Marty Mitchell

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since Dec 08, 2013
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kids monies forest garden fish chicken homestead
Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Recent posts by Marty Mitchell

100% success for cloning!

I just potted everything up.


The three fig types just cloned were LSU Purple, Violette de Bordeaux, and Negronne.

The two LSU Purples had significantly different/stronger root structures than the VDB and Negronne. I suspect this to be either because...

1) the LSU Purple is a MUCH larger tree (with more vigorous roots) OR...
2) they were also under about 2.5 time stronger light.

The VDB and Negronne are indeed considered dwarf and great for containers. I now see why the LSU Purple is resistant to nematodes and starting to be used as rootstock for figs in nematode paradises like Florida.

So.... New test.  

I have stuck a new Negronne cutting and 3 Black Jack cuttings into the section that has the most light. Before I had the low lights to start... and then swapped them out to the more powerful lights after a while. This time I shall be going full-force bright light from the beginning to see what happens. The cool part about the upgraded light is that I can cut them to 1/2 power at the flick of a switch.

1 month ago
For the Goldfish fry... We still have them. I let them do "Survival of the fittest" training and still have 50 to 100 fish. Some of them are amazingly beautiful. Most are average. Some are wild/natural colors... but keep having one every now and again change to orange or whatever.

We plan to keep about 4 to 6 and grow them out before introducing to the big fish.

The rest are going into the craigslist "Free" section soon. I have done that before and had a dozen folks show up within an hour. Since this area has much less folks... It will take a while which is fine.
2 months ago

M Wilcox wrote:

Wow, Marty!!! I just read every one of your posts in this thread and I gotta say THANK YOU for the detailed info. What a time-saver for someone new to aquaponics!! I never thought of the idea of ornamental fish in the system. Everybody talks about raising fish to eat and I don't like fish at all--at least not for eating. I wonder if one could raise expensive koi to sell for people's fishponds? What happened with  your fry? did they survive? how did you get rid of them?

That makes my day! Thank you.

I am glad to have helped in any way.

One can absolutely raise koi in these systems. I added two koi this past spring that were around 3 to 4 inches long. They are now 8 to 10 inches. They have done nothing but get even more healthy looking and grow rapidly. Much much faster growers than the goldfish.

At some point their poo will be too large for the water pump possibly. We shall see. lol (Of course a larger system would have a larger pump)

I could see buying a dozen or two koi every Spring and selling off the old ones through later Winter/Spring.

Making sure to get good new stock for grow-out. A good colored (But nothing special) koi that is 12" or more can allegedly go for $100 easy. Which would do more than pay for the system rapidly... it would pay for the power, fish feed, and still make a decent penny every year in profit. That is for a system my sized. You could use the cash to pay for beef/whatever other food you would like.

That would all depend on if there is a market for it in your local. Otherwise you would have to sell online and ship.


It turns out that green wood cuttings have been rooting at a 100% rate in the system. I pushed it and just used micro new growth tips and have still had a 100% success rate! I have just tried the easy things so far though.... Figs and Mulberries. That being said... I can make 100 new Smith fig trees per bed... and then sell them for around $100 each on figbid (I saw 4 CUTTINGS go for $85 the other day. Insane!). Sadly I don't have a Smith yet. I am doing Violette de Bordeaux, Negronne, LSU Purple figs and some Shangri La mulberries.

2 months ago
Speaking about the Citrus. How did it hold up?

It was a pretty mild Winter over here on the coastal area of NC.
5 months ago

Trace Oswald wrote:

Marty Mitchell wrote:... it has been estimated that around 90% of the population would be dead within a year.  

I'm sorry for the challenges your family is having right now.  I work in an area that now has 5 verified positive cases, and it's concerning to say the least.

I'm curious about that 90% number.  Do you know how it was arrived at?  I can't even imagine it would be from starvation.  Maybe from lack of hospital care?  I just can't see any way 90% of the population dies from this.

It has been some years since I heard those numbers. I don't even remember where I read it at. I will have to do some searching around later and provide a link.

I am pretty sure it was due to mass food shortages/starvation/nobody knows how to grow food anymore nor store it for Winter, fighting, disease, lack of water, heat strokes/freezing to death, etc. combined. At this point it looks like we will get everyone back to work before that happens... which is a good thing.

I have some errands to do for a little while. I will do some searching around online in a bit and find you a link if I can.
6 months ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:L orinne, we have had (along with China and S Korea and Japan) very active sars vaccine development and medication development for years at ft Dietrich. None of them appear to work and I would estimate we spent around 100 million in the attempt. Other countries spent more. It has not been from lack of trying. Vaccines are tricky and we still have no vaccines that really work for the flu (it’s modestly effective in a good year). There’s a good target protein and I am hopeful for a vaccine but the virus can also shift and make it useless. Optimistic would be a year from now. The global economy  will not last that long.

