Articles, Blog

Aquaponic Urban Farm Grows Vegetables through the Winter Snow

December 26, 2019

This is John Kohler with
today I have another exciting episode for you; I’m here in Cleveland, Ohio. Yes that’s
where the Cleveland 351 Ford Motor Engine was made; I had a friend that had a Mustang
with a Cleveland 351. Anyways, this is the first time I’ve been in Cleveland and I’m
having a great time here and what I’m here today to show you guys is actually a really
cool example of urban agriculture, it’s awesome!
We’re here at the Rid-All Green Partnership and what they’re doing here as you can see
behind me they’ve got some hoop houses, some greenhouses, growing food here in the
city of Cleveland. What they’re doing here is growing fresh food for people but more
importantly they’re educating people on how to grow their own food to make things
more sustainable and just create a community in general.
So what I’m here today to do for you guys actually is to show you exactly what they’re
doing, some of the cool things they got growing on, I mean, it’s totally amazing. They have
aquaponics, they have composting, they have permaculture and so many cool things. One
of the things you’ll notice is they have a whole bunch of greenhouses here and that’s
because it snows during the winter here in Cleveland. Pretty soon they’re going to
have about three feet of snow on the ground but yes, you can grow in the snow, even in
the winter time if you have greenhouses and hoop houses, they’re only heating two of
them with external heat sources and the other ones they’re not using any external hear
sources. So I’m going to show you guys how exactly they do it so you can grow in the
winter too just like they are here. So, let’s come on and tour and show you guys what’s
growing on. So, instead of saving the best for last I’m
going to show you guys the best first, they have a lot of different structures here and
I’m going to show you guys those for sure but I’m going to show you guys actually
this one first, this is one of the aqua cultures going on and they got a lot of cool stuff
growing in this first greenhouse which is probably the one they put up first and then
went developing along. This one is basically framed out in 2 x 4 standard dual pane greenhouse
panels. So, let’s go ahead inside and show you guys what it looks like.
So, they have a little area here, you can sit down and it has a nice fragrance inside
here and this fragrance is really cool it smells like actually oranges and that’s
because there’s this orange tree and every tree just like every person has a tory, so
the story of this tree actually came to the Rid-All Partnership here because of a lady
who had cancer and this is an interesting story, the lady who was on her way to the
Cleveland clinic to be treated for the cancer bought a little baby tree like 28 years ago
and she took care of it because she survived the cancer she took care of it for all these
years and finally she passed away so she gave this to the Rid-All Partnership and now it’s
growing here and it wasn’t doing so well but check it out now it has flowers on it,
it’ll soon be fruiting and it smells amazing and one of the best things to learn about
here, the most valuable thing here is actually the soil because they added this soil and
the tree took off so well. The most important thing here, the most valuable
thing, is the soil not the greenhouse structure not even the equipment here but you have to
work and value your soil, you have to feed your soil so that it will feed you and more
importantly your plants so I want you guys to focus on your soil and building your soil.
Instead of just fertilizing and adding fertilizers we’re going to build the soil so the plants
can absorb all the nutrition from the soil via de principles of the food-soil web. So
besides the orange tree there is another thing that’s apparent when you walk in here, it’s
how warm it is inside here and also how humid it is inside here. There’s a small demonstration
garden over here and some things planted in the ground such a cherry tomatoes, they have
some aloe vera and actually this other cool plant that actually is called the moringa
tree and this is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the whole planet and this one
is planted on the ground and I want you guys to pay attention to the height on this one
because in a minute we’re going to show you guys one that’s planted not in the ground
and growing into aquaponics and how much better it did it’s completely amazing.
So, aside from that, along to top here, they don’t waste too much space, they’re growing
food in containers. That’s possibly some kale and maybe broccoli micro greens, this
is very easy to do even if you don’t have space like a big yard, just get a pot and
grow some micro greens in your window and these will be ready to harvest, you can cut
them and generally they’ll come again depending on the soil. Over in this area here they have
more micro greens going just in large containers, larger pots, and these are some of them: they’ve
got some chickweed growing here and some collard greens and what not. This one actually has
some heirloom lettuces growing. Along the top they’ve just got these standard pots
and this is just a whole bunch of micro greens lettuce and you can easily grow the micro
greens lettuce. Now, something like the lettuce or some of
the kale and what not, micro greens, they might take a little bit longer to grow but
if you want a fast turnaround I really encourage you guys to grow something like sunflower
sprouts, I do have a really good episode on growing some sunflower greens and they happens
actually really fast maybe within 10 to 14 days you’ll have a whole crop of sunflower
greens to eat. This is especially important to green your diet in the winter time.
