Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In the aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals. The term aquaponics is a portmanteau of the terms aquaculture and hydroponic.
After the fish dying off, I took a break. It was nice in a way to not think about any plants or fish, especially after the less than successful spring/summer and fish catastrophe. However, I had a great system sitting there, doing nothing…
I was too late to start seeds for the fall season, but I was in Home Depot the other week and saw Romaine Lettuce and iceburg lettuce seedlings, and thought, “It’s now or never!” They also had broccoli and cauliflower, so I got some of those as well. I cleared out the remaining plants in the growbeds (okra was still alive and kicking!), and began anew.
Yesterday, I went to Danbury Fish Farms and got 25 new 6-8″ blue catfish, just as before – they seemed to stand the near freezing weather just fine, so are a decent choice, I’d say. Maybe this time next year I’ll get to cook some. Today, little Nat and I got some more lettuce and some swiss chard to replace where a squirrel or something ate one of the broccoli plant leaves. Here it is – hope we fare well this season!
In mid-August, we went on a cruise, and I had my neighbor feed the fish while I was gone. When I got back I noticed that there were many branches in our front yard, and learned that there had been a big storm the day before, which was a day after I had my neighbor feed the fish for the last time. Alas, this rainstorm seemed to have shorted out the electrical source to the pump, and all the fish in the tank were dead, due to no oxygenation. 🙁
Oh well, if it had to happen, it happened at the right time. I had given up on the current round of plants, anyway.
It’s been waaaaay too long since I posted anything… I think because I got an iPhone, I could take pictures and not have to upload them immediately to see them again, as I would with the SD card in my real camera. So, now I’m trying to catch up on posts – I wonder how many pics fit in a post?
So basically, the spring planting was not as successful as winter… I’ve got to learn some of the gardening basics regarding dealing with pests, and also adjust growing tactics with 4″ PVC tubes – just short-lived plants there from now on. Even the basil started clogging the tubes in mid-August.
Sure enough, as I was posting the last post about my monster tomato plant, its roots started clogging up the 4″ PVC pipe, resulting in water backing up in the growbed so that there was a half inch of standing water above the rocks! Ugh, I had no idea tomatoes would throw out so many roots… Shows that I am still a gardening newbie!
I took some string and cloth straps (OK, cut up strips of an old sock that had holes in it – got that from http://growingyourgreens.com)and used partially-full paint cans to counter balance and lift up the tomato plant limbs, so that I as one person could pull the roots out easily. Whoa! That was a lot more than I expected – they had latched on to the chive planter 10 inches further down. I may need to vacate those second holes after the tomato plants in the short run.
The roots looked bigger in person, trust me. At any rate, I ended up taking some scissors and trimming them down a bit. I figure I’ll have to keep doing this. I don’t know if I can easily do that on the others, since they are enmeshed with the trellis. Hmm, I’ll just have to think about that one a bit.