Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 11

Stairs leading to parking area installed by Rafael Moreno's crew.
One of two retention ponds in the front of the houses. These accept rainwater from the roofs of the houses as well as water from the ponds if we need to drain them. Eventually this area will be planted with an edible and medicinal forest garden.

Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 10

An ultra efficient inline pump moves the water between ponds allowing us to filter the water and grow more fish in a smaller area. I put the pump inside a used 50 gallon barrel with the bottom cut off. The barrel is buried in the ground to prevent the pump from freezing. This also places the pump below the water level in the pond so we don't need a priming pot or check valve. The outlet in the barrel is connected to an above ground switch so it's easy to turn on and off. We have two different siphon systems to empty the water from the ponds and extract wastes. The nutrient rich water in the bottom of the ponds can be siphoned off into this channel through a permanent piping system. Containerized plants and worms will be grown in the channel. From here the water has two choices, it can either go back into the recirculated pond system for recycling or it can go into a retention area for pond draining.
The easiest way to harvest fish is to drain the pond and pick the fish up off the bottom. This system makes it possible with the turn of a valve.
This system also allows us to empty wastes from the pond. This will increase the amount of oxygen in the water making the fish happy. The waste water will be used to fertilize our plants.
A vegetated retaining wall will be installed here and will accept some waste water from the channel in the previous photo.

Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 9

During the warm season, water will flow from inside the greenhouse and down the waterway next to the greenhouse. This ponds acts like a reflector giving us extra sunlight inside the greenhouse. The waterway will eventually be packed with aquatic plants, mussels and minnows. Black locust keyhole bridges give better access.
Next, the water flows down the waterfall to the right of the stairs and then under the locust foot bridge.
The water finally ends up in the lower pond. A float valve is hidden inside the fork of the keyhole bridge and automatically gravity feeds water from the upper reservoir when the water level drops. The green algae floating in the pond is filamentous algae, a favorite food of tilapia.


Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 8

The shower is connected to the greenhouse. Warm waste water and nutrients flow into the pond inside the greenhouse providing long lasting heat. The smaller box is a drain down system to remove water from the copper pipes to prevent freeze damage during extreme cold.
Detail of locust shelf.
This is the biofiltration bed. Bacteria live on the high surface area media and break down the ammonia. When the pump is running, water cascades out the small holes on the front into the pond.

Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 7

The chicken roost is inside the greenhouse. The chickens provide heat and carbon dioxide to the greenhouse. The drawer on the bottom slides out to remove the manure. Ammonia could build up to toxic levels for plants if large amounts of manure collect on the drawer.
The drawer can be left out allowing the manure to fall into the pond when necessary. Ponds are usually fertilized when the water temperature is above 68 degrees. This will stimulate phytoplankton growth creating a basis for a fish and aquatic food web. Manuring stops when dissolved oxygen reaches low levels.
From the outside the coop has two lower cabinet style doors with laying boxes on top. One of the doors has greenhouse plastic cut in slits to allow the chickens outside access without letting too much heat out.
The other door give access to the automatic waterer for cleaning. The entire floor slides out to empty collected manure. The coop holds 9-12 hens if you let them out during the day or 4 if you don't. The chickens have about 600 square feet of yard that will be partitioned into smaller forage areas.

Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 6

Welcome to 2010: a hoophouse odyssey. We're finally ready for plants.
This is the most advanced hoophouse I've ever seen. The entire floor is a pond measuring 18" - 24". The pond is part of a larger recirculating pond system including two more outside ponds and a waterfall. The water acts as thermal mass, absorbing the suns energy during the day and releasing it at night.
A boardwalk runs the length of the pond connecting recycled french doors on both ends. The boardwalk is made of black locust cut and milled on the property by Treecyclers. A chicken coop (in red) and shower (behind coop) are also connected to the greenhouse.
The boardwalk has two fixed bridges notched in and one movable plank for access to edge areas. The greenhouse has four types of aquaponic growing systems utilizing fish and chicken wastes as a fertilizer. The plants help filter the water allowing us to grow more fish. The containers on the edge are a "wicking" type of hydroponics. A mixture of compost, peat and perlite in the containers wick nutrients and water up from the pond.
The white styrofoam is a "floating" hydroponics with net pots filled with expanded clay pellets. The bright white trays in back are speedling trays with 200 cells/flat. They will be filled with perlite and vermiculite for seed starting. The speedling tray area will be heated with an aquarium heater and isolated from the rest of the pond. This will create a warm seed starting pond within a larger cooler pond.


Tour of the Ashevillage Institute Demonstration Site Part 5

Water from the diversion drain flows into our upper keypoint embankment pond holding approximately 20,000 gallons of water. This pond sits above the rest of the site. Water is siphoned off using gravity to feed the lower areas.
Shade and ample organic matter make this pond unproductive and eutrophic at times. The shade prevents phytoplankton from growing and the organic matter robs oxygen from the water during decomposition. A healthy dose of duckweed is in store for this pond. The duckweed will help oxygenate the water and provide us with a feedstock for chickens, tilapia, worms and soldierfly larva.