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Lemna Farm Is Now in Operation

April 10, 2013

I’m sunburned and worn out, but totally happy with what I’ve accomplished on my first day of running a lemna farm. It’s not like my past experiences of growing duckweed in kiddie pools. This requires me being outdoors with lots of physical activity.  More than I am used to.  Note to self- get some sun block!

Today I did some wind studies with duckweed samples on my first pond. Then I unloaded a heaping pickup load of manure in a holding bin near my ponds.  (Thanks David and Patty!) Gotta get some muck boots and work gloves. This job is not for the faint of heart. Then I did a closer inspection of the teeming pond water life that has sprung up almost overnight now that the weather is warm. I was delighted to see that Wolffia has made its appearance in one of the ponds. Wolffia  is my favorite duckweed species. It’s the smallest and looks like green Cream of Wheat floating on the water.  (only smaller) I’m seeding that pond with Lemna minor and know that as the summer progresses, one will come to dominate the pond and then the other will take its turn as the weather changes. It’s all good.

To celebrate  my new discover and the fact that I didn’t have a heart attack from unloaded all that manure, I went fishing for a couple of hours.  Years ago, these were stocked ponds and I’ve been concerned that there might be some surviving fish. As many species will eat duckweed, the last thing I want to worry about is having fish eat my duckweed faster than it can grow initially. Sort of hoped I could catch a few for our supper. Had a few nibbles but didn’t catch anything. I have a sneaking suspicion that those nibbles were the work of snapping turtles as I caught one sizing me up, only a foot away from my boat. This fellow had a head the size of my fist and its shell was at least  20 inches long. I”ve seen bigger in zoos, but it freaked  me out with its point blank stare from bulging eyes. I had visions of it clambering up and taking a chunk out of my foot. Thankfully, the snapper slipped back down under the water and I watched it trail off, green algae streaming like a watery mane from its shell and neck.

Don’t know which will eat more duckweed- fish or turtles. Don’t know how bad the deer ticks are going to be. Don’t know if I’ll have enough trees to block the wind from pushing duckweed around. Don’t know what it is going to be like when it hits 100 degrees in July.  I DO know that I am up for the challenge. It’s going to be an interesting summer.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2013 6:56 am

    Congratulations from the Lowlands! Good luck to your operation. And as Hamdi said, looking forward to the pictures.


  2. Susan Munroe permalink
    April 11, 2013 3:01 pm

    So you’re using real ponds instead of kiddie pools! OKAY!

    What’s the manure for, dumping into the ponds as a duckweed nutrient source? Was there any duckweed growing in those ponds to begin, or are you having to seed them? I find it hard to imagine there wasn’t any, down there in the warmer country.

    How do you plan to harvest it?

    Good luck with the plan, it sounds like you’ll be doing great.



  3. hamdi shaar permalink
    April 11, 2013 12:26 am

    Congratulations on starting your large scale duckweed operation. Hope to see some good snapshots of it soon. And may your uncertainties be replaced with blossoming success.


    • April 11, 2013 8:46 am

      Thanks,Hamdi. Yes, time will tell on all variables and luckily, there is a way around everything. I think I also got a bit of poison ivy as well, walking around the shore line. Oh well, if I didn’t come in contact with it there, I probably did at my own home. It’s everywhere.


  4. April 10, 2013 11:08 pm

    Hey there sweet friend…
    I really think you are such a genius… you inspire me and amaze me with all of your talents. Let’s do lunch soon. 🙂
    Love ya!


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