- Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station One
- Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station Two
- Yeast Cultivation Research Station One
Integrated food production system journalI'm back to the hunt for land. I found a 15 acre plot for a good price in Santa Fe TX which is a little further out than the last one but still about 25 minutes from NASA JSC and its business corridor. The pictures are the closest neighbors as captured by an iPhone from a slowly moving car. I had the address wrong 7201 instead of 7021 which explains why I couldn't find the place. Seems a decent neighborhood and the property is within 5 miles of all the K-12 public schools. I have reoriented to the Zillow map and the plot in question is just to the north of the houses in the pictures. The land is densely overgrown with things that I can't imagine any lumber company would pay for, it is glorified slash. It would be a lot of work with a chainsaw to make one section at a time livable.
If I get that far, I think I'll buy a wood chipper and one of these: http://www.re-char.com/what-we-do/climate-kiln/ so I can at least convert the biomass to terra preta. There are hobbyist sized electric generators and steam engines available so I could conceivably operate a micro utility for a time as Texas has a net metering law. I'd be selling to the grid at the wholesale rate but if the fuel is free I only need a return on the cost of the hardware. And the revenue is just a bonus since I need to clear the land and want the black anyway. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:09, August 16, 2013 (UTC)
Rain again today. It is a gentle rain but looks to carry on through the night. It is blessedly cool for mid-August in Houston. Still no brine shrimp. The pet store ordered them but their supplier is being pokey about it. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:15, August 15, 2013 (UTC)
Humble Camp Road property is a non-starter. My agent can't get any information out of the seller's agent except some vague indication that the legal status of the plat and the treatment by the city is murky. That is trouble I don't need. Keithjd21 (talk) 01:00, August 3, 2013 (UTC)
Having a truly tough time with carrots. In case it isn't too late in the season, I have a bunch of seeds soaking inside a damp paper towel to see if I can get germination. I've planted dozens of seeds and have exactly two plants each of which is tiny. Keithjd21 (talk) 03:16, August 1, 2013 (UTC)
Per the seller's agent: Thanks for your inquiry about the land I have listed on Humble Camp. There are no deed restrictions on this property, no HOA and it is not in a mud. Taxes last year were $548.13 before exemptions. There is access to electric, but all other utilities would be within the parameter of the land itself, well, septic, propane. All of those would have to be put in. As far as multifamily I wouldn't think it would be a problem. it is zoned residential and there were two houses on the property at one time. I would verify any zoning or building questions with the City of Texas City planning department. Please feel free to walk the property at you convenience. I have attached a survey for your reference. Keithjd21 (talk) 16:03, July 31, 2013 (UTC)
Inspected the area today. Very nice neighborhood. Decided to get a buyer's agent as the asking price doesn't seem to make any sense and I think I need a full understanding of what I'm getting into. May have sourced an even better deal on steel housing. Pictures of the closest neighbors. Keithjd21 (talk) 02:50, July 28, 2013 (UTC)
Found a 1.65 acre plot in Texas City that is also about 20 minutes from NASA JSC and this one I could purchase with cash today. Might go drive by to see it after I take my father to the airport tomorrow. If the area isn't sketchy, will see about making a low ball cash only offer, represent myself to save the sell the 3% buyer's agent commission. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:05, July 27, 2013 (UTC)
The mushrooms that sprouted in the compost were gone as fast as they showed up. Nothing but withered stems left. And more rain in Houston today. Lot's of it. Keithjd21 (talk) 02:48, July 17, 2013 (UTC)
Added some more infrastructure this afternoon. Hit the brew store and picked up two 5 gallon glass carboys with bungs as well as a carboy handle, a power stirrer that attaches to an electric drill for thorough mixing and aeration, three 1.5 gallon plastic primary fermenters with locking lids, and 5 airlocks. These can be used with either my yeast or algae and in the case of yeast will permit the accumulation of alcohol. An electric still may be in the future, I have sourced a Korean model with 2 gallon capacity that is only $179. Not suitable for commercial production but perfect for experimentation purposes. If I can make flammable prison hooch, that gets us one step closer to a renewable liquid fuel, and many important chemical feed-stocks for a petroleum free industrial infrastructure off-planet. I expect a still of this type to be capable of 85% ABV purity; should be enough to get a wick style alcohol burner hot enough to distemper and bend steel. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:05, July 14, 2013 (UTC)
More infrastructure. I had dad's truck today so I picked up 20 cubic feet of Scott's Premium Topsoil. I will split it 50/50 with compost yielding roughly 40 ft^3. Tried to buy strawberry plants but none are available until September. I will also plant dewberries which are an ankle high version of the blackberry. Keithjd21 (talk) 01:51, July 13, 2013 (UTC)
I took a barrel full of green water indoors to shield it from light a couple weeks ago. I split it in half so a couple gallons are in two separate buckets; now known as Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station #2 and Algae/Yeast concurrent cultivation station #1 . The algae all either died out or went dormant as planned yielding clear water with a sludge at the bottom of the barrel.
