DWC frame

This is how I build the frame for the deep water culture (DWC) unit for my aquaponics system.

This is the initial plan for the DWC frame. Pond liner will be laid inside the frame to hold water for the hydroponic component of the system.
Measuring out the woods to be cut. The styrofoam board is 2 by 4 feet, and I add 1 inch to the frame width & length to give more room for adjustment and to prevent the board from fitting too tightly.
Planing the woods, this will give smoother surface for varnishing later. These wood dust would go to our composting box.
The standing part of the frame, 36 of them.
Left aside for the varnish to dry. I choose to varnish them to prevent it from rotting quickly due to rain and termite. I plan to reuse it when we moved to our own village house in the future.

One thing I learned when working with varnish is I need a lot of thinner to dilute the varnish. The way I do it is by pouring some varnish into paint tray, mixed with some thinner, and paint a thin layer on the wood. However thinner evaporate quickly and the varnish eventually become thicker again, so I have to regularly add thinner to the varnish.

These are for the 4-foot frame width part.
And these are the 12-foot frame length, already planed and going to be varnished next.
After planed, varnished, re-measured and re-cut, these woods are joined together using 1½ inch tapping screws. I drilled the holes for the screws first so that it can be fitted without breaking the wood.

Not an easy task to do, some of the wood are bending so need to use more force to screw at the right place. Some are hard wood, so when I drilled it continuously, the drill bit become too hot and break eventually. If I use small drill bit size, it’s harder to screw, and some screws couldn’t go in, I had to cut them and replace with nails.

Raised garden beds part 2

A few weeks after constructing the raised garden beds, only then I got the time to fill the beds with mixed soil.

Top soil mixed with burnt peat soil and chicken manure, however only 4 boxes are filled for now. Transplanted some choy sum and kailan seedlings immediately into the beds.
Petola plant (silk gourd / luffa) now crawling halfway the shade, still have a few weeks before it starts flowering and fruiting.
Strawberries are placed here underneath the shade area, ground layered with plastic to prevent insect from entering the polybags. There’s also saffron plant at the lower 2nd right row.
These last two boxes were added recently, haven’t filled with any soil yet. My wife put some of her plants there including chives, mint, rose cuttings, Brazilian spinach and lemon tree.
Long bean plant, a few weeks old now start crawling above the shade.

In the future, we plan to create a garden tunnel for the climbing and vining type of vegetables, such as bitter gourd, cucumber, passion fruits and others, which based on this structure layout, but using stronger materials.

Raised garden beds

Gathering materials and building raised garden beds:

Got these pallet wood from electric pole construction in the village.
At first I wanted to use only bamboo to build the raised garden beds, but it was quite hard to work with bamboo and its cylindrical shape.
Previously had some vegetable patches here so I level out the ground and clear out the area for the beds.
Made 6 square boxes, mixing wood and bamboo.
Install the boxes onto the ground.

Building the shade:

Bought six 1×1 6ft. woods to construct the posts for putting the shade above the raised beds.
Using leftover PVC pipe as the bar to put the shade on.
Tie the posts together with string, so that the shade can be secured into place above the raised beds area.
Installed the shade, check if the posts are planted straight into the ground, tighten the string and done!

codesign failed: resource fork, Finder information, or similar detritus not allowed

After updating AdscendMedia SDK in one of our app, when building the app, stumbled upon this error:

<project_folder>/Frameworks/AdscendMedia.framework: replacing existing signature
<project_folder>/Frameworks/AdscendMedia.framework: resource fork, Finder information, or similar detritus not allowed
Command /usr/bin/codesign failed with exit code 1

Found the solution here: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/qa/qa1940/_index.html

First, find files inside SDK framework folder which have extended attribute containing resource fork or Finder info:

cd <project_folder>/Frameworks
xattr -lr AdscendMedia.framework/

If got files, then delete them:

xattr -cr AdscendMedia.framework/

Floating raft

These styrofoam boards are 1 inch thick, 2×4 feet in size, RM8.00 per piece.
Marking the holes, about 6 inches between them.
I drilled the hole manually by hand, using ½ inch PVC pipe.
Using pen knife, I made saw-like teeth on the pipe. Rotate the pipe slowly to get a clean cut circle.
One board done, it took around half an hour to complete it.
But it took a week to finish all these 18 boards. 😉

Aquaponics build materials & water test kits

Continuation from the previous materials list. These remaining materials were ordered online since I couldn’t find them sold here, and I simply don’t have time to go around the city to look for shop that sell them.

