Jackalope Farm's Aquaponic Garden
In addition to our rabbits, we have ventured into aquaponic gardening. Aquaponics is a term used to describe the growing and raising of plants and fish together in a recirculating symbiotic ecosystem. Basically the fish poo in the water, the water is pumped up to a "soilless" growbed filled with pea-pebbles and a handful of red worms. The red worms eat the fish poo off the pebbles and leave behind worm poo. The worm poo and fish water is extremely good for the plants. The plants filter the water as the growbed fills up. Once the water level rises high enough the auto syphon inside of the growbed is activated and the now clean water is shot back out into the fish pond. This process grows organic plants in a tenth of the water needed to grow them in soil, and they grow faster. No weed pulling, no bugs, and we can grow them all year long in our basement. In our system we are using Blue Tilapia, which grow to table size fish in 6-9 months. Hopefully we will have a breeding colony established so we can be self sufficient and continually produce our own fish for the table. The picture at the bottom is one of our fish, not full grown yet.
This form of gardening is so efficient and simple that it can be done on any size scale, from small countertop systems to fully fledged commercial farming operations. There is no water waste, no need for chemicals or pesticides, no growth hormones, the system does not work unless its kept completely natural, and pretty much maintenances itself. For these reasons it will likely be the farming alternative for the future as many countries, including our own, are now facing water and food shortages.
Our entire system of 4 growbeds, 2 ponds, and 40 gallon breeder tank take up a small room in our basement. We made it for $170. Premade systems are out there but will cost you an arm and a leg. If you have an interest in aquaponics and want to know how to get started I will provide some helpful links on the bottom of this page, including a fantastic book, and two different tilapia breeders which I have dealt with and trust.
Video Resources- http://www.youtube.com/user/aquaponicgardening