The LPS Pilot Project Photo Gallery

Be part of our journey and watch us grow!

Click on the photos to read our amazing story and see for yourself what a difference a balanced, sustainable approach can make!

A diverse garden

A diverse garden

The last three years have been an amazing journey! Come follow us as we embarked on this project and see for yourself the amazing results!

It began with a 250 gallon reservoir

It began with a 250 gallon reservoir

After some early trials, it quickly became apparent that we were going to need a space to test our ideas, so a plan was hatched and we got to work on our greenhouse.

Starting on level ground

Starting on level ground

A soild foundation

A soild foundation

We decided to give the greenhouse a full floor so that we could better control the conditions inside. Plus it gave us space to run plumbing ect!

A roof in the making

A roof in the making

Building the roof on the ground made it easier to install the glazing.

Time to raise the roof!

Time to raise the roof!

A long days work

A long days work

Although it looks here like we were done in a single day, the construction actually lasted a couple of weeks with days often stretching well into the evening.

A greenhouse is born (almost)

A greenhouse is born (almost)

From the beginning, wherever possible all materials used were salvaged and repurposed, or purchased from the restore in order to support habitat for humanity and help keep construction waste from our landfills.

Plumbing time!

Plumbing time!

Extensive lengths were taken to ensure that water use was optimized with extensive recirculation systems.

Time for some planting!

Time for some planting!

Off to a good start!

Off to a good start!

Getting drain tables in

Getting drain tables in

System control!

System control!

Computers are a must in this day and age, and having one in the greenhouse gives us a great deal of control over our automated systems.

Automatic climate controls

Automatic climate controls

heating, cooling, humidity and irrigation systems are all automated and monitored 24 hrs a day.

Lining the pond

Lining the pond

Aquatic garden, check!

Aquatic garden, check!

An aquatic garden provides crucial habitat for numerous beneficial insects

The glow of nursery lights

The glow of nursery lights

A home for the Gasifier

A home for the Gasifier

We built an additional shed to house our gasifier so that we could insure that adequate ventilation and fire isolation measures could be met.

The biomass gasifier

The biomass gasifier

This is our biomass gasifier. by gasifying our excess biomass, we are able to produce a clean burning fuel for heating and power generation while also creating carbon sequestering biochar for use in our soil.

Clean burning

Clean burning

The nice blue colour of the flame shows just how clean this fuel can be!

Chateau d'ladybug

Chateau d'ladybug

Chateau d'ladybug

Chateau d'ladybug

We built this cozy little terrarium as a hatching nursery for ladybug eggs as we find them around the greenhouse.

Getting the plants in

Getting the plants in

Irrigation system

Irrigation system

We set up irrigation lines to each pot insuring that each plant received equal amounts of water and nutrients.

Taking measures

Taking measures

We also installed measuring tape on each beam to give us a visual reference for monitoring growth rates

Seedlings

Seedlings

We start many more plants than we can use to ensure we have plenty to choose from, and we donate what we don't use.

Comparing results

Comparing results

Different growing mediums including promix and coco coir are evaluated side by side to determine the substrates effect on plant health

Testing the soil

Testing the soil

Early results

Early results

Within only a week of transplanting, the corn in the Balance bac. medium was showing signs of more vigorous growth compared against the promix HP.

Higher yields in less time

Higher yields in less time

The end result saw the corn on the right, grown in Balance bac.,maturing 30% sooner than the corn in the promix AND producing a roughly 30% heavier harvest by weight over that grown in promix.

Healthy roots!

Healthy roots!

Despite being watered directly with unfiltered lake water that is known to harbour oomycetes, seedlings grow healthy and vibrant root systems, as they are protected from pathogen attacks by the rich diversity of soil organisms present in the liquid extracted from our O.O.R.B.S. system.

Hyphae!

Hyphae!

Here we see an example of the strong mycorrhizal associations that we have been seeing as a result of our approach. Seeds started using the techniques developed during this project rapidly develop strong mutualistic relationships, reducing germination times while greatly improving success rates.

Roots!

Roots!