Pond liner, bought online from seller from China. When I asked around hardware shops, they don’t recognize what pond liner is, and they confused it with weedmat.
Garden mesh netting, also bought online from Chinese seller. However currently I haven’t decided on whether to use it on this aquaponics set, or will reuse it for another project.
K1 bio media. 1cm diameter, total 1 kg occupies 6 liters of volume. Using my 12 gallon pail as bio filter tank, this K1 media is a bit too little, should have bought about 4 to 5 kg of them.
Ammonia test kit. This is important for doing initial system cycle later.

System cycle is a process to be performed on new system, to ensure nitrifying bacteria are colonizing the system. I plan to cycle the system using fish, by lowering stocking density and feed rate, then I need to monitor ammonia level daily to ensure it doesn’t exceed dangerous level. This is to ensure enough nitrifying bacteria to grow to convert those ammonia into nitrate, and this process will continue for about one to two months.

pH meter (with buffer powder) and EC (electrical conductivity) meter.

Water pH is one of the most important parameter to monitor. Initially, the system water pH will be a bit high (7 – 8 pH), and over time, the pH should fluctuate around 6 – 7 pH. For EC meter, it’s not so useful for aquaponics, but I think perhaps in future I’ll try hydroponics or fertigation, and EC meter is very useful to measure the fertilizer solution.

Other water test kits that will be beneficial to have are dissolved oxygen meter, various nutrient test meter (to test important nutrient such nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium etc.) and thermometer. All these water parameter data will be useful later to analyze effectiveness of the system.

Chilli 2nd batch

6 weeks old seedlings.

For this second batch of chilli planting, I sowed 3 types of chilli, which are cili besar (big type), cili geronong (type of habanero) and cili padi (bird eye chilli). Previous chilli trees which I brought together when we moved in last time were already dried up and dead. Also because I planted them along the gate wall, so its harder to clear up the weeds & bugs like to live there and damage the chilli fruit.

When the seedlings were 8 weeks old, I transplanted 9 cili besar, 9 bird eye chilli and 7 cili geronong to the soil at our house backyard. While the remaining I sent to village as requested by my mother in-law, to be planted around the house there.

First row, all cili geronong.
Bird eye chilli in second row (right) and third row (left) mixed with cili besar.
Fourth row all cili besar.
Last month, when the chilli trees already 3 months old and started to grow taller, I stake them by using bamboo at each end of the row and loosely tie them up using string.
Interweave the string across the stem to provide enough support from strong winds.

This month the plants are 4 months old, and they started producing fruits.

Currently only have 5 cili geronong trees (2 are still small), 6 bird eye chilli and 8 cili besar.
Cili besar is a type of chilli that produce a large number of fruits in large sizes, especially this particular tree, even though its not as tall as others, it still produce fruits.

I found that the soil quality affect the growth of the plant. Soil around the above chilli plant area is quite hard and don’t absorb water well (clay-like soil). The root can’t penetrate deeper into the soil & can’t get enough aeration to assist nutrient absorption. Chilli needs well-drained media such as coco peat or top soil mixed with compost, so that the root can uptake the nutrient while the media is draining or drying up. If it’s wet constantly, then the root might become rotted.

This cili geronong is coming from the same seed as the first batch, where they produce fruits which are bigger than store-bought chilli.

Here also I found that chilli plant that exposed to maximum sunlight will produce hotter & spicier fruit. We always used about a quarter of the cili geronong in our cooking, since the spicy fragrant & taste is very strong.