Next thing we’re going to look at actually is another key to how everything works here
and it’s these guys; you might be thinking “Hey John, that’s just some big blue totes
with just some woodchips in there”. Well, if you thought that you’d be thinking wrong
because this is one of the main keys to how everything works here. This is actually their
permaculture were they’re basically using worms to digest the woodchips and the food
scraps in there and when they do that the worms basically make a worm poop and that
is called the castings, and the castings are one of the important soil ingredients that
they use to grow some of the best plants here in Ohio.
Let’s check out this worm bin and check it out, we’re going to go inside here and
scoop it up and check it out, I don’t know if you can see them on the camera, but there’s
little baby worms and these are the worms in the compost that break down the soil and
turn it into rich worm castings. What happens is they put the woodchips and the food scraps
in there, and I have a special hint, if you want to supercharge and increase your worm
population add some watermelon rind; I’ve heard that watermelon is like the human Viagra,
so if you have a problem getting it up you know what I’m saying guys. That’ll help
you out but it also supercharges the worm production, the worms go crazy for it and
start multiplying like crazy when you put watermelon rinds in with your worms.
Anyways, what they do here is once they’ve got a lot of this, about once a month they
scoop all this stuff out and then they go and put it over this screen here and then
the basically shake it out and what they get on the other side is this stuff right here
and this is the black gold, there is no substitute in my opinion for worm castings in a garden,
you always want to use some worm castings and it’s not necessarily about the castings
or what’s in here, but what it’s about in my opinion, the worm castings and why they’re
so valuable it’s the biologics in the soil. You can make like compost tea with this stuff
and spray it all over your garden, you can use it foilerly which means the leaves could
absorb it or you can actually mix some in with your soil because it’s having an active
soil, the beneficial bacteria, fungi and protozoa in the soil, that actually helps build the
soil and bring the nutrients into the plant. So this is a very important resource they’re
doing here in this greenhouse to produce the worm casting locally and make it available
to gardeners in just a little bag like this and worm casting can be very difficult to
find depending on where you live. So I’m glad that they have this available and this
is definitely good shit if you know what I mean.
Next, the moment you’ve been waiting for, it’s the aquaponics set. Many people are
wanting to get into aquaponics, they think it’s really cool and yes it’s definitely
really cool and it looks like they have the system dialed in here pretty good but it’s
not without learning curve. So I was talking to them here and yes, they’ve had some challenges
with it and one of the things I like to teach is learn as you grow. So you’re just going
to start doing it, see what happens and you’re going to have to make adjustments, much like
life you know, the first time you got on that bike you might have rode it for a foot and
you fell off but, guess what?, get back on and keep riding, pretty soon you’re going
to be able to ride with no hands like I do sometimes. Same thing with the aquaponics,
it’s just gardening in general so sometimes you’re going to have some learning experiences
but that’s the way you grow. So come on and let’s check out this aquaponic
systems, they basically have 4 systems here in this greenhouse and it’s just made out
of some simple 2 x 12 lumber between 4 x 4s and they lined it with a pond liner and what
it is just under this murky water that you can’t even see there’s probably 700 fish
in this one right here that we don’t see and they’re tilapia in this tank here, but
tilapia needs to be at 80 degrees or so year round, they don’t like it colder. What they
do is they’ll be living down there and they’ll be pooping and creating fertilizer for the
plants up here and so the water is cycled up and fed up and the plants actually get
the nutrients out of the water and actually clean the water for the fish and then the
water is returned down here. You can see the pickup line over here, this is where the water
is pumped up to the top, I can feel the water rushing through this pipe it goes up to the
top, it actually then runs down through the whole top here and on the other side it drains
down. So when the water drains down over here on this side it’s actually a little cleaner
than it was going up from the other side. What happens on the top is really interesting
let’s go ahead and give you guys a peak. So here’s what’s going on up top, you
can see they’ve got the distribution line here, this is the water from the tank that’s
being sprayed trough a PVC pipe that get basically flooded all this table that works its way
down to the other end. And the water just works its way down and as the water works
its way down there’s all this plants, some are in pots which basically wilt the moisture
up into the pot and into the plant and then take out [the nutrients] and clean the water
for the fish. So in this bin what they’ve got, number one they have this guy right here
and this is a really cool moringa tree here and this is the same type as the one that
was one the ground down there and it’s twice the size, it’s really looking real healthy
here. Check it out, this is the moringa here and this stuff is a really good leafy green
to eat. Besides that they’re also growing some water cress, and the water cress just
basically grows in the water, once again water cress is one of the most nutrient dense foods
in the planet and the water cress literally grows in the water so it’s amazing in this
situation. The other thing they’re growing you’ll see over here they’ve got a lot
of cherry tomatoes, so I’m sure they’re growing cherry tomatoes because they yield
a lot more tomatoes than a large tomato, plus they actually ripen up a lot quicker. So those
are the three things they’re currently growing in here and it looks like they’re doing
amazingly well. Here’s the result of the aquaponics and
the tomatoes you can see this thing is just loaded up with tomatoes here. We’re going
to go ahead and sample one so I can tell you guys how well this aquaponic system is growing.