In terms of transmission, I think ( but do not know) that low level initial infection probably promotes a milder course. Hand washing and masking should have been done long time. Intrafamily transmission in tight quarters is especially dangerous I believe, which is why the worst numbers will be in crowded urban areas.

Marty I am sorry for your wife’s presumptive exposure. It’s scary and I feel for her. I’ve had a few likely but no symptoms yet. More chances tomorrow! I have a family member with moderate symptoms we are monironing.

I wish you and your family luck! Thank you for your service by the way!!! Both on this forum and in real life...

Luckily we have a few expired masks for her to cycle through. Otherwise I am just going to try and convince her to help me out in the garden to make some vitamin D.

It is very scary indeed... and saddening at the same time. She keeps looking like she is about to cry. I can tell she wants to hug and kiss the little ones... then starts to tear up and walks back into the bedroom. She is feeling fine at the moment and just went for a run out in the countryside this morning. It will take up to 2 weeks to start showing them symptoms though sadly. Which is an insanely long time.

I have to call the boss today and tell them I have to stay at home to watch the kids and her now.
6 months ago
Good Day Everyone!

Due to the current situation of the Coronavirus outbreak I am going to have a LOT more free time. I have been using the extra time to make progress on my new homestead I am setting up for the family. However, I see a time in the future to where I will be catching up on things and be able to post up a great thread with lots of pics for everyone to scroll through.

We just bought our home on Coastal North Carolina in Zone 8A in August 2019. This house was a New Build and cheaper/smaller than the normal home for this neighborhood. As a plus... it was a blank slate for the most part. So I got to even choose the type of grass to plant into the mud hole yard... well... it was one at one time. lol The grass is starting to look decent already even with the hard clay.

We have 1.01 Acres with the back 30 feet or so being Pine forest with a good dozen blueberry bushes in the understory (I will soon be assisting for better production). The rest of the yard is essentially postage stamp shaped... with a 5 foot deep x 10 foot wide ditch that surrounds it. Creating a lovely swampy area/mud hole for the kids to play in a few days after each rain. Though... if times get REALLY tough... they would be easily converted into rice patties I suppose.

We Are in an HOA.
1) We are not allowed any livestock or poultry "used for commercial purposes".
2) No regs on bees or fish... or rabbits... or quail... etc... so that is fair game.
3) No regs on gardening or fruit trees either.

So, I basically just need to make it look nice... not smell... And I plan to make it very functional at the same time. After reading up on the regs I walked around the neighborhood. It looks to be a LAX HOA. I spotted soooo many houses out of regs. Things from fences, to trailers sitting the driveway, to "not allowed" dog breeds... are all here. And... it eases me to see that! lol

It does look like as long as you don't annoy your neighbor... they won't bring the HOA hammer down on you. Each resident is responsible for reporting HOA violations. So I need to make friends!

Any permanent structures ranging from a concrete pad on up must have permission first... and if a shed... must match the house siding and shingles. lol

I have made SIGNIGICANT progress already in my short stay here. I will begin posting up pics and such in the following posts.

Did you know that you can (allegedly) feed a family of 4 on just 1/4 of an acre? If that is possible anywhere... it would be in my area. Every inch of the yard is usable (deep soil and flat). We get around 46 inches of rain a year... and it is not too hot or too cold... though it can get pretty hot some years.

Introduction Complete!!!

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6 months ago

Lorinne Anderson wrote:

Being short sighted or focused on the economy at this time, I fear, will become a horrible chapter in history, that will never be forgotten.

I agree that society needs to step up their quarantine game. It will slow the spread and thus decrease the death rate. I still think it will be way worse than the 100k to 240k deaths in the U.S. that they are estimating to have pulled the curve back down to. If everyone gets it in the U.S. and say 3.4% of us don't make it (but the system does not get too overrun) that would be around 11.2 million deaths. Anything less than that is good. If they keep it below 1 million it would be amazing.

However, I can completely understand why Trump is freaking out about the economy crashing too far. If it fully fails (to the point of no return)... it has been estimated that around 90% of the population would be dead within a year. A bit worse than the plague I would say! Worse case... what I see coming right now... is Great Depression level of economic collapse. I am pretty sure un-employment claims have already almost climbed to those levels.

Soon folks who cannot afford to buy food or pay bills... or can't go to work due to being sick... will start food rioting in certain areas like larger cities. Unless they have a plan in the works to get food into people's hands.

