Good morning friends! I had to get up before the crack of dawn to write this. I’m afraid if I don’t get up hours before my family normally rises I cannot get on the computer. Husband has been gone all day/week and wants his time, kids want some time, and there are always more chores to do than I can possibly entertain completing, so time on here is scarce and getting scarcer now that my lap-top is pretty much out of commission. This leaves me the hours in the middle of the night, thus the scarceness of my posts (sorry!). I have so many blogs floating around in my head all day, things I want to share with you! As our springtime approaches I have more and more I am doing, so hopefully we can repair the lap-top (yes, I am going to tear into it and repair it myself….. I hope!). We think the point where the power cord get’s plugged into the computer is where the problem is, so if we can fix it I will be able to use the computer again. Hopefully. Possibly? Simple, right? Hah!
Okay, I’m done gripping over my poor computer-sharing state. Time to move on. Yep, you don’t want to hear that anymore. Sooooo…. I was working away late one night, on the shared computer, and came across this post on facebook for directions on an aquaponic system made with IBC totes. Seeing that I wanted to install our first auaponic system this year I went to the site and dowldoaded the PDF. It’s a pretty good download, and it got my brain moving and my body in action. Unfortunately the source of cheap IBC totes hasn’t emailed me back, but I shall persevere! I need to find a free source, my mind exploded for uses for the things! I began imagining goat houses, regular garden beds, compost bins, feed storage, waterers for chickens…. Hubby thinks we should use one by the pool for a hot tub warmed by the sun (though that is a bit of a plumbing nightmare). Lot’s of uses. Anyway, here is the download if you want to see it. It’s rather large, so if your internet connection is slow you should be prepared for it to take a while. However, it’s very good reading with lots of ideas.
I really like the idea of aquaponics. Fish can be so wonderful on the farm or homestead, and any time I don’t have to constantly change their water or buy filters I am happy. And to think I can have vegetables for my effort! You have to choose fish you can legally keep in your area, so I am still researching that. The great thing with fish is they fertilize very well, both alive and dead. You can dry and grind the bones for the chickens, or even give the birds a whole fish (chickens are omnivorous in case you didn’t realize it, and scavengers) and of course we will eat them. Too many to eat? Put them under perennial plants! Great for your trees and bushes!
Another thing I like about getting fish concerns the cost of catching fish in the wild, and the amazing restrictions in doing so. No, you can’t grab a pole and go fishing for food or pleasure anymore. You have to buy a license, and each breed of fish has size and weight regulations. Not to mention the pollution in many rivers, lakes, and streams! If you are balancing your little mini-ecosystem aquaponic creation correctly, your fish will be very healthy. There are few costs to you after your system is set up except for water and a little power to run the pump. It can be very attractive, or just functional. I have considered creating an in-ground fish tank with a waterfall off different levels of grow beds. My restrictions are limited digging space, and land in general.
I have this amazing mental picture of a green house around the tank and grow beds, where the walls can be opened in summer and closed in winter so the fish stay warm and we have fresh produce all year. I imagine benches surrounded by grow beds, sitting near the edge of my in-ground fish tank/pond, with lovely slate or terracotta tiles all around on the ground. In my mental image, there are tall plants and climbing vines growing up as well as plants cascading over the sides and filling the centers. I will certainly grow flowers among the vegetables as well, and a few aromatic herbs. I just love brushing against rosemary or thyme! Oh, the dreams in my head! In reality, I will probably have a functional, above-ground system, and will probably have to endure the learning curve as with anything new. However, if I learn the system well, as I get older or if I have to move to an apartment in my old age, I will be able to grow some of my own food anywhere, even in buildings, using plain old fish tanks. Plus, I want to start a mini-system for my son’s fish aquarium to replace his filters, a perfect homeschool science lesson that will be on-going. It will be neat to see how many fish and plants he can use together to balance the water! With his heart for telling the world about Jesus, who knows where he will take what he learns here at home someday.
Well, this has gotten a bit long and drawn out, but I miss sharing with you all. Each one of you leaves such wonderful feedback and encouragement, and I hope this post encourages you to try aquaponics, even if it’s just with a goldfish tank in your house or apartment. Here is a great resource for starting in indoor aquaponic system and perfect science project for a child (it even gives questions for researching and recording your findings, too cool!). Below are some links I am enjoying as I study. Full of ideas! And, as I set up my own system I will keep you updated with pictures and directions 🙂
http://backyardaquaponics.com/information.html (this is really a site worth bookmarking and joining)
http://www.play-with-water.ch/d4/index.cfm?pageNo=5&systemNo=2&eksperimentNo=202&language=en (this one has classroom ideas and plans)