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Duckweed- No Going Back

June 3, 2013

There were some days this spring when I wondered what the heck I was thinking when I took on the challenge of growing duckweed commercially. Ticks, poison ivy, the rather pissy 5 ft long unidentified snake that crosses my path every couple of days, allergy attacks when I least expect it, sunburn, atrophied muscles suddenly charged with hefting 50 pound buckets of duckweed, bootstrap mentality in a high dollar commercial climate,  a kitchen-turned-laboratory to the point that my kids will not enter it, and “duckweed yada yada” to where even my most patient adult children run the opposite direction when they see me coming.

Now for the reasons I can’t see life any other way: duckweed’s intense beauty on my ponds,  that sudden jolt of “WOW” when I see excellent growth almost overnight because I FINALLY got it right, drinking in the smell of honeysuckle as I float along on Yaught in the early mornings, a pickup load of fresh duckweed ready for solar drying, and lastly,  an ice-cold beer after a productive day of product formulations and all samples are tucked away, solar drying nicely.

This marks a turning point for me. I always joked about what I’d do if duckweed doesn’t pan out. Perhaps I’d own a fleet of beat-up  ice cream trucks (500% mark up isn’t shabby) or that scary job at Walmart where you simply stock shelves all night with headphones on.

No, I am all about duckweed from here on. Hope you will like my forth-coming product line because your pets will probably like them as much as mine do and you will be able to feel good about something so simple, so pure, and so sustainable in their diets. Right?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. mohamed farghaly permalink
    June 7, 2013 6:43 am

    Hello I’m happy to be here and respect you.I’m from Egypt and this is the first initiative in Egypt . This Bond has been done for the purpose of trade to dry to feed the tilapia and Gold Fish. I apologize because I’m not good at English. Cattle manure fertilization 4 cubic meters per acre. Protein, 23% carbohydrates, 42%

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  2. mohamed farghaly permalink
    June 6, 2013 8:53 pm

    Like

    • June 6, 2013 9:38 pm

      Beautiful!!! What are you using for fertilizer? Where are you located? I’m grinning like mad. Thanks for sharing this and congrats on a healthy stand of duckweed. Love your pond configuration.

      Like

  3. June 6, 2013 8:31 pm

    Buyers, not yet. I’m currently doing marketing studies. Will be ready for a sales campaign in July. I just got back from my test pond where I roped my teenagers into helping weed and tidy up- am setting up an educational booth in front of it with production samples for the general public tomorrow through Saturday. Supposed to be 500 people at my friend’s farm- a yearly fund-raiser for St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital. Already campers are showing up. There’ll be an auction, food, bands, kids running around with water balloons, all against a backdrop of a crazy-looking pond covered with green duckweed. Will take pics! The solar dryer is going to be assembled on Monday. Have all the parts now- just need the time.
    You all want to be in on my webinar tomorrow at 11:00am Central? Will be describing how to bioprospect for duckweed in your area. Let me know via tamraf9@gmail.com

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  4. Susan Munroe permalink
    June 6, 2013 12:51 pm

    I was thinking about the drying of it, and remembered a package of clear plastic I bought years ago. It had slits all over it to vent moisture and excess heat, and was shown draped over some hoops. I don’t know if it is even available now, but if you liked the idea, you could put slits in it with a box or Exacto knife yourself.

    I thought I would mention it to you, just in case something about it gave you an idea how to improve or speed up the drying part of your operation.

    Have you got any buyers set up yet?

    I’m glad you’re “paddling” right along on your project, and obsession be dammed!

    Sue

    Like

    • May 16, 2014 7:15 am

      You’ve really captured all the esetnsials in this subject area, haven’t you?

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  5. June 4, 2013 10:18 pm

    Depending on the species, I solar dry it either in full sun or ventilated under shade. In the past, I’ve oven dried samples of it but as that is extremely energy-intense, prefer to use the sun whenever possible.

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  6. mohamed farghaly permalink
    June 4, 2013 9:16 pm

    explain to us how it dries

    Like

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