Alright so here’s an aquaponic grown cherry tomato in Cleveland Ohio. Wow! That’s really
tasty, I can definitely vouch, aquaponics works excellent for cherry tomatoes.
Besides the fruits and vegetables that you can grow on top of an aquaponics system, another
real valuable asset you’ll have or actually food crop is the fish, so let’s go fishing!
So we have this net here and I’m going to be really careful with these fish because
these fish here are delicate. What they do with this fish is actually sell them to the
local restaurants that pay like $10 dollars per fish because these are some nice, tender,
locally grown fish and I think definitely growing your own fish is really smart these
days specially with all the environmental toxins in the oceans and what’s going on
with that. So let’s see if I can catch a fish. Alright check it out I caught a fish,
this guys looks like about a pounder here. This is a tilapia, fresh tilapia, we’re
going to go ahead and put him back here but yeah the fish is a valuable resource I think
definitely if you’re going to eat fish you should definitely grow it yourself because
also if you’re growing your fish you can also grow your vegetables up top. And the
only input they’re providing are two things, they’ve got this vegetable based fish food
here, you can see they just have a little scoop here and we’ll go ahead and feed the
fish for you guys to show you how crazy this will get in the water. Look at this one, this
water is so calm right here now, but watch this, look at that all the fish are jumping
up to eat all the food. So one of the other things besides providing the fish food that
they buy, they do grow their own duck weed which actually they’re growing outside and
there’s a funny story about that so let’s go ahead and head outside and show you guys
how they’re growing some duckweed. Now we’re behind the greenhouse we were
just in where you saw all the aquaponics happening. Once again that’s a real simple setup and
in a little bit actually I’m going to show you a new installation they’re doing so
you can actually see how it’s done. It doesn’t take rockets science people to put together
an aquaponics system but managing it, that’s a bit of a different story that can get a
bit challenging at some points if you don’t know what you’re doing. But anyways, besides
the fish food that they’re inputting, they’re inputting this stuff right here, I’m sitting
at like a little pond here and what they’re growing here is the duckweed. So check it
out, right in here we just go through and this stuff is really thick! This is the duckweed
here and the fish will also eat the duckweed and I’m sure you know ducks like to eat
duckweed but actually people can also eat duckweed if it was maybe more sterile than
this. But anyways, the interesting story on why they’re growing this is because they
would drain out their tanks there from their aquaponics into this little area here and
one time they used to buy $18 dollars of that to feed their fish duckweed and some of it
escaped into this and then they actually started to colonize and actually started to grow itself
so instead of actually buying it now they can easily grow their own duckweed to feed
to their fish so that they can buy less fish food. I think that’s totally amazing! I
wish it was a bit more sterile and I’d probably be eating some of this duckweed too because
it’s definitely another leafy green that you can eat yourself.
Besides just growing the food here, the whole philosophy here is creating community and
creating sustainability and one way to do that is to use some of the resources that
they have available on-site or that are brought into the site. So one of the available resources
is of course the sun that shines every day knock on wood and how they’re using the
sun here is actually they have some solar panels up top and these are a new kind that
I actually haven’t seen before that are a really flat, they just go on top of the
roof and they’re producing probably about 1000 watts of power up there and they have
batteries to store the power to if the power goes out thy can still run their pumps and
some other necessary things here at the farm. Another thing they’re doing that’s really
important that you guys should do is really easy, they basically have a rain gutter and
they’re catching all the rain water into a 55 gallon drum this is pretty easy to do.
