Posted by & filed under Permaculture.

So you want to know how to start Aquaculture Fish Farms? There are a few basic items that you will need to consider.


• Do you have land and water resources available in sufficient amounts to be able to become profitable aquaculture fish farms?
• Can you afford to start small with only one or two ponds or tanks?
• Are you willing to learn as you grow, and ask for help and take some courses?
• Practical experience can be frustrating and test your patience. Are you ready?

Becoming an Aquaculture Fish Farm Operator is an experience that is new for many people. There is much to learn and be able to implement. You will want to choose wisely the following items:
• Special requirements for the species of fish you choose.
• Water quality
• Feed required for optimal health
• Harvest
• Marketing requirements
• Your best method of learning and implementation

You may learn best by hands on internships, books, seminars, or hiring an expert who already has been through the experiences that you are about to embark upon. If you do not do your homework, it will not just be a lower grade, it can turn in to thousands of dollars and days, weeks and months of your life that could have your investment floating on the surface of your pond or tank. Even if you just did a one year experiment for a trial production crop, you will learn much more than ever just reading in a book.

I can understand why you would be interested in studying Aquaculture fish farms, as there appears to be a steady rise of searches on the internet for the industry, as well as more and more colleges offering courses. So if you are ready to work hard and smart, you may want to associate with a school that can help you become successful. One college who can help you accomplish that is Langston University Fisheries located in Langston, OK. They have an extensive program for working with local Aquaculture Fish Farmers as well others involved in management of ponds and facilities.

After research, I have found that I like their take on the management and business aspects of Aquaculture fish farming. They take the approach that you need to be prepared for the possibilities and needs to make the transition into success. I have had some friends that started a trout farm in Colorado, and they were ready to move on after a few years. It can be a challenge for those who are not prepared for those challenges.

This is definitely not a hobby to retire on, but you can also manage a pond and have the ability to fish and provide for your family and a few select friends and customers if you plan your project correctly. From the people that I have interviewed, and know, it is not an inexpensive process to undertake if you are looking at a fish farm to drastically change your profit margin for the better in a short time frame.

My experience with fish farming has been by helping others with their ponds and small tanks, and I must refer you to others who have more experience than me in this portion of permaculture. I have built small ponds, and have had the entire population of fish get eaten and wiped out by some hungry otters that came upriver further than I thought they would travel. Needless to say, I was glad that we had not invested large amounts of money on that project. We noticed the otters kept coming back every once in a while to see if we had filled up their private fish buffet.

Sign up for our newsletter below, and let us know if you would like more information regarding Aquaculture Fish Farms. If you do, I can ask some of my friends and acquaintances who are successful fish farmers to answer your questions.

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Turning your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams
Chris Downs — The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Plants.

How to choose grow lights for indoor plants? Well, houseplants are popular indoor decorations but not every plant has the same light requirements. Indoor plants are attractive and constantly changing, they add a softness of line and provide a bit of nature indoors. They can freshen the air, as they add oxygen into your home as they utilize the carbon dioxide you breath out.

However, the ideal location of a plant for decoration may not be the ideal spot for plant growth. Lack of adequate light is the most common factor limiting the growth of plants in many areas of the home. Adding electric lighting is usually the easiest and least expensive way to provide enough light for plants that do not receive adequate natural light. Other options include tubular lighting through the roof, as well as sky lights dependent upon many factors in your area.

How Do I Choose Grow Lights for Indoor Plants?

So as I have found for myself, grow lights for indoor plants has been the most cost effective and easiest to implement adding light to help you enhance the health of indoor plants. So How do you choose the right grow light for your indoor plants? First you need to know more about the plant that you are going to add to your home do they require low light or do they need more intense and varied light?

Once you have the answer to that, which we will answer in a later post, or you can ask the store or nursery where you purchased the plant. You can also ask us and send us a picture, as well as the name and genus or you may research yourself. One of the best sites is have found for grow lights for indoor plants is It may take you a while to find what you are looking for, but we are happy to help you find the information that you need. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grow Lights For Indoor Plants

Q: Can I just leave the incandescent lights on for my plant?[jbox color=”green”]
A: As a single light source for plants, incandescent light bulbs are not particularly good. They are a good source of red rays but a poor source of blue. They produce too much heat for most plants and, if used, must be located some distance from the plants, thus reducing the intensity of the light the plants receive.

