Well, since it was a work day, not as much got done as we might have accomplished on a weekend. Plus, there was just one person working on it tonight. Decided to rename this whole thing “Aquaponics” rather than “Barrelponics” but not exactly sure why.
It’s kind of hard to see in the photo in the first day’s article, but the half barrels rest on a board and the board rests on columns of concrete block. The columns of concrete block are spaced about every six feet in the system that was designed by the author of the how-to booklet (see day one link below for a free download of the booklet). This wide spacing made me a little nervous, so it was decided to use 10 foot 2 x 8’s as the supporting boards for the barrels and space the concrete block columns at the ends of each 10 foot board and one in the middle of each 10 foot board. This makes it closer to 4 feet between the columns – and makes me far less nervous.
The first picture is what it looked like when I started tonight. There were two stacks of three concrete blocks at one end of the hoop house. There will be roughly 30 feet of the barrels, so we’re using 3 lengths of 10 feet for the support boards. With three columns per board, that means nine columns on each side – for a total of 18 columns, so that’s a total of 54 blocks. We had that many in the “thing” we deconstructed that was in the same space that is now to be used for the barrelponics system.
Last night, I thought I was cool enough to “eyeball” the columns, but even with two people and a huge level, that soon turned into a frustrating fiasco. So, tonight I brought out the mason’s line, a couple of stakes, and a little line level. Wow, what a difference the right equipment makes. Maybe you could think of an easier way – or a harder way that just seems easier to you. Anyway, this worked for me. (I only had enough mason’s line for one side and only two reliable stakes for our concrete-like ground. This means I’ll do one side, then move everything and do the other side.)
With a little digging and a little adjusting the first block went in like a champ. The column was built up to three blocks high then on to the next column. In just about 20 minutes, I had two columns done (see photo below) and called it a night, so I could come in and complete this post. You can see in the photo above I just dug a little dirt out until the block sets level and the top of the block is even with the (yellow) mason line.
Don’t expect an update for about, hmmm, let’s see, at 2 columns a night – that’s too long a time – maybe I can fit in three. Well, there should be something new to report by Saturday. In the meantime, we’ll post some other stuff we’ve been doing around the property and the workshop – or some more detailed explanation of what we’re doing for this system.