I emptied one of my potato experiment yeast canisters into one and added table sugar to both. Both buckets are pea soup green again which is what I was hoping to see. Growing algae on sugar is trivially easy once you have a colony established. The point? Algae cultivation need not be a potential mosquito breeding problem. This is critical for the charitable goals of the project as Africans do not want more malaria, they have enough already thank you. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:14, July 12, 2013 (UTC)
Tomatoes have sprouted (again). They were started outside in little water bottle planters this time so they have only one transition to make instead of inside->outside->transplant of roots. Hopeful. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:22, July 10, 2013 (UTC)
Replanted corn, cucumbers, and tomatos (again). Will plant some more onion and carrot tomorrow before heading out for the 4th holiday. This time they are in water bottles cut in half. I will let them get much larger before attempting a transplant this time. Keithjd21 (talk) 08:53, July 4, 2013 (UTC)
As posted to G+: I have not updated on the project since 18MAY2013. This in part due to a series of unfortunate events. My brown thumb struck again and I lost all 36 seedlings when I proved to lack mastery of the transplantation process. I replanted directly into the garden and have some sprouts that appear to be doing well. Others have not sprouted so I will use pots indoors and let them get much larger before attempting transplant again.
I thought I had lost my invertebrate copepods as their holding container sprung a small leak almost at the very bottom. The tank was quite nearly dry by the time I discovered this and all adults had perished. I poured the remaining ounce or so of liquid into the algae-pond in hopes there might yet be surviving napauli too small to be detected by the human eye. Last night, I discovered a thriving adult population of Daphnia Sp. The Cyclops Sp. appear to have perished.
In positive news, I have my yeast program underway and have successfully pitched a common bread yeast. I have split the culture into four containers. The first is the control culture and will be fed out on granulated cane sugar. The others are for experimentation with use of starches. Cane sugar is more expensive and poorly suited to an offplanet environment. Potato and carrot will be produced anyway.
I have frozen a potato to accelerate the process of breaking starches down into simpler sugars, diced it up, and cooked the results in a mini crock pot overnight covered with a small amount of water. A small amount of potato will be mashed and added to two of the remaining yeast cultures. Some of the fluid will be added to two cultures such that one has only potato, one has only fluid, and one has both. I will determine which is most productive with the eyeball method. I will try carrot next.
Once I have completed my yeast survey, I will hatch out some Artemia Sp. napauli, ramp up yeast production, and feed the Artemia on the yeast. Additional holding pens will be set up to experiment with both Artemia Sp. and Daphnia Sp. on diets of only algae, only yeast, and a combination of both for each.
Once thriving populations of invertebrates are well established, I will acquire some common aquarium fish from varieties that are live bearing and known to thrive on 100% live food diets. Currently under consideration are Poecilia Sphenops and Poecilia Reticulata and possibly a Gambusia (Sp.) These species are all known for durability, adaptability, prolific breeding, and rapid growth rates.
Adult fish will be dehydrated and ground into fish meal. If the volume of fish produced is sufficiently large, I will harvest fish oil first.
The goal of these interrelated projects is a complete loop. The loops looks like this: yeast/algae -> daphnia/artemia -> fish -> human consumption of fish (Track 1) -> human feces -> humanure -> potato/carrot -> sugars -> yeast (Track 2) -> human urine -> algae...
This is a largely complete food web that should be able to persist in a closed environment (with some additional cycles) for centuries such that a generation ship program might succeed.
There hasn't been much to report recently. The container I was keeping my daphia and cyclops in sprung a leak at the very bottom and drained all the contents and the inverts were lost. The garden proper also completely crapped out. None of the seedlings survived the transplantation process. I started over planting the seeds directly in the garden and most are sprouting now. In other news, I pitched yeast into a sugar water solution tonight. The next area of research is to determine if the yeast will survive on a diet of potato or rice starches. I have a potato freezing right now to start the carbs breaking down into simpler sugars. If this works, I will start brine shrimp in a one gallon pickle jar. That should be leak proof. Keithjd21 (talk) 00:45, June 24, 2013 (UTC)
The oinions have sprouted. They appear so terribly fragile it is heartbreaking. The shoots are ephemereal; far less substantial than a human hair. How can something so delicate become an oinion? I shall do my best. I also got email notification that my invertebrates have shipped and are en route.