They are also about one-third as efficient as fluorescent tubes. Furthermore, a standard incandescent bulb’s life is often only about 1,000 hours, whereas a fluorescent tube’s life is normally 10,000 hours or more.[/jbox]

Q: My Kitchen and family room has fluorescent lights. Will that work?[jbox color=”green”]
A: Fluorescent tubes provide one of the best artificial light sources available for plants in the home. Other light sources such as sodium-vapor and metal halide lamps may be used but are not as readily available or adaptable for home use.

Fluorescent tubes are made in many sizes and shapes: circular, U-shaped, square or straight. Straight tubes in 2-, 4- or 8-foot lengths are used most frequently.[/jbox]

Q: What is the best balance of artificial light?[jbox color=”green”]
A: Many indoor gardeners use cool-white fluorescent tubes. Warm-white fluorescent tubes also seem fairly effective, but fluorescent tubes listed as white or daylight are less desirable for indoor plant growth. Cool-white tubes produce a small amount of red rays in addition to orange, yellow-green and blue rays.

However, the red light produced usually is not enough for plants unless windows or other artificial lights produce additional red rays. A few incandescent bulbs in the growing area can furnish needed red rays. A general ratio of incandescent to fluorescent light is about 3 to 10, so for every 100 watts of fluorescent light, you should provide about 30 watts of incandescent light for a better red-to-blue light balance.[/jbox]

Special fluorescent tubes also have been developed for growing plants.

These have a higher output in the red range to balance the blue output. Many gardeners have found that these tubes can be used in combination with cool-white tubes. Use one special plant-growing tube to each one or two cool-white tubes. This method is more economical than using all special tubes, since cool-white tubes cost less than the special plant-growing tubes. Also, fluorescent plant-growing tubes use less electricity and produce less heat than incandescent bulbs, and you will not have to provide fixtures for both incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

Find what is available in your local hardware store, and you can get your grow lights for indoor plants up and working with in a few hours. It is a simple and easy way to enhance and turn your house into a comfortable home.

Sign up below for our newsletter, leave a comment or ask a question! Our passion is to help you see your dream home become your Life’s Dream!

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Chris Downs – The Caretaker

Posted by & filed under Composting.

Setting up worm composting bins is easy. All you need is a box, moist newspaper strips, and worms. To figure out how to set up a worm bin, first consider what worms need to live. If your bin provides what worms need, then it will be successful. Worms need moisture, air, food, darkness, and warm (but not hot) temperatures. Bedding, made of newspaper strips or leaves, will hold moisture and contain air spaces essential to worms.

You should use red worms or red wigglers in the worm bin, but the worms that volunteer in your bins are even better.  You can purchase red worms or red wigglers if you wish, and they  can be ordered from a worm farm and mailed to you.

How do I successfully Set up a Worm Composting Bin? Read more »

Posted by & filed under Organic Gardening.

Before I share on how to grow green onions,  I would like to share WHY to eat green onions.

Green Onions  are traditionally used to :

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Decrease high cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  • Reduce the risk of developing colon and other cancers
  • Reduce inflammation

Green onions have an almost unlimited amount of uses and are very easy to grow. Green onions can be grown from sets or you can start them from seeds. Green onions are used in salads, tacos, used on potatoes, but I prefer to eat them whole!

I have to confess, I have to plant extra green onions so that I can test their flavor while as they grow.  I take them out of the ground, remove the small root end, then peel off the outer layer and eat them to ensure a great flavor.

Another advantage of green onions is that they are fairly easy to grow, and they are not as susceptible to pests or fungus as long as you rotate your crops and pay attention to the small details of good garden hygiene.

Bunching onions, we call them green onions, are actually immature onions that are harvested before the bulb matures. The green onion features a dark green stem (also called scallions) and a white bulb with roots. Both parts of the onion are edible.

There are several different kinds of green onion including, ‘Parade’, ‘Red Baron’  and ‘Evergreen Long White’ are three varieties.

Steps to growing green onions

Plant onion seeds as soon as the soil is workable in the spring. Onion seeds germinate at soil temperatures  between 65° F and 86° F. I start some in my house before then, as like I told you earlier, I like green onions.

Sow and cover seed with about  ½” of organic soil and keep moist. Seeds can be started indoors 6-8 weeks prior to planting, or year round if you are growing some in containers indoors.  They can be set in the garden about 1-1½” apart. To plant onions sets, simply press sets into the soil about 2″ apart.

