Monday, July 18, 2011

My First Spirulina Farm!

Like I told Mary Jo, once I flick my "obsess now" switch, things happen and fast. (I better flick it about my front yard weeds!). I looked extensively into methods of culture large and small, nutrients models, and pH limits. I watched a number of YouTubes about spirulina culture and harvest (I LOVE the idea of a permanent coffee filter vs. buying 40 micron cloth). So today I took a very rigid 5 gallon water jug I've had stored a while now, put in 4.5 gallons or so of rain water, then based on what I'd seen I came up with this "seat of the pants" recipe that reminded me of how I make great spaghetti sauce.....but it is never the same I wrote on an index card the nutrients and amounts used for this first effort and will tape it to the bottle, which is on my north facing porch to avoid too high water temps. (If this works it will likely end up on the south side each winter).

To adjust pH and provide nutrients:   1/2 cup baking soda    1/2 cup dolomite

To provide nutrients:  1/8 cup 20-20-20 soluble greenhouse fertilizer, 1/8 cup feed grade urea (for extra nitrogen)  1/8 cup Azomite (for many dozens of trace elements from prehistoric deposits)

32.5 milligram tablet of potassium iodide

I shook it all up, then added 1 level teaspoon of powdered spirulina by 'Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica'....5 oz, for TWENTY DOLLARS that I bought at south Tampa's 'Village Health Market' on MacDill Avenue. Thankfully, they were on-line and let me use their laptop to see what the patented, trademarked 'Ocean Chill Drying' is....very cool! The freshly harvested spirulina is dried at just 40 degrees Farenheit in a CO2/oxygen atmosphere. The other brands did not say HOW their spirulina is dried but my obsessing last night revealed that it can include spray drying into 130 degree air (which I think could kill many cells), simple dehydration, or freeze-drying. So MR. TOTAL TIGHTWAD puckered up and blew the $20 vs. coming home to try to find the same brand cheaper (gotta support local business!) so I could get started today as I am all fired up about this.

I figure I will know in a few days one or more things....was the Spirulina alive?....was my nutrient solution okay (I see over and over that a pH close to 9 is the ideal so next batch, if need be, I will add the 1/2 cup of garden lime I withheld today to see what happens. If all goes well, VERY soon the water will begin to turn green.

I will take pics and/or a video if this first effort works. This is a blast and holds much promise for my south Tampa urban farm.


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