Well I've been watching my seedlings grow for some time now and we've had some unseasonably chilly days, although none below freezing, and now it is past the normal time where you risk a freeze so today we deployed the Summer 2010 float system. The idea is simple enough build a simple float system in a kiddie pool and put the plants in it. The kiddie pool is only a little over three feet in diameter, I cut the floats (actually Jessica did the cutting) 34" in diameter and the center region is about six inches in diameter. Because the pool is larger at the top than the bottom the float has a lot of lateral movement when the pool is full.
STEP 1 put down a pad with concrete tiles (we did this because we had the tiles from another project, generally I'd just put it on the ground but this was nicer.).
STEP 2 was to cut the floats out of 4'x2' pieces of 2" thick Styrofoam. That was very easy. We cut them to a diameter of 34", each a 17" radius using a marker and a string as a jury-rig compass. The cut a hole in the center for the waterfall.
That was pretty easy. You can see the pump with the water feature in the center. The idea is to splash some water back into the pool to oxygenate the water. We'll see how well that works by how well the plants thrive.
STEP 3 was to drill holes in the Styrofoam which wasn't too hard but you had to come at it from both sides because the Styrofoam was thicker than the hole cutter. A nail to line it up from the other side solved that problem. So "Vala!" then dropped little plants from my stash in little plastic cups with the bottom mostly cut out so the roots could escape into the nutrient. Then I brought the conductivity up to a CF=14 since the plants are still young. I'll adjust that in future, and here's the finished system.