Onions benefit from full sun, with soil that drains well.  You do not want to drown them, they do not swim well. They like plenty of premium compost. Feed during the growing season to ensure proper nutrition.

Once your green onions have sprouted and  become well established, they are pretty easy to take care of.  Green onions generally need about one inch of water per week,and if you are like me, you may opt in to using soaker hoses or drip irrigation depending upon how and where you have them planted.

We also use mulch and compost around the plant to keep the soil moist longer, as well as keep the weeding down to a minimum.  If you choose to use a soaker hose  or drip irrigation, keep the soil moist, but not real wet.

You can use the soil finger technique to test your soil:

  • Stick your finger in the soil down to the second knuckle near the green onion plan.
  • If the soil feels moist there is no need to water.
  • If the soil feels dry go ahead and water well.
  • Test once a week depending on how much rainfall you have received.

Green onions can also be grown successfully in containers. That is a wonderful thing for those of us who need the extra help for our health, and taste buds.  However, soil in containers can dry out quickly during very hot summer temperatures, so you may need to water them up to three times per day if you do not get the water you need from rain.

Harvest Time!

If you want to be growing green onions longer , use what you already have growing as a base to grow more.

I picked up this trick from my grandma:  After you pull the onions up, cut off the stem 2 inches above the root and replant it in the soil while you are still in the garden.  Water them in, then finish preparing the rest of the green onions as you usually do.  This saves time, and grandma never new that about 10 percent of the green onions I harvested never made it to the kitchen.

So I would love to hear your stories and see your pictures of your garden, as well as answering any questions that you may have.

I have made a booklet on how to improve your profits with your Organic Farm, and would like to give it to you to say thank you for listening to my tips.  Sign up for our newsletter, and you can download it automatically at no cost.

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on

Posted by & filed under Permaculture.

You may be wondering what exactly are aquaculture tanks. First time I saw aquaculture it was actually a small fish tank that the water flowed out of the fish tank up into a hydroponic system for growing plants and then back into the tank after the water had been purified.

With overfishing oceans,lakes and streams and the need for more food throughout the world farmers have switched to growing fish, crustaceans and even some plant materials.

Aquaculture tanks are tanks that are used to farm fish and crustaceans, invertebrate animals, such as lobsters under controlled circumstances and in controlled environments. Yellow perch, tilapia, and now even rainbow trout and some bass are being grown using these aquaculture methods.

Aquaculture ecosystems can use above ground pools and ponds, small creeks and any aquatic tools or systems that produce the products they are looking to sell.

More and more farmers are finding aquaculture can be difficult and expensive depending upon what where and why you are farming.

Aquaculture tanks to be made of fiberglass, glass, or even high quality liners, usually reserved for ponds and swimming pools. They are closely monitored and is with yellow perch aquaculture systems.
[jbox color=”green”]
They can harvest fish about every 10 weeks which yields about five harvests per year. So with an average of 22,500 fish per tank, multiplied times five, that equals 112,500 fish per tank for a year of harvest.Also you should that aquatic tank farming has a higher rate of return than wild fish management.
So how can this be helpful for the new organic farmer?

Well some aquatic systems include the use of a small pond who’s water can be used to fertilize your soil in your garden. The challenge is ensuring that your pond remains organic and that there are no contaminants in your pond or the water that replenishes your pond.

This is where production management for your pond or aquaculture tanks is important. Just as with any endeavor is best to learn and understand everything that is entailed to be successful and profitable. This rings true as well will the new addition of your organic farm or garden.

Byproducts of fish metabolism include carbon dioxide, ammonia nitrogen and particulates of dissolved fecal solids.

The fish byproducts will make the water more alkaline. If you recirculate water and ponderous tanks will need to watch the chemistry to ensure that you have proper water quality by eliminating defects of each of those wastespace products.

So with aquaculture tanks, each component must be designed to work in conjunction with all other components of the total system.

Small farms in the past have used ponds and water runoff to help water

  • nurture their gardens
  • water their crops
  • water their animals

I have seen more and more ponds on farms being fenced off with a smaller watering pond just downstream of the larger pond to be used specifically for their animals.
[jbox color=”green”]
So if you want to get into aquaculture then the you have to ask yourself… Do I want use ponds or aquaculture tanks?
My personal preference is the use of ponds and holding tanks with variation in them to not only lower our insurance bill by having a large body of water close by for firefighting. Also this provides available water during times of drought and holding tanks for excess water storage during later years.

