Build an Aquaponic Garden
The Aquaponic Garden can Change Society
If we could grow our own vegetables at home, we'd be so much more self sufficient. If we did not have to rely on companies to truck in food from other states or even other countries, we would be able to save ourselves money while consuming fruits and vegetables that are properly ripened.
This is a basic Aquaponic System. You want to feed your plants with the water that comes from a fish tank. The waste the fish make feeds your plants. If you have a little more money, you can put the tank on the bottom and buy a pump to feed the water to your plants. This can make the whole thing automated. The only problem with making something like this automated is if you do not check on it on a regular basis, if something goes wrong, the whole system can die. This means you should at least look at your system at least once per day.
Aquaponic Examples - People Like to Record Their Progress
It is amazing what people are able to do with a few tubs, a water pump and some fish. I was able to find all kinds of inforation on the web and mostly YouTube about Aquaponics. If you have any questions, you will be able to find the answer somewhere around there. Take a few minutes to see what these people did to grow successful Aquaponic Gardens.
I personally like the videos that show a sequence where you can watch the crops grow over the course of the season. It tends to show the success and determination of the gardener. There is a dedication there that is awesome.
Types of Aquaponic Systems
There Are Several Different Ways You Can Do This
There are a wide range of different systems you can grow in your yard.
Deep Flow / Floating System - Easiest system you can make. Use an aquarium and a fishtank. float a peice of styrofoam with a pot of clay chips and your seed in it. The fish swim in the water and the plant gets fed. You may have to put a separator in the tank to keep the plants from eating your roots.
Ebb & Flow System - Pump on a timer that fills your pots with water. There is a drain and an overflow to keep the water within the system. when the timer shuts off, the water drains from the pots
Media Flow System - You will have a medium that will hold onto the water over time. Most people use a kind of clay balls that absorb the water, but do not desentegrate because of the water. You will use a series of pumps and drains to get the water from the fish tank into the grow bed and then back out again, back into the fish tank.
Tower or Gutter System - You can use a pump to create a continuous flow of water to run to the top of a series of pots with your plants in them, or use a gutter system that flows downward as you pump the water to the top. This can be treated as an Ebb and Flow system or a Media Flow System.
Books About Aquaponics - You Should Have One of These on Your Bookshelf
If you are serious about anything, you should have books on the subject. That goes for auquaponics as well. There are so many aspects to this type of gardening; so many different ways you can do it. It is great to have that information at your fingertips. It can be difficult to take your internet connection outside where your grow box is located.
Cheap Aquarium System - Probably the Cheapest Way to Go
All You need is an Aquarium, a piece of Styrofoam, a few mini pots, and aerator and a grow light. Fill up the Aquarium with water and fish, feed them and let your plants clean the water. If you use goldfish, they may eat your plants. You will want to put some kind of divider in the tank to keep them away from the plants.
You can use a windowsill as your light source, but feel free to have a UV light bulb shining down on your plants. I am all for making things cheap as possible. The sun is super cheap. Sometimes that is not possible though depending where your available windows might be situated.
More than Just Food
I have only seen people raise two types of fish in their Aquaponic systems. I am sure you can grow just about any fish you would like. Most people tend to use either:
Gold Fish who are great scavengers. They will eat just about anything you throw in your tank. Be careful though, they will also eat the plants you are trying to grow. You will want to separate the fish from the plants.
Tilapia are great to grow in a small amount of water. I think you can grow one for every gallon and a half you have in your tank. They don't mind living in close quarters and they are great to eat.
You Also Need a Pump - If Your Not Using a Floating System
There has to be a way to get the water from the tank to the plants. An electric pump is the easiest way to make this happen. It does use electricity. You can either buy one that plugs into a wall or one that uses solar cells to get the job done. Each option has their pros and cons.
If you go with a solar Pump, you may find that it lacks the power you need to get the water from one tank to the next. But because it is solar, you are not drawing power from the grid. Is this really saving you money. It depends on how much you spent on the solar powered option. Will it pay for itself before it wears out. That is the question.
Build a Light Weight System
You Don't Need a Lot to Create Your Own Aquaponics System
This is a simple garden built from some scrap pieces of lumber. There are two tubs on top and a ten gallon fish tank on the bottom. This example has goldfish below. and a small water pump that is sending the water up to the buckets on top. If you have a bit of scrap lumber, a tank or two and a water pump, you can build something similar to this in a weekend.
Videos about Hydroponics - Some people confuse Hydroponics with Aquaponics
There are no Fish in Hydroponics. Some of the biggest growers use hydroponics to grow crops like lettuce. It is amazing to see how efficient these processes are. I like watching how they push each tray into the water and the previous trays move along in sequence.