We collected two varieties of blackberries from our fields, blue elderberries from down the road, blueberries and raspberries from the orchard and our first hops harvest.

All of the berries produced a good amount this year and the first year hops did much better than I expected.

Out of the seven varieties we started the Liberty produced the smallest amount of flowers.

We harvested the hops just before we got some rain and air dried them in a hanging mesh container.

We transferred them to the house to finish drying since it was pretty humid outside.

I was having a hard time getting the Aquaponics system pH from staying too acidic. Normally we just add a few mesh bags of oyster shell and the system is self regulating over long periods of time. We occasionally wash the oyster shell and place it back in the system when the pH starts lowering again, maybe once every four to six months.

We add new oyster shell only about every other year. This time the usual washing and adding new shells was not helping and I was at a bit of a loss as to why. Along with other maintenance I cleaned out one of the radial filters (basically a 50 gallon settling barrel between fish tanks) at about the same time. The pH immediately started rising back up. Apparently the amount of sludge accumulating in the bottom of the barrel was causing the pH to drop. After cleaning the second filter the pH came back up to its normal reading (typically 6.6 0r 6.7).

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