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Aquaponics?

So I guess this is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Interesting stuff. I’ve been doing a bit of reading about this lately and it has really got me thinking. Why don’t we grow some vegetables in our ponds? I know, this sounds funny the first time you say it, but hear me out.

Aquaponics is basically growing plants in water and using fish in the water to provide fertilizer for the plants. There can be more to it than that and there are many different ways to do this, but isn’t this what we do already? What makes these aquaponic systems any different from the ponds, wetlands and biofalls boxes that we have in our pond systems? As things stand, we have all sorts of aquatic plants growing in our pond systems. These plants take nutrients out of the water, so they help us control or eliminate the algae in the pond. Great, but why couldn’t we substitute say a tomato plant? In all of the years that I have been landscaping, building ponds, consulting on ponds, fixing ponds and cleaning ponds I have never seen anyone who grew vegetables in their pond.

Here are some links to guys who are selling kits or info to build your own aquaponic setup:
This guy builds it using two tanks, a pump and some fish:Click Here!
This guy has a book and talks about using an aquarium with his system:Click Here!

I haven’t tried any of this, but it seems like all that we would need to do would be to determine just how much water each different type of vegetable would need. Some of these sites show you how to build a plastic tank system with a grid in it to hold the plants and some instruct you to put the plants into floating media that is just like our floating islands that we used to sell at the store. There are many different ways to do it, but basically they are circulating water past and through the roots of these plants. Our ponds, wetlands, biofalls boxes and floating islands are doing that already. We don’t need piping, tanks or pumps, we already have all of that. We just need to figure out what will grow where.

I can’t believe that no one that I know has come up with this sooner. I’ve even seen a aquaponics display when I was at Disney land with my kids and it didn’t occur to me that I could do it with my pond. It took me looking at some of these home-made systems that people are putting together online to realize that these are just like our ponds. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m going to try this out this summer. Let me know if you have any success with this crazy idea.

Doug

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