Rain again today. The sprouts continue to push skyward, except for my oinions which I am beginning to fear may be lost. I acquired the remains of a pool liner that has been abandoned due numerous leaks. It has been deployed in a shady area that I intend to plant with lettuce and other shade friendly crops when the weather has cooled sufficiently for them. The algal bloom in Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station #1 is now a deep green. A week or so ago, I had a plague of mosquito larvae and treated the station with vegetable oil to eradicate them. The algae appear to have finally consumed the sheen. There is a break in the rain, so I am off to a couple pet stores to source omnivorous and/or carnivorous live-bearers and determine what my price point is going to be.
The carrots have sprouted. Only the oinion seed remains dormant. Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station #1 has an algal bloom. I have ordered a starter culture of Invertebrates, the crustacea Daphnia Sp. and Cyclops Sp. with a projected 2-4 business day delivery by postal mail. Fish will follow soon.
Today, I find additional germination. The corn and tomato seeds are pushing up sprouts. The carrots and oinions remain dormant for now.
Germination!!! If all else fails, I shall at least eat organic heirloom cucumbers this year. Not so bad for a city boy.
Rain. Quite a lot of it, in fact. I won't likely have an opportunity to do anything significant today. I have instead turned my attention towards how I might spread the meme. One possibility that I find potentially amusing is to start a new organization dedicated to promoting widespread adoption of humanure. I would call it EAT SHIT to focus attention on increased organic food security and for the play on words. Our web domain would be eatshit.org and we would have a web form that facilitates users emailing their congresscritters with the subject line: EAT SHIT. (Calling them mutha-fuckas in the body of the email would be a personal decision.) I think a lot of people who don't even believe in humanure would use the form. It would be a glorious day if we could hold a rally where thousands of people shout in unison "eat shit! eat shit! eat shit!" I would be so proud. Praise Jesus.
Acquired a trunk load full of landscaping pavers via freecycle today. My brother has an old above ground pool that is to be disposed of. It is too big for my integrated systems purposes and it leaks like a sieve but I plan to recover the supports and the liner to solarize the shade crop area I have yet to cover up. Targeting Monday to get that all in place.
Germination? Not yet. Patience grassa-hoppa. While I wait for my seeds to germinate, I have managed to plant 6 bulbs of elephant garlic. I have some rosemary that is ready for planting as well but can't really decide where to put it. My thinking on the base of the food chain is that I need more diversity to achieve robustness. Algae is great but I think yeast might be even better. Still undecided is whether or not pitch yeast into a salty medium and raise our artemia (brine shrimp) or to go with fresh water and feed out some other invertebrate. Also, I need to do some research on the best way to produce my own sugars to feed the yeast. I'm think sugar beets might do the trick. At any rate, Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station #1 might soon be joined by Yeast Cultivation Research Station #1. Raising Infusoria is likely on the horizon as well as they are just about bullet proof. That gives me a missing link as Infusoria are quite small and I'm not sure what to feed them to. They might be worth maintaining just to ensure fish fry have a supply of a first food that will persist in the water column long enough to be consumed.
Today, I acquired 30 cinder blocks, 4 plastic kiddie pools, chicken wire in a 4' by 50' spool, 3 lengths of 1/2" by 10' commercial electrical conduit, a neighbor's garbage bag full of lawn clippings for composting, a clothesbasket full of newspaper, a 3' rosemary plant with 5 stalks, and 6 monsterous cloves of elephant garlic ready for planting. I completed building out the portion of the garden that will be this year's raised bed and it is approximately 4' by 15'. An adjacent area that is 15' long and about as wide remains covered in black plastic to solarize. I will let that solarize until next year and will be planting some additional items along the margin after going commando with a garden hoe. I joined Free Cycle http://freecycle.org in hopes of acquiring additional items for my research at the favorable price point of zero.
One of the kiddie pools has been placed in a sunny spot filled about 3/4 with water as well as the nutrient solution left over from a failed hydroponics experiment in a previous year. I am aiming for a wicked algal bloom which will feed various micro-organisms, likely daphia and cyclops, to become live fish food. The fish are to become an important part of a system that is as fully integrated as possible and potentially hold promise to generate cash, more on that later if research proves out. I've decided to declare this feature the Micro-Algae Cultivation Research Station #1 .
My current compost bin is far too wet at the moment. It is quite a lot more like soup than compost. I am now covering it during rain and uncovering otherwise to promote evaporation. The water is clearly being driven off. Keithjd21 (talk) 03:02, April 29, 2013 (UTC)
Just a place holder for now. The bed is under construction, seeds are being started indoors, pototoes have been put up to develop eyes and I will acquire some additional items to begin my journey towards Animal Husbandry Literacy and Horticultural Literacy this weekend as well.