We just put 700,000 spat into our upweller this week. They are around 2 millimeters, the size of a grain of sand. The first batch has grown by 50% in one week and we’ll do a volumn on the second next week. We intend to put 1.2 million spat into this nursery system this year in order to boost our production of market oysters 18 months from now.
The creek, Widow’s Hole, where this nursery system resides, is already 65 degrees and there’s five days left in May. Out in the Atlantic, there’s been two named storms and hurricane season doesn’t begin until June. Actually, it’s humid and subtropical outside right now. Hurricanes are always a big threat, but I can’t worry about that now.
Rate of growth for an oyster is a linear function determined by rate of flow and density of algae. The creek is thick with algae, so by connecting the spat to a pumping system, we augment their growth significantly. Usually, by mid September, all this spat, or the roughly 60% that survive will be over 25 millimeters, an inch, and out in bags and cages in the bay. We’re fortunate to have this protected creek to house the upwellers and also lucky that our plot about our house and property. We burn next to no gas a month, maybe $20, and have the ability to use the bay to dry and clean the oysters.
Isabel had a bad night Wednesday, when she discovered the pump in the system had failed. Over the telephone from NYC, I walked her through installing our back-up pump. It too had a short and hard to connected to outlets 150 feet away by extension cords. Then, at 2 am whe went back out to repostion the pump properly. Had to ever leave a farm of any type.
Still not delivering into the city because I’m not happy with the size and heft of our 2 year olds. I suppose we so many last Fall and wingter that there were only very small ones left. At the rate the bay is heating up, the water will reach 70 degrees in about three weeks and the animals will spawn. They loose about 30% of their body mass in that process, so they will then be thin again.
But by September they will be brutes and ready for the table. So we’ll concentrate on growing the spat and fixing up the place this summer. Of course, the 15 month olds all have to be cleaned and sorted again in July. I’m going to put fans out by the sorter to keep us cool and blow away the biting gnats.