You can set a drum underneath your down spout and put a pipe going in there and basically
anytime you can have a spout here on the bottom, you can turn this on and check it out, that’s
some good water pressure right there. You can use the rain water to water your plants,
the rain water is probably the best water to water your plants because that’s what
nature uses and one of my philosophies is that we want to duplicate nature and that’s
why they make the compost that’s how nature works, so basically feed the plants to give
them what they need because nature doesn’t work with Miracle-Gro.
Alright, so now we’re going to walk into this hoop house here, there’s several of
these guys, this is actually hoop house number 1 and it’s about 15 feet tall and actually
fairly large; check it out. They’ve got some crickets in here and it’s nice and
humid in here and actually really warm too. There’s a lot of stuff growing, I mean,
check out this okra plants, these are insane, they’re like 6 feet tall, these are pumping
out lots of okra here and you can see the size of these stalks, this is almost like
a tree. So thick, I’ve never seen them so big, and this is just like one growing season
they’ve gotten this big. Pretty soon they’re going to actually be pulling all these guys
out of here although they look quite healthy because it’s going to get cooler here in
Cleveland and they’re currently working on transitioning some of these beds with the
summer crops to the winter crops like one of the ones right here we’ve got some mustard
greens growing right here and they’re going to transition over to some more winter crops.
Actually I’ll show you a couple of them right on the other side.
Some of the crops that they’re growing for the winter time are some of these here like
some of the kales and the mustards and the collard greens, maybe some broccoli and cauliflower.
In addition in this bed over here they’ve got a whole bunch of lettuce growing and doing
pretty good. And you might be thinking “Hey John, how are those things going to grow in
the winter time when there’s snow outside?” Well, certain crops will do better in the
snow than others, for example, tomatoes aren’t going to make it in the snow but actually
some of the collard greens and kales and things in the cabbage family like cabbage, Brussels
sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli are actually very frost tolerant because they grew naturally
in places that got really cold. They’ve got what is called built-in anti-freeze like
what you use so your car doesn’t freeze up, the radiator doesn’t freeze up, in the
winter time those plants have natural built in anti-freeze that prevents them from freezing
like a tomato would because tomatoes are naturally from the tropics. The lettuces on the other
hand, they’re not quite as hearty as the kales but what they’re going to do in here
to keep it warm because there’s literally going to be 3 feet of snow on the outside,
number one because we’re in a hoop house it’s getting in the natural sun energy and
actually warming up in here and the heat is staying inside because it’s enclosed.
The only thing they’re going to do is actually right behind me here and what I’m sitting
on right now… Wow this is actually quite warm! It’s a compost pile and this is an
active compost pile, if you have and active compost pile, the middle of the pile… wow
this is really warm actually! I should have brought a thermometer. The middle of the pile
is… Oh my god! I’m freaking… Ow, ow, ow! The middle of this pile is burning my
hand literally. I mean, look, can you see the heat coming out of there? Look at that!
This is how hot the middle of a compost pile is and this is what’s going to heat up the
hoop house here, they’re going to have a few of these piles and they’re going to
keep the temperature 60 degrees during the winter time, which is going to allow them
to grow. And this is a free heat source by using the sun energy and using actually the
compost that could burn your hand. Look my hand is all red now, look at that, this hand
is red this hand is not because literally I burned my hand with that compost for you
guys to show you the power of the compost and how it can heat up your hoop house without
even adding fossil fuels or adding to a bill because you’re making this. This is actually
the coolest thing, this is brand grains from breweries that were thrown away by breweries
that they’re actually using now to heat their hoop house and grow food and you guys
could easily do this too, maybe not on such a large scale like this but even just a smaller
hoop house to just grow some of your leafy greens in the winter time.
Besides just growing in the hoop houses which they can roll up the edges so in the summertime
it doesn’t get too hot in there, they also were gardening outside but because it’s
been getting colder here in Cleveland they actually pulled their summer crops out because
pretty soon this place will be covered in some snow. Here’s some basil that’s still
left over that they’re growing. What we’re going to do next is actually we’re going
to go to a few more hoop houses and show you guys some of the different crops they’re
growing and actually how they’re doing it. Next, we’re going to go to this hoop house
and I like that every hoop house has a door to go into and a pane on the outside. Wow!
