maintenance in it This I hope will not be a any maintenance and because it is in a circle it is ergonomic, it’s easy and I don’t have to move that much to do a bunch of work. One of the things we wanted to do, the H2OPE system worked great, but the sump pumps use a lot of electricity So we found another way called an air lift system it’s just air , like you use for aerating water for fish What it does, is that pump makes an air bubble at the bottom of this, Some of these pipes, 10 foot high pipes, air bubble lifts the water up and goes into the top tanks, and that is how we are going to have the water distributed to the vertical growing and into the tanks and so on, is through this air lift pump the reason is, it only uses like 15 to 20% of the energy.
So if we are trying to go off grid or use a or use solar or something like that, this was a really cool idea, plus it came with, another growing system and we put this bird netting on, because when we start planting I know the birds are going to start to come so I just wanted make sure. The water comes into the top here and it just flows back and forth and we can do a lot of our plants here and start our seedlings and a lot of things and then of course the water drains back into the tank So the air-lift, that is another thing to look up along with the bell siphon, look for air-lift-pump and you will see how that works and how much less energy it uses just another way to grow and operate this without using a lot of energy.
One of the ways you can filter, just to get the big chunks out coming from the fish pound is called a swirl filter, now the way we did this one, is the water comes in and then it will fill up, then it has a pipe that goes in like this and the drain will come out the water will fill up here and then it will go into this and come into the system, that way we have eliminated a lot of the solids. the solids go to the bottom we have fresh water from the top that goes in to here, it is a really easy way to do it. One of the benefits to this is the solids go into the tank at the bottom and we have a drain off to the side of the tank here that we just open that every now and then flush out the heavy solids and so on and we put that on our favorite plants and trees and such and they get extra. Tarrin Lupo: I wanted to find out a lot more about aquaponics These systems fascinated me, so I tracked down endless food systems in Arizona.
To find out about maybe getting a home unit. HI I’m Chad Hudspeth with endless food systems, and I actually grew up on a dairy farm. grew a lot of crops there, but upon graduating college, went to the roofing business and was involved with that heavily for 10-12 years. and I wanted to do something that would really change the world and I saw these fish powered gardens and I thought this was the solution to world hunger.
I started looking into it and started growing a couple different kind of ways and discovered this is so much better then the conventional way that I grew up gardening. leaning over and weeding and all that How much do you water and how much food do you give the plants? this thing is completely automatic and I thought this thing has got to be the best. So this is our fish tank, it is about 300 gallons and a fish powered garden We are really relying on the fish to produce the nutrition or waste for the plants. So it really doesn’t matter which kind of fish you use, but we have tilapia in here because they handle hot water. and in Phoenix it gets pretty hot. but if you are in a northern climate where it gets cold trout would be good. So we have a water pump that pulls the water from the fish tank into the grow beds.
You can plant just about any thing you want, there is only a few plants that don’t do well in aquaponics. Potatoes and carrots are about the only thing. This is swiss chard right here, and this will grow for a couple of years, you just cut off a stalk really close to the base and it is really good just raw in your salad. Or you can stir fry it with an onion or something. Just about any leafy green or vegetable will grow in these beds. Tarrin Lupo: So you don’t have a lot of room, No problem, chad offers these smaller units.
The fish tank is where the fish live, and their waste are pulled up by a water pump into the top. These pebbles filter that water and take the waste, actually there are red worms in here that convert that over into a nitrate the the plants can absorb for food. This is our small table top version, it is good for maybe one beta fish and some herbs or things like that It is a decorative model, once again it is completely self cleaning you never have to clean the water or the pebbles. The tricks to making these work really well are called an auto siphon It a fairly complex thing but basically there is an up-stand here where the water overflows. This is called the bell, it goes around it There is an air-pocket that is created at the top when the water begins to overflow, it creates a suction called a siphon this is just a media guard that goes around the whole thing and keeps the pebbles and anything from getting in there and stopping it up. We had several costumers asking for an off-grid package, a way to power these things without electricity This lid is adjustable depending on, the angle of the sun, and we just mount the the solar panel right to the lid, there is a charge controller on the side over here and a battery on the ground The battery can also be used as a back up system if you didn’t have a solar panel but you were concerned that maybe if your power goes off and your pumps would quit it automatically kicks on a 12 volt pump.
