by John Musser (series)
Be sure not to miss one of these articles in this series. I have consulted the leading exerts in the industry plus I am sharing our own experiences with small backyard Aquaponics systems. You can sign up here to make sure you will get all my future posts in this important series.
Is it possible for every man, woman, and child to grow 100% pure, organic food in a very small footprint using just fish, water, an air pump and a growing medium? Oh, yes! Many are doing it globally with great success. But this craze is proving to be more than just that, as necessity rises and grocery store foods become more toxic.
From one small 15 X 20 footprint, Teresa (my wife) and I eat all winter till late June every day 2-3 times a day from a system we have developed in our greenhouse. That’s a small area for a lot of food! We also like to grow food in raised beds in the warmer months. We combine Aquaponics with shallow bed gardening and get all the food we need in the cooler months.
We all need a “little guidance” from people who have a history of success.
The problem is that some people don’t want to go through the necessary process and would rather cut in line, so to speak. It doesn’t work that way with aquaponics – just as you need to learn the ABC’S before you write, you must learn the ABC’S of aquaponics before you really grow CONSISTENTLY! Maybe people can rush to get a small system up and going by planting some lettuce but what about food that produces entire meals. It’s possible with some learning, practice and patience.
This is how I see it:
1. You must be willing to invest the time in learning and becoming familiar with the basic fundamentals of different systems. You are in luck as we are sharing many of these now through this series!
2. You need to know the terms used in this field of science such as: Media that is natural and non decomposing, LECA , beneficial microbes, cycling and seeding a system, establishing a nitrogen cycle, ammonia levels, BSA, water flow, etc.
3. You must learn how to test, detect and adjust your system for optimum results. You must remain alert. For example: It is vital that you learn when to add plants for optimal growth, when to add fish or take them away, as well as the feeding rate for aquaponics systems (be careful here) and how to pH up or down. Don’t be discouraged, you can learn it! But you need to know these things to go beyond the basic production of lettuces.
You must also be aware of what it takes to make your system work as a whole, such as:
- Happy fish: Oxygen and water quality, good protein — food.
- Happy Bacteria: Plenty of food and time to establish themselves and colonize, good substrate, no chemicals, right temperatures.
- Happy plants: Good root drainage, plenty of nutrients and a well balanced aquaponics system.
4. And finally, as I always share, find a good mentor with a history of success who knows how to help you with the system you need whether it is a backyard system, low cost, medium-sized, or a full blown commercial system.
We specialize in the backyard and low-cost systems. In fact, we can take aquaponics a little further as we look to serve the everyday aqua-enthusiast, those with fixed incomes or living by the budget.
Aquaponics is worth investing time and money into because you can grow food almost anywhere. People are turning basements into food factories, producing enough for themselves and their families. But let’s do it right the first time if we can.
Yours for sustainability,
PS. Make sure you read all my articles related to this series as they are connected and explain one another, sign up here to receive notifications of all new articles in your inbox. You may un-subscribe anytime!
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