Changing climate patterns are making backyard aquaponics look better and better.
Aquaponic systems require time and money to set up, but have very distinct advantages:
- Super low water usage
- Super low electricity usage
- Low maintance
- No watering, no irrigation systems
- Fish production as a by product
- Organic if not, it will kill the system
- Compact and easy to enclose for year round gardening
How Does Aquaponic Gardening Work?
Aquaponic gardening works by growing plants in water, similar to hydroponics. Hydroponics uses human made chemicals to supply plants with all the minerals and nutrients they need.
Aquaponics uses fish and a bacterial community to supply the plants with the minerals and nutrients (nitrogen) they need.
Basically water is circulated from a fish tank to a plant bed and back. This circulating system provides everything the plants need. All that is required is to feed the fish.
Since aquaponic systems tend to be very compact, they can easily be enclosed or set up in a greenhouse.
I wont go into any more detail about aquaponics here. If you want to know more, search the web and Youtube.
But I do have one suggestion for you.
My friend Arturo of Clean Food Solutions, just published this aquaponics manual. Its a great guide to getting started, with specific regional information for Texas.
Vermicomposting and Backyard Aquaponics
I contributed a chapter on composting worms and aquaponics. As you may already know, composting worms are great for helping to maintain a diverse, healthy bacterial community in the soil. And, versatile creatures that they are, can be added to aquaponic systems.
Worms provide additional minerals, as well as plant growth and fruiting hormones.
I also believe (I dont have any hard data on this) that worms can help keep an aquaponics system more stable by increasing the diversity of the bacterial community. Is there a graduate student in the house?
Post any questions you have about backyard aquaponics in the comments below. If I cant answer it, Ive got lots of aquaponic friends who can.