So this is out raft bed, it is just a piece of styrofoam and the roots of the plants just hang down straight into the water. These are best for lettuces, leafy greens, anything that is fast growing and small. So you would want to grow things like tomatoes, swiss chard, things that have a long life in you gravel beds. but anything small and fast growing in your raft beds. Once I discovered these fish powered gardens and how powerful they were and how they could feed the world, I really wanted to manufacture a kit so people could be self-sustained right at their house The powerful thing to me, was that a person could take a small area, maybe 12-20 feet right in their back yard or in their garage, and grow pretty much all their own food and to me that is just amazing With out large systems people usually grow outside in a green house or something like that. You can grow indoors using any kind of light, light a T5 light, but it is going to take quite a bit of electricity, you could use either a solar tube, which is like a thing you mount on the roof and it directs the light down.
Or grow outside in a green house. Tarrin Lupo: So what if you don’t have a lot of room, maybe you live in suburbia. Well no problem, you can plant a surprising amount of fruit trees that will feed you year round. Check out “The Urban Farm” My name is Greg Peterson and I live in a place in Arizona called “The Urban Farm” The Urban Farm is a 1/3 of an acre in north central phoenix, it’s 80 feet wide by 160 feet deep. On of my favorite things to do on them is grow fruit trees. this is an apple tree patch, one of the ways that I plant fruit trees is hedges rather than individual trees. So this is an apple tree hedge row right here this is 8 apple trees in 30 feet. I have got them about 3 feet apart The interesting thing about this part of it, is this is my front yard but it is actually the neighbors front yard too. So this is our fence between the two yards right here, and I am standing in his yard right now, shhhh don’t tell him. So it is February in Phoenix Arizona and a lot of the trees are still dormant.
These are the grape vines, I love grapes, grapes do great, I use them, you can see I use them as a hedge, and this is again, a fence between the neighbors house and my house come back in 4 months and what you will see is this nice dense green hedge full of grapes. So this is the front yard of the urban farm, and one of the distinguishing features of all the way around the front of “The Urban Farm” are the fruit trees. I got apple tress in a hedge, I got citrus trees across the front and all the way down the north side of the property. and sprinkled thought are different kinds of peaches and apples. My favorite thing about fruit trees, and urban farming is, you plant them once and they make food for decades. So this is the north side of the property of “The Urban Farm” , you can see a nice row of citrus This is great for keeping the privacy in and keeping the neighbors out, when you want to keep them out. I got several different kinds of citrus growing here, I got something called a Mandarinquat, this is the kind you eat the skin The skin is sweet and the inside is really tart.
We got our navel oranges, Plus, here we go, lemons. Growing fruit trees in an urban area is significantly different than growing in a rural area The big thing with urban fruit trees is you want to keep them small. This peach tree behind me is getting a little bit tall. The fruit at the top of this tree is going to be mostly bird food. So we actually want to keep the trees about this size. During the year I give classes on urban “orchidring” , thats what we call it. A big part of what I teach is how to keep your trees small. The perfect size fruit tree is about 6-7 feet tall and 6 feet wide, that way you can walk up to it and harvest the fruit right off the tree.
The other great thing about keeping the trees small is that you can plant different kinds of peaches say, here on “The Urban Farm” I have peaches that ripen a variety that ripens in May, two that ripen in June and two that ripen in July, so essentially what I have done is created this, schedule of peach tree ripening so I have peaches from May until August Tarrin Lupo: I hope you learned something from this fun ride.
Just remember to get out and try any kind of farming. There is no excuse to stay in a job that you really don’t want to be in. when there is so many options on how to grow your own food now. Just get out there and farm. This is Tarrin Lupo and thanks for joining me. I want to thank all the great people who donated to help make this documentary a reality. Thanks so much! You can find more information at LupoLink.com thats www.LUPOLINK.com Thank you. .