Because gardens, especially vegetable gardens, are needy. You can’t just plant some seeds and walk away until harvest time. Nope. There is the watering, the fertilizing, the watering, the thinning, the watering, the staking, the watering, the pest control, the watering…and did I mention watering the garden?
With all of our summer and warm weather activities it would be nice if there was a way to grow fresh vegetables on auto pilot or inside during the winter when we have more time for more involved projects like gardening. I’ve been thinking about growing vegetables in an aquaponic garden ever since Husband and I saw a display on aquaponics last summer at the Ohio State Fair.
In both hydroponic and aquaponic gardens, the seeds and plants are not planted in traditional soil but some sort of growth medium suspended above a pool or tank of water. We saw examples of plants growing in clay pebbles, stones made from recycled glass, foam baskets, and on a floating raft.
I’m totally geeking out they recycled and DIY’ed most of the items they use to make the aquaponic gardens on display.
- In a hydroponic garden, you will need to add nutrients (liquid fertilizer of some kind) back into the water as the plants remove it from the water in order to grow.
- In an aquaponic garden, you don’t have to add nutrients into the grow water because you have a bunch of little helpers who do that for you – fish in a fish tank!
In aquaponics you build your own little self contained eco system. You feed the fish. The fish eat the food and do what fish do afterward which makes the water in the fish tank too dirty for the fish to live in. You pump the fish poo water to the plant growing tank. The plants just love the nutrients in the fish tank water, soak it up with their roots, grow, and clean the formerly fish poo water to the point where it is too clean for the plants put perfect for the fish to live in so you pump the clean plant water back into the fish tank. All of the gardens we saw had the water pumps continually running in a big ol’ Circle of Life scenario.
They had several example of different styles and sizes of aquaponic gardens depending upon weather you want your garden inside or outside of your house. They had gold fish in the fish tanks but I’m sure you could have other types of fish if you like.
I’m sure you could pretty up something similar to their examples so the neighbors don’t complain about the look in your backyard.
I think this big guy is an example of raising fish to eat in one tank and growing the food to eat with the fish in the other. Pretty slick!
This type of set up would work for us if we had the room because we often eat fish for dinner.
Have you tried hydroponic or aquaponic gardening? How did it go?