Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Aquaponic Gardening, Get the Scoop!

Aquaponic gardening … what is it and why do we need it?  Aquaponics is an interesting mix of fish … either edible, like tilapia or ornamental like koi … and lush plants to eat or just to enjoy as a cutting garden.

Why we need aquaponics is a serious question, indeed.  Many countries in the world suffer from hunger … the land may not be fertile or they may not have enough of it ... sometimes it is simply a lack of education.  In any event, aquaponics may turn out to be the single most important factor in feeding the world.

In reality, right here in the United States, many people worry about our food sources. Think about all the genetically modified plants and vegetables … not to mention the quality of the soil and the purity of the water used to grow the “store” bought produce that we line up to buy.  This does not even scratch the surface when you start to think about our source of fresh fish!  Can you say BP oil spill?

Imagine now, you could walk right into your very own backyard and harvest nutrient rich organic vegetables to feed your family and then catch a healthy tilapia that you have raised right from your pond.  How good would it make you feel to provide your family’s food for the day?

Aquaponic Gardening is the blissful marriage of fish farming, called aquaculture and Hydroponics, the art of growing plants and vegetables without soil.  In reality, it is a symbiotic relationship … the plants provide Oxygen and use up Carbon dioxide.   All fish make wastes including CO2 which the plants will eventually use up as fertilizer (nutrients)

Water quality is also a key issue in aquaponics and quality water insures the growth of healthy fish and plants.  In addition, there are many factors that go together to create the perfect water environment. These include the proper pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Bacteria levels, Temperature, Oxygen levels and Alkalinity. An imbalance of any one of these factors can cause the water quality to drop to harmful conditions for the fish and/or the plants and your garden will not succeed.

Any farmer knows there is a time to plant and a time to harvest. That time is dictated by the seasons. But we’re talking about feeding your family year round regardless of the time of year. So unless you live in a season-less, tropical climate, you need to place your food-growing system in a protected environment where you control the conditions.

Aquaponics has a low start up and operating cost. Aquaponic systems can be made from low cost simple materials and equipment. It is also very scalable, making it easy to start small and add on to the system later. You can buy a cheap piece of land and get set up with an aquaponics garden for a fraction of what it may cost to buy the fertile land that would only grow a fraction of the food in the same amount of space.

If there was ever a time in history to begin grow your own food … the time is NOW. With all the issues and financial problems in the world … are food shortages a possibility? Aquaponic Gardening is the answer.

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