If you want to get started in aquaculture my suggestion is to get the following:

  • a small fish tank
  • very small fiberglass swimming pool
  • set up a recirculating pump filtration

then grow some fish see if there’s a market for you in your area and a then make a decision based upon good solid research for your area and your market.

There are many resources available for you, one of which is primary industries and resources SA which can be found at the following link: WWW.PIR.SA.GOV.AU/FACTSHEETS.

If you have any questions we would love to help you with the research we’ve already done in the small experiments as we have done in the past. So please leave the comment or question and we will answer your questions either by e-mail or on another blog post.

Also I would like to give you a free gift our four ways to increase your profit of Your organic farm. Sign up for our newsletter and information now right below and get your free download.

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Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams
Chris Downs — The Caretaker


Posted by & filed under Plants.

What is with the Yellow Leaves on tomato plants?

If you have a vegetable garden and have planted tomatoes, you might be looking at the yellow leaves on your tomato plants and asking what do yellow leaves on tomato plants mean? Tomato plants leaves turn yellow for a myriad of reasons. Yellow leaves on your tomato plants does not always mean that they are not doing well, so lets look at what may be causing the leaves to turn yellow on your tomato plants.

When a few leaves turn yellow at the bottom of the plant, it could be just a simple fix. This will happen when there is not enough sun, or not enough nutrients are getting to the leaves from the soil. It is more apt to happen when the tomato plants are heavy with fruit as it matures.
[jbox colorg=”green”]
Yellow Leaves on tomato plants can be any of these symptoms and more:

  • Not enough water
  • Lack of nitrogen
  • Presence of a fungus or other bacterial problem
  • Other tomato diseases
  • Pests
  • Overwhelming the tomato plant with multiple cures without discovering the problem first
  • Roots are too shallow, or do not have enough room to grow
  • Too much sun and not enough water.
  • Polluted water

There are still other things that may be a challenge for you, but the great thing is, you can ask questions. What are some of the things that you can do to help your tomato plant when all of a sudden yellow leaves on tomato plants show up.
You want to look at the rest of your garden or on your farm, as well as any other signs around your area. Do your neighboring farms or gardens have the same challenge as you? Is it just affecting your tomato plants or is it associated to the entire garden or farm?

Here are some simple solutions for yellow leaves on tomato plants

Lack of Nutrients in soil?

  • Add Composted material, or an organic fertilizer

Dry soil?

  • Water more often, or use a drip hose at a rate that will keep your plants hydrated

End of the growing season and your plant if flush with Juicy Organic Tomato’s?

  • remove the yellow leaves and get ready to enjoy the harvest!

Now for some of the harder challenges with yellow leaves on tomato plants

Pests eating your plants?

  • There are plants that attract beneficial bugs that eat the pests but still leave your plants alone.

Organic Pesticides? What the heck is that?

  • There are mixed reports about this, that is why I prefer to plant to attract beneficial bugs to eat the pests that eat my plants. (This could really open up a can of worms!)

Fungus among us?

  • Yellow leaves on tomato plants can be helped naturally. How to Garden Advice. Com has given great remedies that will help you with that. I could go over all of them, but once you read them, if you have not heard of them before, you will like the natural way to do your healthy organic vegetable gardening. The chemical option just is not for me!

Prepare your soil properly, rotate crops and keep other plant predators away from your garden.

Remember, we are looking to help you create an Organic Garden that will not only feed your customers, but also your family. A healthy Garden does not usually have insect infestations.

If you remember to grow your soil,

it will help you with the plants. One of the best things that we have done to keep our plants healthy and happy, is the use of Marigolds. The strongly scented ones will repel flea beetles when interplanted with eggplant.

Some people believe they also repel root nematodes but I couldn’t tell you if they really do or not. I plant them between my cole crops, (Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, broccoli, turnips and watercress), but I’ve never had a problem with root nematodes, so I don’t know if this does anything. At best they help keep the roots healthy, as worst they improve the look and feel of the garden.

Also if your still having trouble yellow leaves on tomato plants, you can

Click Here

to get our book on “How to Grow Delicious Heirloom Tomatoes”,

and that will help you get started.



Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on