Sunday, July 20, 2014

Growing your own organic food

Freshly picked acorn squash and cucumber. 

It's been awhile since I've posted anything remotely crunchy so I thought that today I'd highlight my husband's efforts in the crunchy department.

One of the ways he works out stress is by gardening. However, he doesn't have a typical garden. He's created an aquaponics garden on our patio. He literally put in blood, sweat and tears (OK, maybe not tears) to create this awesome garden that provides us with organic fruits and veggies year round.

So what is aquaponics, you ask? It's a self-sustaining water garden. No soil required. Basically, you have a fish tank (ours has tilapia, catfish and we recently added koi) and the dirty fish water is sent to your grow beds where the dirty water fertilizes the plants. The plants then send filtered, clean water back down to your fish tank. All you have to do is feed the fish (although we have an automatic fish feeder now) and trim the plants. Oh and when one fish starts to get too large and dominate the tank, you take him out, throw him on the grill and enjoy a nice meal. Seriously.



Our fish tank is an old tough (tuff?) box

In addition to being completely green, the plants grow crazy fast. There's something about fish poop that makes them grow quickly. Nate started almost all of his plants from seeds and look at them now.

We have three grow beds. Two for larger plants and one for seedlings and lettuce.

These plants get massive.

Lettuce

Cucumber 

Bell pepper and tomatoes 

Celery

If we lived somewhere permanent, we'd definitely expand and try to grow things like fruit trees and potatoes. There are entire farms out there that are moving strictly to aquaponics because it's creating better produce, plain and simple.

And I give Nate all the credit in this endeavor. He did the research, built the system, maintains the tanks, trims the plants, and kills the bugs. You name it, he does it. E and I simply enjoy the fruits of his labor.

If you have a garden, consider moving to aquaponics. Totally worth it (especially if you have a spouse that wants to do all the work).

Cheers,
Jen

(Note from Nate: He said I made it seem like a lot of work, but it's not. Building it was a lot of work, but it's extremely low maintenance once you get going.)

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