ARC of Midstate Preps For Fall Growing
This past week we began the process of converting the three aquaponics systems at the Arc of Midstate (formerly Arc of Meriden Wallingford) to be fall and winter ready. The Arc runs one system out of a climate controlled greenhouse and two systems in a non-climate controlled warehouse. In their greenhouse, they maintain temps of 55 degrees minimum throughout the colder months allowing them to extend their season on many crops and increase the variety they can grow through the winter.
The other two Arc systems are in a non-climate controlled warehouse. The warehouse also maintains a minimum temperature of 55 degrees to make sure the water stays at or above that temperature. But since it’s not maintaining room temperature, and because there is no A/C in the warehouse, we actually treat it like a seasonal system and plant as if we were adhering to the seasons in a greenhouse system.
Fall Aquaponics Greenhouse Prep
So to adjust for the cooling temperatures we are anticipating we are starting to change over the plants in both systems. This means we took out the tomato plants, the basil in the greenhouse, the various hot peppers varieties and the callaloo. We’ll also be taking out the Malabar spinach once we see the daytime drop below 14 hours a day in the coming weeks. In place, we are going to plant out with crops that can handle wide temp variations as we will still see the greenhouse hit 90’s during sunny days but in extreme cold could drop below 55 if the heater can’t keep up.
With that in mind, we will be planting a few varieties of lettuce, swiss chard, kale, cabbage, oregano, rosemary, and sage. The ARC’s greenhouse will produce all throughout the winter, providing a majority of their produce to their cafe; the Eatery.
Fall Aquaponics Warehouse Prep
In the warehouse, we are under artificial light so we don’t have the concerns of sunlight like we do in the greenhouse, and we also don’t have the concern over extreme temps so we get to keep a bit more variety indoors. Instead, it’s more about changing the varieties out, and replacing the cut and come again with new starters for this quarter. So we will be replacing the Kale with a new round of kale, blue curled scotch. We are switching from tatsoi in the raft beds to salanova lettuce varieties. We are trimming back the tomato plants, and will leave them in until they stop producing fruit.
We’ll be stating new basils and add sage and oregano into the mix until next spring. We already have thriving rosemary which will continue to produce for us throughout the winter. We will be removing the hot peppers from the system, the callaloo, the old basils, the tatsoi and the tomato plants as they stop producing. The indoor warehouse systems get harvested by the individuals who do the aquaponics training each week. They enjoy the fruits of their labor and are always free to harvest off the system for a lunch salad. Any excess will also be utilized by the eatery for the staff and the community to enjoy.
The Arc of Midstate is fortunate in that all their systems have some supplemental heating so they should never hit a frost point. This opens them up for a lot of variety even during the cold weather months. If you are not in such a situation and need help increasing your season. Check out our winter gardening series for tips and tricks to keep your system humming all winter even without supplemental heat.