Waited a bit too long to transplant this corn, but it gives us an opportunity to see just how healthy the roots are.

Potatoes!

Potatoes!

There were so many potatoes in this little 3 gallon pot that it nearly burst open!

It's Alive!

It's Alive!

Of course at the end of the day, it's the plants that really tell the story!

Fiji Gold hardy Hibiscus

Fiji Gold hardy Hibiscus

Luna Rose Hibiscus

Luna Rose Hibiscus

Double Red Tropical Hibiscus

Double Red Tropical Hibiscus

Fuchsia Magellanica

Fuchsia Magellanica

20160626_115550

20160626_115550

Aphids!

Aphids!

Of course with all this growth, pests are inevitable, but rather that attempting to eliminate them through the use of sprays, our approach is to manage them through environmental controls. The goal is to find a balance point where the plants natural defences can keep the pests in check.

Here comes the Cavalry!

Here comes the Cavalry!

As part of their defense mechanisms, plants send out powerful chemical messengers to attract predators, so it isn't long before the greenhouse is crawling with an amazing assortment of beneficial insects. Here we see three different species of ladybug; Seven Spotted, Three Banded, and Polished all looking for a tasty aphid.

Cozy Seven spotted

Cozy Seven spotted

A Seven spotted seems to have made itself right at home in the hibiscus

Friendly three banded

Friendly three banded

All the insects in the greenhouse seem to quickly become very comfortable with our presence.

A growing population

A growing population

Of course with plenty of food around and a good habitat, the predator populations quickly grow.

Ladybug Eggs!

Ladybug Eggs!

these are ladybug eggs that are just hatching. Although we usually try and protect the eggs in our nursery, mommy ladybug sometimes lays her eggs in strange places.

Ladybug larvae gallore!

Ladybug larvae gallore!

A clutch of hatchlings emerges as a small orb weaver looks on.

Seven spotted larvae

Seven spotted larvae

Just like the adults, ladybug larvae have distinct markings unique to their subspecies, but these can be much more subtle and may change several times before finally reaching adult hood.

Dinner Time

Dinner Time

Although Adult ladybugs eat a significant amount of aphids on their own, it is the larvae have the greatest impact on pest populations as they need to eat their body weight in prey every day.

Getting Fat!

Getting Fat!

this larvae has eaten well and will soon be getting ready to become an adult.

Ladybug Pupa

Ladybug Pupa

This is a Ladybug Pupa. When a larvae is ready to become an adult it builds a pupa to keep itself safe while it undergoes it's transformation.

Mealybug Destroyer larvae

Mealybug Destroyer larvae

The shear diversity of ladybug species alone that have found their way into our greenhouse is truly astonishing! Here we see a Mealybug destroyer larvae.

Painted lady beetle

Painted lady beetle

This little guy, all covered in pollen, is a painted lady beetle. We have also seen spider mite destroyers, two spotted, convergent, and pink ladybugs just to name a few. And all this in a greenhouse that is just 10 feet wide by 16 feet long!

Unknown Ladybug

Unknown Ladybug

Occasionally we even get species we simply cannot identify!

Unknown ladybug2

Unknown ladybug2

So far this little guy has proved very difficult to identify. Although similar to a few other ladybugs, certain features don't match up with the ones we are aware of.

Unknown ladybug 3

Unknown ladybug 3

in some ways it is similar to an inverted two spotted, but the colouration is wrong. Although hard to see in the pictures this ladybug is a dark woody brown, and it's markings are a pale orange compared to the black and red of a two spotted.

Unknown Ladybug 4

Unknown Ladybug 4

In addition it's pronotum pattern does not match an inverted two spotted, nor does it match any of the harlequin ladybugs which can sometimes have similar but not exact markings.

Unidentified Ladybug 5

Unidentified Ladybug 5

In many ways it is reminiscent of some hyperaspis species, but so far we have been unable to find a match. If anyone can identify this one we'd love to hear from you!

Pseudoscorpion

Pseudoscorpion

Of course ladybugs aren't the only predator to make a home in our greenhouse. A myriad of other creatures have also found their way in and now play a role in the ecosystem. This is a pseudoscorpion. this scary looking little guy is a type of arachnid and is in fact quite harmless, at least to you and me,but if you're a booklice, ant, mite, or small fly you better lookout!

Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing

This amazing insect is so effective at controlling pests it is often referred to as the gardeners dear old friend.

Brown Lacewing

Brown Lacewing

This is a close cousin of the Green Lacewing, but slightly smaller with more of a taste for mites and thrips.

Snakeflies

Snakeflies

These odd looking insects have barely changed since the early jurassic period (140 million years ago)! also closely related to lacewings they represent yet another very effective predator.

Damselfly

Damselfly

Also a truly ancient insect; damselflies have found our small aquatic pond an ideal place to reproduce and have been incredibly effective at keeping the greenhouse mosquito free.

Sweat bee

Sweat bee

This little sweat bee is one of a number of very docile, solitary bee species that call our greenhouse home. As their name suggests, these brightly coloured bees like the taste of sweat, which is probably why this one is so fond of my hand!

Mites on a wood louse

Mites on a wood louse

A good soil should be full of life and by the look of this poor fungus eating wood louse, there is no shortage here! These mites are fast moving and effective generalist predators. the young will hitch a ride on unsuspecting soil dwelling arthropods like this woodlouse. Although they rarely kill their ride, they do feed by sucking nourishment from joints between the armour of their host.

Crab spider

Crab spider

A brightly coloured ambush predator, it waits with it's front limbs open like a spring loaded trap. Should a fly get too close... snap!

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

Hoverflies or more properly, syrphid flies, are easily one of the most important grounds of insects on the planet! with thousands of different subspecies, hoverflies can be incredibly diverse in form, but are almost always characterized by the way they seem to hover like a helicopter around flowers and they will often mimic the appearance of bees. Which is appropriate as they are second only to bees as a pollinator, and many species of flower can only be pollinated by it's respective hoverfly.

Hoverfly

Hoverfly

Hoverfly Larva

Hoverfly Larva

In addition to being important pollinators, Syrphid flies also play a vital role in pest management. While the adults of many species feed mainly on pollen, the larvae are often voracious predators, preying on aphids, thrips, and other plant-sucking insects. This is definitely one insect you want to see in your garden! You can attract them by planting an assortment of brightly coloured flowers throughout your garden, but they do tend to have a preference for yellow flowers.

The great outdoors

The great outdoors

Of course, it's one thing to see results in a greenhouse where we have a high degree of control over nearly every aspect of the environment, but for this approach to be truly viable it needs to work out in the real world. So, in addition to the greenhouse we have our outdoor growing spaces where we test and compare various approaches.

Fast results

Fast results

To test the effects of Balance Bac. as a soil amendment, we tilled it into the top 3 inches of the soil on left side of the garden, and to insure that we weren't just seeing the benefits of increased organic material, the entire garden was first covered in 4 inches of top quality gardening soil and tilled with premium garden compost. The results speak for themselves, as you can see here, the plants on the side with Balance Bac. quickly pulled ahead of the plants on the right.

Jungle

Jungle

The combination of good soil and nourishment from the O.O.R.B.S. DIGESTER quickly transforms the small garden into a back yard Jungle!

Tomato bush!

Tomato bush!

Red Russian kale

Red Russian kale

Just one plant!

Corn

Corn

Sunflower power!

Sunflower power!

Zucchini

Zucchini

But at the real story is the amazing harvests! so far we've fund that fruits and vegetables are larger sweeter and more plentiful when grown using our unique and sustainable approach.

Juicy tomatoes

Juicy tomatoes

Plump blueberries!

Plump blueberries!

The unique properties of Balance Bac. allow us to grow amazing blueberries in soil with a neutral ph!

Raspberries!

Raspberries!

The raspberry bushes are so productive that we literally can not harvest them as fast as they grow!

Crisp, sweet green peppers!

Crisp, sweet green peppers!

More to come!

More to come!

This has been just a small sample of our amazing journey so far, and we're not done yet! Check back frequently as we add more photos documenting our results, and see for yourself what a difference working with nature can make!

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