And check it out inside of this one there’s sprinklers on and we’re getting wet a little
bit here and this is really cool inside this greenhouse because it’s actually quite moist,
you can see they have three main rows. They’re growing some leafy greens transitioning over
for the winter time and it’s just what they’re trying to do in this one is actually simulate
like South America climate because they’re watering in here it’s more humid so they
can grow different crops in a more humid environment than they would in a different non humid environment
and they’ve been experimenting and keeping records of what does well under what situations
and that’s a really good learning point for you guys actually. I would encourage you
guys to keep records or maybe make YouTube videos about what works and what doesn’t
so that next year or the following year you’ll know what works, but also if you make YouTube
videos you can share with the world what worked for you in your specific environment under
your specific conditions. Once again, what they’re doing in this greenhouse is actually,
they’re going to use the compost pile here to keep it really warm in the winter time
and you can see over here how well this worked in here. Check it out, they’ve got still
huge watermelons on the vine here that they’re probably going to be harvesting really soon.
For a minute I want to talk about this actually, this site was old barracks and actually it
was just a junk yard they were digging up cars and people were dumping things here for
years and years and years. So, the soil in this area is pretty contaminated or toxic
so they’re actually now growing on any soil here. What they’ve done if they’ve put
like a layer down of maybe some kind of sheeting to basically separate the toxins down below
and they brought in these guys: woodchips! Now, woodchips are the best free remediators
of soils because they’ll break and actually build your soils up but also basically put
some space in some cases here it’s up to three feet of woodchips on the land to make
sure and ensure they’re not growing in it and what they are growing in is the compost
which we’re going to take a look at in a couple of minutes there. It’s probably their
number one valuable asset in here and they make it on site.
What we’re going to do next is actually show you this new building they built, this
is actually another hoop house with greenhouse panels on here and wow man! You walk in here
and you can instantly feel the heat, it’s probably like 15 to 20 degrees warmer inside
than outside. This is just amazing, they’ve put all this brand new compost in here, it’s
probably active, they’ve got two piles here and they’re getting ready to plant for the
new season and one of the things I was told they’re going to do in here is actually,
you can kind of see a sample there, they’re going to grow roses as a trial to see how
well the roses are going to grow under this particular situations. They’re going to
cut flowers but also just as an experiment and I always encourage you guys out there
to experiment when growing and have fun. Try new things and see what works well under certain
conditions and what doesn’t because that way you’ll truly learn and grow as a gardener.
Next, we’re going to go into this new greenhouse here that they just built and this is like
they’re modeling their first greenhouse with the aquaponic system but this is where
I’ll actually get to show you guys how the system goes together because they’re actually
not started yet. In this greenhouse basically it’s just all wood frames and they’ve
got dual insulated panels up top and you can see it’s just going in. Now, they have tilapia
in the other one with the aquaponics in this one they’re going to use perch, the perch
needs like 65 degrees instead of the 80 degrees so it’s not as hot for the water but they
may also not reproduce and make as much fish but this is how they’re system goes together.
They’ve got the wood here, it’s framed out, they’re using some 4 x 4 posts down
on some concrete blocks, they go all the way to the top, they basically make like a level,
the second story here with some 2 x 4s and some plywood and it’s all basically done
with the pond liner here to keep it waterproof. And the water here you can see how this works,
I’m going to go ahead and jump in here and you can see I’m just now inside this little
4 x 4 frame with the 2 x 4s in the sides and literally this is all that is. They just built
out a box with the 2 x 12s all the way up, maybe it’s like 2.5 or 3 feet tall and they
just put the pond liner in and they tack it on the outside so there are no holes. Sometimes
they’ll put padding on the inside here, they’re going to fill this up with water
and then get their fish and that’ how really simple it is and these materials are available
at a local pool supply store and your local big box hardware store like a Home Depot or
a Lowe’s. Up top it’s pretty much similar; it’s basically the same exact thing. They
have basically, I think it’s a 2 x 4 here on the top and then basically they just make
like a little tray. And this is one big tray here with the pond liner to line it and this
is where they’re going to run the water through and drain it back down into the bottom.
And this is all the rafters here just built like a standard house with the panels on top
to make it nice and warm. This is how their standard aquaponics system
goes and one of the goals of the organization here is to actually not just do this for people
and show them how to do it to basically bring this and make some of these in a smaller form
o bring it into people’s homes and into churches so that people can grow their own
food. Actually there’s a really cool aquaponics setup instead of building it all out of wood
you could use a standard tote, which we might see in a little bit, and just cut the tote
in half and use one half for the bottom where you keep the fish, the other half you basically
flip it upside down and use that as your little growing area so hopefully I’ll have a video
on that pretty soon for you guys as well. Now, what we’re going to do we’re going
to show you actually the last hoop house and this thing is ginormous, it’s actually like
20 feet tall and super big and I’m not showing you guys all this hoop houses to say “wow!
