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  • Duckweed

    Duckweed, among the world's smallest flowering plants, epitomises everything that HMFL is about.

    It grows on nutrients provided by our fish and worms...and it has a myriad of uses.

    For more information about this remarkable aquatic plant...click HERE.


  • #2
    In recent weeks, we've been growing duckweed in shallow grow tanks... each 2.4m x 0.9m. Suffice to say, at this stage, I'm not growing enough of this very useful plant to meet our needs.

    So, in recent days, we've built a 3m x 3m duckweed tank...about 400mm deep...with a capacity of around 3.5 cubic metres...out of treated pine sleepers lined with a butyl rubber liner that I already had.

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    We installed bracing posts midway along each side of the pond...dug into the soil...to offset the possibility of the sleepers 'bellying' under the weight of the water.

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    Like all of our systems, the duckweed tank will be multifunctional...with some prospective uses including:
    • Flowforms...for aeration, stirring and aesthetics. The flowforms will be supported above (literally on top of) the duckweed tank...drawing from one side of the tank and discharging at the opposite side.
    • Nutrient reservoir...this would give us a huge plant food store...from which all of our plants are watered. One way traffic from this system to the fish tank
    • Support for shallow grow beds....suggestive of the Chinampa of the Aztecs. They could even be sand beds...with the key goals of hosting beneficial micro-biology...and providing the most cost-effective filtration.
    In the meantime, it's a duckweed pond...and it's been filled with water from our rain storage tanks. I've seeded it with duckweed...and it has already captured its first gum tree leaves...so a bird netting cover will be the first accessory for the new pond.

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    • #3
      In keeping with my short term goal to get all of my food production systens up and operating, I've connected a high volume transfer pump to my rainwater tanks...to enable me to transfer water to the new duckweed pond. I also have a sump pump to enable me to fill the nutrient tank from the duckweed pond...and a pressure pump to deliver from the raised nutrient tank to anywhere I need it (via hoses) to anywhere on our place.

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      The raised nutrient tank is used to distribute custom mixes from various sources including worm leachate, plant teas and anything else I might want to provide to our plants.

      The tank is graduated so I can also measure the volume of the liquors that I'm brewing and mixing.

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      • #4
        Aside from being my favourite plant, duckweed is something that I just don't grow enough of. The chickens are eating all that I give them) and I always need more plant biomass for the. BSF larvae. My rationale for not having more was that, in my ongoing quest for perfection, I hadn't put the world's greatest duckweed production system together.

        As with so many of my problems, finding the solution often only requires a short walk to the end of my nose. Actually, in this case, all I need to do was look at my existing 'interim' duckweed production system.

        Consisting of two shallow grow tanks (with a total growing area of just 2.5 square metres) full of still water...covered with shadecloth...to which I periodically add nutrients...this little unit has provided a modest amount of duckweed. In a blinding flash of the obvious, I realised that growing more duckweed was as simple as finding more containers of water...and that I had several such containers.

        This morning, I set up two mega bins - and two IBC bases - as short term duckweed tanks. This has increased my duckweed growing space by a further 5.5 square metres.

        And then there's the pond to which I referred in an earlier post. I had started growing duckweed in that...but windborne debris from the large trees on the adjoing block had turned it into a mosquito-breeding swamp...so I emptied it. All that I need to do to increase my production area by another 9 square metres...without creating a bog...is to put shadecloth over the top of the pond.

        The need for more duckweed is a good example of where I'm not. making the best use of my available farming assets. The fact is that it will cost nothing to grow more duckweed...lots of it...and the simple act of growing it will also allow me to store a heap more rainwater...probably an extra 6,000 litres of it...at a time when there is no shortage of rain. That's a triple win...getting things that I need...at no cost...using things that I already have. If I decided to use the two fish tanks, I could have another 2,000 litres of water...and even more duckweed.

        The notion that you get smarter as you get older has no basis in fact.

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