How nice would it be if you can walk just outside your back door and have more than just a mini herb garden. You can harvest fresh greens that are still living. No need to pull even the whole head. Just enough to meet your needs? Or perhaps you have more space and a beautiful patio or backyard that you would be able to grow a mini farmers market? Or maybe you are fortunate enough to live in a community that has an urban garden and shares the work and results of the backyard with its community?
Urban gardens are fantastic ways for your local community to get together and become a real part of the community where you might learn and share valuable experience and helping your local community. We here at Genesis Clock Farm are big supporters for local farms and urban gardens. You can also grow enough to become a member of a co-op market and sell your extra vegetables for some extra cash! This style of gardening gives not just you a healthy alternative for yourself but others too!
When we started the gardening as a hobby, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves involved in. As we learned more about it, we found a solution that was able to produce volumes of food over traditional means in small spaces. Most of the time we mention we are working on Aquaponics farming we get a weird or odd response from folks. It seems that though it's been around for eons in nature, most farmers and folks have never heard of it. The recent implementations of Aquaponics are just getting started and are making their way into a new farming culture that I think anyone can do even in their kitchen. You can spend unlimited hours searching Youtube to get great advice from folks all over the world. Seeing the successes and some of the many challenges in the many Youtube video we are finding this model of raising crops pretty exciting. When chatting up folks on the topic, they do have some questions and concerns. Researching and training with training from some of the best in the industry and experience in running our systems ourselves, we are finding this fantastic alternative to traditional gardening. Maybe it is the tranquil sound of flowing water, or it is the enjoyment of watching the fish swimming around and getting excited when it's time for a meal. It could also be that we put seed in the media bed and two days later the seeds have sprouted. Touted that many of the produce you grow can typical grow considerably faster (five times) and planted far denser than your typical garden are a few reason why this might be the way of future gardening and farming. Oh, yeah, it also uses 98% less water over a typical garden as the systems is an ecosystem that recirculates the water. Might be important to mention especially in this drought!!!
How do we get into this? It seems if you do a search on Youtube you will find over 333,000 results (think that search hit limit youtube). There is pretty much a topic on every aspect of the solution. How to setup a system, progress reports, how to's, the different types there are, automation and it just goes on and on. I want to think that the trend is not a farmer going into aquaponics but regular folks that enjoy tinkering and like to garden. This solution allows one to think outside the box and to create a natural ecosystem to produce life. I have to admit It is a better than that beta fish or the lucky bamboo that might be sitting at your desk.
Searching online and heading to the local hardware stores you get much of the basic plumbing and containers you will need to start this project. There is only so many videos you can sit through before you have to tell yourself it is time to build one. My first suggestion. Don't over think it or run out and buy a pre-made system. There are many out there. They will cost you a lot of money. It will get setup, and when it fails, you will be extremely disenchanted by the experience and likely never try again as you might not completely understand all the core parts that make up this closed loop system. Our suggestion is to try and build the system yourself maybe with friends or neighbors with off the shelf products as inexpensively as possible. The important piece to this is the fish, media and plants you decide to grow, dang. One more huge matter! That water and the nutrients and maintenance. It has to be maintained, and the setup should be designed to fit your wants and needs. The simple rule of thumb is a 1 to 1 ratio. That works out as a gallon of water to a gallon to where it will be displaced to and recirculated. Even one of the most simple setups can setup in a few hours. A food grade 55 gal water barrel, sharp blade, small water pump, bulkhead, valve, tubing, media, water and some power tools. Under 100 bucks you can start creating your food. At least that is what the one of the videos seen on youtube noted. I have to admit. I didn't create my first system that way. I am a geek and pretty much tackled a CHOP 2 design that was pioneered by Murry Hallam at Practical Aquaponics. I had a bit more time on my hands as being out of work and getting pretty excited about a project I can put my power tools to use. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or get wet. You will be working with a system you create from the same varieties of ideas of others.
Well, our units are going into overdrive. We have learned and continue to learn how to handle and grow our vegetables in our aquaponic units. We have so much growing and just to think we started this all as a fun experiment! We produce enough food in our garden to provide for our family and to also share with family and neighbors. we now provide all the greens necessary to feed three families of four each comfortably...even with our extremely limited space!!!
We've learned how to turn anything that may what seems like a hurdle to most people into our advantage by using our imagination and working with Mother Nature.
Our Rainbow Trout are about 12-16 inches long and weigh about a pound and a half now and our Tilapia we got as hatchlings (smaller than minnows)are about 8 inches long and are growing really fast!!!
We are harvesting spinach (many different kinds), lettuce, cilantro, cucumbers, basil and snow peas in our indoor unit and ruby red chard, bok choy, celery, watercress, green onions, cabbage and parsley in our outdoor units (the radishes are almost ready).
Our nectarine is doing great in the hydroton and is almost reached the same height as the same the we purchased a year earlier in soil. We water everything in our soil garden with the fish waste from the filters in our pumps and that provides all the nutrients for the vegetables in the soil!!! This also introduces great bacteria into your soil which brings the soil back to life (the girls have helped too by breaking up the soil for us in a natural way)!!
We have been and will continue to be successful in this area. We are passionate about healthy living and leaving something positive for future generations so they may be able to solve the serious health issues facing the world today which has been linked directly to the foods we eat.With the water shortage this system gives you a great feeling of being a part of saving our limited supply of water since you will not flush the water out of the system.
Sustainable Living, Education, Aquaponics and Small Living
Get your recipe books out and be creative!
Plants get the benefits of the fish which is delivered in the form of Nitrates NO3, then back to the fish tank
Plants in NFT, DWC, media beds and/or wicking beds
Fish feed &
Another great benefit... knowing it takes 98% less water to produce this feast vs traditional farming
Feast on a healthy dinner you know where it came from
Plant and animal matter produce Ammonium NH4 which produce nitrites NO2