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Why you should grow your own food – Aquaponics

So you might have been around long enough to have heard me speak about Aquaponics from the “I really don’t have a clue what this is” perspective.  To the “I think maybe, if we could just perfectly, make this to kind of…” perspective.  And now, I am in the understanding and hopeful place, which will lead to the “I am tweaking the output to insure that” phase.

Basically, it is a simple concept.  Fish poop.  That poop is incredible fertilizer, in that all of the minerals necessary for food growth are present when that poop is broken down in the nitrogen cycle.  So basically, if you were to stick the roots of your favorite veges in the water of a fish pond, and if you were to pull them out just often enough that they could absorb nutrients and water, and oxygen, then they would become bountiful plants.

Aquaponics does just that.  So when you watch this video, you should ask the question – “Is it worth the hassle”?

So the answer is, yes!  Now, my system is a lot more effort to create than what we will be teaching you how to create, but the hassle and extra expense do two things that you might want.

  1. Improve your cleanliness of your food, allowing organic to be truly achievable at every level.

  2. Give you permanence to your system, so that you can produce a garden full of plants all year round (winter too), as long as you like, with minimal maintenance to your system.

But still, what is the value of this thing?  Well, my system could be valued at $4-6,000 simply because of the time that we put into design, re-design, and build.  But that is a pricey system for those reasons.  Let’s assume we knew what we were doing from the beginning.  I think we could have produced this for a cost of close to $3k.  And that is an aesthetically pleasing fish pond, with the ability to produce an amazing amount of food.

The grow bed surface area is a total of 80 square feet.  This interesting study took some time to digest, but it has me estimating that with the right number of fish in my pond (oh, and I might be trying the tilapia… we’ll see), I could yield the same number of crops from my 80 square feet, as I could from a dirt garden of about 1000 square feet.  Now I will be the first to say, I am not a green thumb, so this might not work out as planned.  But let me break this down.

If I were to spend $100 a week in organic produce, I could easily replace that during a four month period with the draw from my gardens.  So that works out to $1600 that I could save.  In addition, I have an additional four months where I will replace about $30 a week in vegetables. Another $480.  I figured that I could also plant some annual plants and train them out side of the grow bed area, and improve that over time (blueberries are my first thought).

My next generation backyard!!

So in a decent growth rate, I should be able to cove most of my cost in about one year.  But this is the piece that I need you to understand.  We are in a food crisis, with escalating costs of all food, not to mention organic food.   I do not want to be making healthier and healthier decisions, that continually cost more and more money.  I expect that my health, and the health of my family, will always be the number one expense in my life… I choose that.  But I do not expect to see those costs continually escalate.  This is why I am eager to grow my own!

A dirt garden is a great place to start if you have no garden, but by next spring, we’ll be ready to teach you exactly how to get your own system going if that is what you want to do!  Be well, be organic!  Dr. E

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