First, an update on my sand-based system. I noticed today that the water was collecting on the surface of the sand more than usual. Turns out that an algal mat is forming, and as a result, the water was having a hard time permeating into the sand. This is to be expected, and it's not a big deal. In fact, I think the algae will play an important role in the nutrient cycle for the plants I'm trying to grow. Problem was easily remedied by poking a few holes in the sand using a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe. I imagine I'll have to do that regularly. Luckily, I planned ahead for something like this, and created channels in the sand around the outside of the grow beds for the water to move through. Since I don't plan on planting anything in these channels, I'm not interfering at all with any of my plants by poking holes into the sand.
My pond-based system is cranking along nicely. I'm in full swing in terms of spring veggies. See photos below. I'm particularly excited about the strawberries. They look fantastic, and there look to be a record number of berries on the way. I thought of a new term today for my system: "aquapondics". You heard it here first!
Cilantro in rear (left), arugula in rear (right), spinach in middle, and broccolini on left/right front