I assume that it is unstoppable at this point and that everything the talking heads on TV are telling us is just to keep everyone from panicking. So I am peacefully stocking up on dry foods when I can afford. Same for other supplies. Just put in a new small garden for fresh produce (few months away). I am also building a chicken coop for the new chickens.

Planning a little further out as well. Getting the mower into tip-top shape. If I can get it running right.... I will buy a bagger for it. Then I will use my 1 acre of grass/clover lawn mix to make hay. I will dry the hay on a tarp in the driveway and then store. The hay will be used for some Ruth-Stout gardening, mulch/fertilizer around the fruit trees I just put into the ground, the chickens, other animals in the future (If things get that bad). Luckily we just installed a fresh 5' fence around the back of the house. Leaving most of the yard un-fenced back there. So I can have animals penned up near the house... but still have fresh hay to harvest and around half an acre for garden and fruit/etc.

All this being said... my wife likely got exposed by a co-worker at the hospital last night. They went from feeling perfectly normal to having heat sweats/chills in cycles and full body aches before the staff told them to go home. My wife was working directly next to them. Since my daughter has a systemic auto-immune disorder. I set up a quarantined portion of the house for the wife. Not going to work. However, perhaps it will minimalize the initial exposure we all get. Enabling our immune systems to build up before being overrun.

Apparently that makes a bit of a difference down the road as things progress in the body.
6 months ago
I would like to see the link as well.

I have a constant flow flood/drain system that usually cycles every 10 to 15min or so. My fish and plants seem like they are in heaven!

The fish have been spawning over and over in there.

I have an extremely low fish stocking density though. I make up for it by feeding the fish on auto-feeders 4 times a day. That way they are able to consume the required amount of food to feed the plants.

The feeders only have to be filled once a week.
6 months ago
I might be able to help you out. It took me a little while to figure them out... but bell siphons are incredibly reliable once properly set up.

I have had my bells set up for 2 years so far and not a single hiccup. By the way I set them, the plumbing, and the pump up... I am able to go a month without filling the sump tank.

The water level can drop 6 to 10 inches in there... and even with the water flow slowing... the bells still kick on every time without a hitch.

I have a pump set to constant flow. I maximized pump flow by doing a few things.

1st I modified the pump by removing the cover and hard-attached plumbing to it. This greatly increased flow... especially at a higher head height.

2nd I built a cage around the pump to keep large debris from clogging it since things like old leaves kept clogging it every few days and greatly effecting the flow. (siphons too) I found some water planter baskets that had smaller holes than the opening on the impeller for the pump. That way I knew any debris that gets in would flow through. I then punched a hole to route the plumbing through the cage and then zip-tied it shut around the pump. I have NEVER had to adjust my water flow OR clean the pump in the last two years. She has been solid as a rock!

3rd I ran the plumbing to the highest point it will go before doing the split to the different beds. I discovered that doing the split down low... and then raising the water at the different beds... would GREATLY increase the weight of water to lift. Which, cause water flow to drop significantly. Now my pump makes WAY MORE water flow than what is needed. Which enables me to create a pressurized system... which is More Reliable. I just close the ball valve to adjust the flow. When ever poop and uneaten food gets stuck in the gap in said ball valve... there is enough pressure to force it through.

After Doing These Things the water flow is now extremely constant. Which is very much needed.

Other than that... I used 1" stand pipes set to 1" below the top of the gravel. Ensuring they have the 90deg bend down below and are extremely vertical. The vertical part is EXTREMELY important. I learned the hard way... that a non-vertical pipe creates a much smaller operating window for the syphon.

For the Bell portion of the pipes. They have to be extremely stable with good water flow. So the entire bottom edge of the pipe is left flat and level to keep it from rocking as much as possible. Floating as you described is going to induce failure. So have the bell tall enough to not float. Other than that it can stick out of the water 20ft if you like. It will still work.

The gravel stand-off pipe just needs to provide good flow. Paying extra attention to the last bit towards the bottom. That way the bed will fully drain before the syphon breaks.

When setting the flow rate for the syphon. Always top off the sump tank to the max first. Making sure to leave room so that air is able to suck back up through the bottom drain pipes to break the syphon. Sounds weird... but it's needed.

Always set the water flow rate so that the syphon has a hard time breaking at the end. Since water flow will only slow down over time due to clogs or water level dropping in the sump tank... this will ensure that the bell syphon should keep working as long as possible.

If done right... a Bell Syphon has a massive operating window. Which is awesome. At first I was having issues until I figured it out. Let me know if I helped or can do a better job explaining any areas.
6 months ago