Aquaponics a Key to the Future?Submitted by hawkiye on Sun, 03/24/2013 - 10:53
On another thread the Granger wrote that she does not like Aquaponics and that it's... well here is what she wrote exactly:
"I'm not a fan of aquaponics, I don't find it sustainable.. I find it expensive, high maintenance, probably great for occupying Mars, but I'm sticking to raised beds, and chickens.. while I do have a 250 gal tank, with fish.. and I have learned how to repair pumps.. but to me.. it's expensive and not worth it and the food is not as good as home grown tomatoes in the sun. I do like square foot gardening.. but I'm food forest gardening as it is."
We had been going back and forth on other issues too on that thread http://www.dailypaul.com/comment/3011606 and the exchange is getting quite long so I decided to give this its own thread.
When I read her statement I thought to myself of all the ignorant statements one could make this has to be one of the tops. Sorry for sort of picking on you Granger but this is an educational opportunity that can't be missed IMO. So I will respond here and also hopefully educate others that might not know much or anything about aquaponics.
Aquaponics is a synthesis of hydroponics and aquaculture (fish raising). Fish produce waste that is then fed to grow beds for plants where it becomes nutrients to feed the plants. The plants in turn clean the water and it is returned to the fish tank.
Plants grow much faster require half the space as conventional gardening and only a 10th of the water.
Granger claims it is expensive and unsustainable proving she deos not know anything about aquaponics and then claims she likes square foot gardening further showing her lack of knowledge. The water bill alone for conventional gardening is more expensive then aquaponics. Aquaponics systems that can keep the family in vegetables year round have been set up for as little as $50 dollars. But on average you would probably spend 2 to 3 hundred to get started however that is a one time expense. If your savvy you can build a system for pretty cheap. I have about $90 into my system.
People buy all kinds of elaborate fertilizers for conventional gardens and treatments for pest control etc. So much for keeping expenses down.;)
Granger then amazingly goes on to claim the food doesn't taste good compered to home grown tomatoes ripened in the sun further cementing her complete lack of knowledge on the subject ... I was like wow just wow! I would venture to say she has never tasted food from an aquaponics garden.
Aquaponics produce is home grown in the sun Granger! And it taste as good or better then anything grown in the regular garden. You must be thinking if commercially grown hydroponic crap you buy in the store.
Back to expenses; Granger says she has a 250 gallon fish tank and has learned to repair pumps so thinks she knows what she is talking about. So Granger let me ask you how often do you have to change the water in in that tank? How about filters? There is more expenses for you...
With Aquaponics you do not need to change the water only top off once in a while for evaporation as the plants return clean water to the fish. No filters needed for the pump as the grow beds act as a biofilter. Hence you use a tenth the water as conventional gardening. You could save a lot of time changing water filters and save money on your water bill by setting up grow beds to clean the water in your fish tank and have fresh sun ripened veggies year round to boot!
As for sustainable it's as sustainable as anything in the current society the relies on electricity. The only thing needed is a pump. Most aquaponics systems can run off a single pump and use gravity to feed the other direction. A small solar panel inverter and a battery can run the system to if the power goes out.
If the SHTF to the point you don't have electricity how are you going to water your conventional garden without electric pumps pumping the water to your house or out of your well? What will you do in winter when you garden is dormant? The same kind of planning for all those things is all you need to sustain your AP system!
To be fair and to hopefully ease my picking on you here I will praise you for having raised beds and chickens and contemplating a food forest those are all good things i have done and I will be teaching also. I highly recommend you look into hugelkultur raised beds as they do not require watering and you do not have to till and replant every year. You aquaponics system can sustain you through the winter with fresh produce when your garden and food forest is dormant.
Anyways thanks Granger for letting me pick on you here as it provided an opportunity to perhaps help educate others too!