Your Resource for All Things Aquaponics

Top 5 Grow Mediums

With so many options, check out our pros and cons before you determine what will suit you best!

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6 Aquaponics Supplies You Almost Forgot

Check out our guide to several Aquaponics products that you might not realize you need them until you need them!

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Best Fish For Aquaponics Systems

There are almost as many fish options as there are styles of Aquaponics systems. But never fear, we've listed the top fish that perform well in Aquaponic systems!

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Aquaponics Scholarship

Learn about our Aquaponics Scholarship and see how you can support it!

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Oh Ye Of Little Faith and If you Teach A Man To Fish

My garden is growing!  I just have to show you. We planted the seeds less than two weeks ago, on March 19.  I was ecstatic when our lettuce popped up because the seeds are so tiny that once they are planted, you can’t see them.  So I was worried they’d gotten washed into the water and out of the bed and we wouldn’t have any lettuce.

Then I was concerned for all my edamame, beans and peas because the few I could see were starting to mold or just not growing very well.  And my corn?  Whew.  I couldn’t even find any of those seeds once I planted them.

PeaPlantsI spent the last 10 days worrying that all our seeds would go bad and that we would have to start all over again and we would have wasted 2 or more weeks of growing time.

Over the weekend though my patience was rewarded because I started to see a few corn stalks burst out of the rocks.  And then I saw a few pea plants.  And then careful digging unearthed several of the bush beans and many many edamame plants!

I think I did learn one thing though- a lot of the vining type plants that we planted (beans, edamame) were struggling to push above the rock with their big top leaves.  When I started moving rock around looking for them I suddenly found several that were doing their best to grow and their tops were kinda scrunched down.  I carefully moved the top rock and the next day I saw them stretched up toward the sun!

I loved seeing all those beautiful plants growing.  I get so excited, thinking that those 20 pea plants are going to give my family and I a few meals and that our corn is going to be amazing once its boiled and slathered with butter- and maybe even dried into popcorn?  I got giddy seeing the first bell pepper starting to grow and our tomatoes getting bigger already (we have three!).  A garden is such a beautiful thing.

And I can reflect on all the analogies of growth, patience, faith, master gardener, and many more.  My garden is going to be a sight to behold in a few weeks as each of these tiny plants burst forth with much more greenery.  I can’t wait!

Aquaponics Tilapia FingerlingsAs well as our garden sprouting, we got fish!  We called our local EcoGro-Aquaponics store to inquire on the status of the fish delivery and we were told they had just sat down to start calling their waiting list.  We booked it over there, collecting all 100 fish, within the hour.  We bought 50 1 inch fish and 50 2-3 inch fish.  Its good to stagger the fish like this because it will allow two harvest times.  Is it bad that I’m already thinking of breading those fish or eating them with lemon juice and parsley (that we’ve grown in the garden, of course!)?  Mmmm…

You know what the greatest feeling is in all of this? That we are becoming more self sufficient.  We are collecting eggs to both eat and sell every day, we are growing fish to eat and vegetables to eat and possibly trade, and we are learning some skills that will enable us to do even more in the future!  This is a good life.

Aquaponics Ut-ohs

We were super excited and stoked to get our Aquaponics system completely set up and running with the plants in it this week.  For some reason we had to turn the pump off for something and it never came back on.

It is now in the aqua-pump graveyard.

We had trouble with this particular pump all year.  Every time the power went out or we had to do maintenance we would practically have to take it apart to get it to start again. I’m not at all sure what its problem was.

We hopped on Amazon and ordered a new pump and it arrived yesterday afternoon.  Unfortunately, we had to buy a new fitting to get it to fit with our current system.  So, trip to Lowe’s.  I think some of the employees might know us by sight.  What other family drags 5 kids along with them to pick up one missing pvc joint? Haha.

We still have to use some glue to get the pieces to be water tight so we can’t actually start the pump again until tomorrow.  I’m very glad we don’t have fish yet. That could have been bad. Meanwhile, I’m dousing the garden with the water hose a few times a day to help the seeds continue to germinate.

And on that note- We Have Lettuce Sprouting!! (You might have to zoom in, but I promise its there!)

Growing Lettuce.jpg

 

Planting our Garden

Tuesday was such a good day.  I surprised my husband with all day babysitting for three of our kids and we took off to do all of our shopping.  Yeah, not the best date ever, but those of you with kids understand how hard it is to go shopping with them!

Aquaponics Garden Plan

This is our Aquaponics Garden Planting Plan…torn and stained from carrying it around with us all day!

We headed off to Costco and Walmart to do our normal grocery shopping then stopped by home for lunch before heading out to the nursery I’d previously mentioned I wanted to go to.  It was a beautiful place but it didn’t have any of the plants we needed!  There were a ton of herbs so we did pick up several of those (including Mint, which my husband wants to brew into tea…yum!).  We browsed their seed packets and picked up quite a few of those.  But we really wanted the tomatoes, bell peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, and strawberries already started.

We decided to head back to Walmart to pick up those plants and guess what? They didn’t have any of the melons or bell peppers we wanted. Sigh.  We trucked on over to Lowe’s and picked up the rest of our desired plants as well as scooping up an egg plant and a Jalapeño plant.  Overall we got everything but it did take a lot longer than expected.

So, this morning we got up bright and early and started planting.  First we had to decide exactly what beds to put all our plants into so we shade the right ones and give full sun to the right ones.  Also, since some of our beds are at chest height, we needed to make sure we could reach all the plants for care and harvest purposes.

After all our discussions, we started sowing the seeds!  The plants in the dirt pots had to have their roots rinsed out before we could transplant them into the garden beds.

windowgarden.jpgBy the time we were done with the plantedgarden.jpgplanting our garden looked so cool!  We knew that we needed to string up some trellis over the edamame and the peas so we hunted through our yard for some scraps to do that with.  Simple!

We did use the hose and water the tops of the beds.  That seems weird in an
aquaponics system, I know, but the intent was to make sure that the top rocks are wet enough that the seeds can start to germinate even though they are not sitting in the water.

By the time we were done we had:

two grow beds of corn

one bed with strawberries, a row of leeks, and peas

one bed with tomatoes, egg plant, two squash plants

one bed with bell pepper, two squash plants, and a row of edamame

one bed with bush bean plants

and our last bed has edamame and lettuce.

We are frequent visitors of EcoGro, a local Aquaponics store.  The head guy joked that we must be going into the production business. We joked back that no, we just have 5 growing kids.  He still seemed to think we would have a lot of excess food.  If that is the case, I’ll be glad to preserve some of it and maybe I’ll trade with friends!  I am very excited to watch this garden grow. Its already so peaceful, keeping the windows open and listening to the sound of the water running…