Check out all that the Rid-All Green partnership is doing” I’m doing this to show you guys
what you CAN do at home even if you don’t have a lot of land put up a small hoop house,
have a compost pile to heat it up and grow some of your leafy greens in the winter time,
they’re doing it here in Ohio, you can do it all across the country where there’s
snow in the winter time, doesn’t matter. Let’s come inside and see what’s growing
on in this hoop house. Wow! I was just so blasted with a whole bunch
of heat when I walked in here. They’ve got the compost going which is keeping this warm,
plus just the massive surface area to the sun to radiate in here to keep this warm.
Even at this time late in October they’re growing some fresh basil here, nice large
basil leaves. [Chewing] mmm that’s some flavorful stuff and one thing that I heard
is that they’re selling this stuff $5 dollars an ounce to some of the chefs here that want
some good quality food because this is really good quality stuff and guess what? It all
starts with the soil. So they’re slowly transitioning out the things, like the tomatoes
here, it’s going to get too cold for these guys pretty soon and what they’re growing
instead are something like this right here, some of the mustard greens. So, the mustard
greens are definitely a good winter crop to grow, it’s nice and hearty, it can definitely
take the cold and still keep growing. Some of the other things they’re growing also
for the winter are all the lettuces and they have some collard greens and more mustard
greens growing on the back. Another thing I want to point out to you guys is actually
right here, this is a very important resource to have inside your hoop house and this is
basically their water catching barrel, it’s water they caught off the rain gutters they
filled this up an not only can they run their drip system off them, which is what they’re
doing right here, this is their drip system fed by the barrel but it also actually acts
as a thermal mass so 55 gallons of water is a lot of thermal mass.
What happens is the sun hits inside the greenhouse, it heats up during the day time, the water
gets warm and then actually at night the heat that is trapped in the water releases. So
besides the water thermal mass they’re using another thermal mass, you could use concrete
blocks and things like that, but they’re using what’s in these garbage cans and these
are black garbage cans, so if you’re trying to collect thermal mass definitely better
to collect black stuff. Looks like they’ve got different things like coffee ground here
from a local coffee shop and they’re storing these because these are an essential element
in their composting that they do but these are also going to collect thermal mass and
stay warm and release the heat at night. Overall the message of these hoop houses is that this
is a technology you need to use in the winter time to grow some food whether you’re using
tall hoop houses or maybe not so tall or just even smaller ones, by using them and using
the compost to heat them up you can have a free source of energy or heat to heat up your
hoop house so you can grow during the winter time.
One of the things I like that they’re doing here is they’re making the most and best
use of all the land here on site; you can see above me there’s some little hilly area
and this little hill actually goes up to the tracks for the metro train that comes by every
twenty minutes but they’re not just growing in the greenhouses and the hoop houses, they’re
making the best use of ALL the space here and I encourage you guys to do that at home.
I’ve you have a slope “oh we can0t grow nothing on the slope” Bull hunk! You can
grow stuff everywhere, tree grow everywhere look at all these trees growing. So what they’re
doing is actually they’re making an edible food forest, permaculture garden and this
is the plan here. They have it laid out, you can see they have the hoop houses here and
they have a pond here that’s going to have fish and catch rain water and they’ve got
basically all the fruiting crops and edible vines and berry bushes all over this place.
One of the techniques they’re using is making these little shelves and you can think of
that as they’ve got this slope here coming down and it’s actually pretty steep so you
can’t grow on it but on the slope they’re going to basically build it out with some
wood and fill up underneath and make it a flat area like a terrace and then fill that
with the compost and start growing some plants in it. So that way they can actually start
growing fruit in a usable fashion on the slope. In addition of course you could plant trees
and berries and what not because they’ll just take over wherever they grow.
So what we’re looking at now this is like a 300 gallon tote here, this will hold 300
gallons of water, it’s actually on its own little skid and a lot of times you can find
these on Craigslist maybe for 100 bucks or something like that and this is probably the
ultimate way to collect your rainwater for fairly inexpensive and investing in $100 dollars
will definitely pay you back over time by all the water you catch to water your garden
instead of using the city water which is chlorinated which may actually affect health of your plants.
Next I’m going to show you guys actually what they’re doing behind me you can see
people at work and actually they’re actually, this is the first aspect of making their own
rich compost here. What they’re doing is actually they’re getting the rotten food
from local food bags and maybe grocery stores and what not and they’re turning this into
the black gold or the compost that they’re using to grow in so in this way they’re
not actually having to buy fertilizers and things like that, they’re using what they’re
getting for free and you can see that today they got a whole bunch of lettuce that they’re
now putting out, piling out. They actually got a whole bunch of rotten strawberries they’re
throwing out and they’re going to turn this into soil and let me show you guys I love
the compost so much we’re going to jump in! Wow it’s kind of stinks man! So yeah,
this is what happens, this stuff breaks down… hopefully you guys would actually eat your
greens and things like lettuce before they go in the compost but don’t feel guilty
if you don0t get to eat all your greens in your fridge. Just take them out to your garden;
put them in your compost bin and then they’ll end up feeding you anyways so that’s definitely
something to think about. Now we’re at another aspect of the composting
that they’re doing here, and this is it right here. Long time viewers know that I
definitely agree with the woodchips, this is a free local resource they’re obtaining
that just gets dumped here and once again they use the wood chips to turn in to their
soil and they just get it dumped for free. So call a local tree company, tree service,
often times they actually have to pay at the waste disposal site or the dumps to drop this
stuff off but if you call them up and say “Hey, dump your woodchips here on my land
for free” and you should definitely have a large amount of land, and there’s many
ways you can use woodchips, literally just pile these guys up and let them rot for about
5 years and you’ll actually turn it into some black gold that you should check my past
videos on how to supersize your vegetables with woodchips. But what they’re doing here
is they’re actually taking the woodchips, mixing it with the food scraps and other leaf
material and they’ve got composting times 20 at a massive scale check it out.
This is composting at a massive scale, normally people have like a three bin system, and well
this is a one, two, three, four bin system. But this bins are like 20 to 30 feet wide
and really tall, they’re literally just piling up a lot of the different inputs that
they get, the coffee grinds, the pare brewer’s waste, the woodchips and the food waste in
these and they’re all at different stages. I believe the last over there are pretty much
ready to go and this is what they turn into the soil and over all else this is the most
important thing they have growing here is the soil. So if you live in the Cleveland
areas they will sell you the compost and this is actually how valuable it is, they sell
one cubic yard for 85 bucks and let me tell you this cubic yard if probably better than
any of the mixes of compost you get at the Home Depot or anything like that, this is
the stuff right here. But nonetheless it is actually quite expensive o I encourage you
guys to make your own compost and I want you guys to realize the value of the compost and
why you should have been doing it last year. So I know its fall in many places in the US
right now so collect your leaves off your trees and your neighbor’s leaves and pile
them up and save them so you can mix those with your food scraps to make your own compost
at home because it is quite valuable. So I hope you guys enjoyed the tour here at
Rid-All Corporation and what they’re doing and I could sum up what they’re doing in
pretty much two words: education and sustainability. And that’s what they’re teaching here
they want to educate people about this stuff creating a sustainable world and I can sum
it up with the definition their little brochure here. It’s the urban agriculture definition
U stand for urban environment; R stands for retrofitting a farming operation in residential
spaces, B stands for benevolence giving back to the community, A stand for access to fresh
food, N stands for network building. These are all excellent principles in my opinion.
Another thing the Rid-All Corporation is doing is they’re coming out with the series of
these comic books that educate the children. As you guys may know, children in my opinion
are one of the most important resources we have here in the country if not the world
and we need to teach them how to basically become more green and be green and a facility
like this does just that. This is actually called Rid-All presents Brink City Green in
the Ghetto. So they have a whole program on Green in the Ghetto where they use comic books
and this is 5 out of 12 to teach kids, in a format they can easily understand and enjoy,
about things like aquaculture, like storm sewer water, about things like compost and
worms and permaculture, definitely really cool. If you want to be able to get access
to these comic books be sure to check out the website
I guess the final thing I’d like to say is if you’re anywhere in the Cleveland Ohio
area you want to get down here to check out the facilities and learn and even volunteer
and help them out here because I think the best experience you can get is by doing, whether
it’s in a facility like this or somewhere else. So I hope you guys enjoyed this episode
and once again my name is John Kohler with, we’ll see you next
time and remember: Keep on growing!

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