Organic Gardening with Aquaponics

Which Organic Garden Vegetables To Grow In Florida

Vegetable gardening offers fresh air, sunshine, exercise, enjoyment, mental therapy, nutritious fresh vegetables, and economic savings, as well as many other benefits. Vegetables can be grown year-round in Florida if attention is paid to the appropriate planting dates. Below is the organic garden vegetables to grow in Florida:

Cover Crops/Green Manure

Green manure is fresh plant material turned into the soil. Planting and plowing in green-manure crops during the off-season is beneficial. The following cover crops are recommended: cowpea, velvet bean, soybean, and sunflower in summer and cereal rye, crimson clover, and Austrian winter pea in winter.

Organic Matter

Most Florida soils benefit from the addition of organic matter, such as animal manure, rotted leaves, compost, commercial soil mixes, and cover crops. Thoroughly mix liberal amounts of (un-composted) organics in the soil well in advance of planting, preferably at least a month before seeding. If you do not plan to use inorganic fertilizer, spread 25 – 100 pounds of compost or composted animal manure per 100 square feet. Composted organics may be applied at planting time. However, aged or raw manures should be worked into the soil 90-120 days before havesting. Due to inconsistent levels of nutrients in compost, accompanying applications of inorganic or organic fertilizer may be beneficial.

Compost

Create your own “garden gold” by converting yard wastes to compost. Composting is easy to do and yields a manure-like, organic fertilizer/soil conditioner, which highly benefits Florida’s infertile native soils. Compost Tips for the Home Gardener:

  1. Buy a compost unit or build one from recycled wood pallets, concrete block, sturdy wire, etc. The minimum size should be 3’x3’x3′.
  2. Make successive, 12-inch-thick layers of plant waste — such as leaves, lawn clippings, shredded branches, and wood chips. Kitchen scraps may also be used.
  3. Animal (not pet) manure, finished compost, blood meal, or fertilizer can be added to each layer if desired.
  4. Moisten each layer and keep the pile moist.
  5. Turn the pile frequently to add oxygen and help the decomposition process.
  6. Depending on how intensively it is managed, compost should be ready for use in two to twelve months, when plant parts are decomposed.
  7. Cover the pile to keep rain from leaching nutrients from it.
Aquaponics System: What You Need To Know

Aquaponics System: What You Need To Know

You probably want to know what’s exactly involved in an aquaponics system before purchasing the materials to set up the system. It is wise move to take time for your preparation and research on what aquaponics system can do and how it satisfies your needs.

Aquaponics is a mixture of two farming approaches, hydroponics and aquaculture. This new technique has been attracting passionate practitioners over recent years because it eliminates the troubles of older approaches. With aquaponics system fish farming and gardening becomes easier and cleaner to maintain.

Balance in the Backyard Ecosystem

Aquaponics is a biological system that you can keep in your backyard (backyard aquaponics). In order to make it thrive, the system must maintain its balance. To do so, there are three main key players to consider: the plants, the fish and the bacteria. All three must be present to create and maintain the system, otherwise the system cannot be completed.

When you raise fish in a tank, they naturally produce waste products. That will contaminate the water. Also, since you need to feed them daily, leftovers of fish feed will add to the dirt in the water. As you can imagine the water becomes quite dirty over time and it can be toxic for the fish to live in.

While that’s happening in the water, there is something else happening. The growth of bacteria. Naturally occurring bacteria like nitrobacter is another key player to the aquaponics system because they can break down the waste products from fish such as ammonia. Those bacteria can change the form of dirt in the water into something that plants can absorb as nutrition.

When the water gets pumped up to the garden beds, the plants soak up the nutrition. As the water moves through the plants, the water gets filtered and aerated. The cleaned, oxygenated water goes back to the fish tank after the filtration, and the whole cycle resumes again.

The process needs to be repeated at least once every two hours. Once you set up the system, you’ll have the biological filter operating at all times. You don’t have to replace or drain the fish water to keep the water quality. It’s automatically done by the plants while you can enjoy fresh harvests of organic vegetables.

Another advantage of aquaponics is that the plants are looked after automatically too. You don’t have to water them everyday, you don’t have to fertilize them either. With the advantage of no soil gardening, it eliminates soil related disease. So it is easier to grow your vegetables with NO herbicides, No pesticides and practically No chemicals.

All you have to do is monitor water levels and make sure the fish tank is not overcrowded, which can be easily done when you feed them.

How to build a simple aquaponics system yourself

How to Build a Simple Aquaponics System

You can save money and provide your family with amazingly nutritious food by building your own aquaponics system, and in this article I will show you how to get started.

First I will explain why I think it’s important to take the time to understand and build a DIY system. Then we’ll explore the basic design concept of any system and how to expand on that and implement it for your specific needs.

And of course I will also go over the components and materials needed, and where to get them.

Next up we’ll tackle the issue of the size and location of your garden, and to finish it off I will provide further resources for detailed DIY plans if you feel like you still need additional help with setting up and operating your aquaponics system.

I hope you will find this guide helpful and easy to follow.

Remember: With a little bit of determination, anyone can do this!

So without further Ado, Let’s get started…

Here’s What You Will Learn…

  • Why DIY?
  • Basic System Design
  • Components & Materials
  • Size & Location
  • Detailed DIY Plans (further resources)

Why Build Your Own System?

So why should you DIY (do it yourself) and not simply buy a pre-built one? A pre-built solution can be an excellent option. However there are some distinct advantages to rolling up your sleeves and taking things into your own hands…

  1. Cost
  2. Knowledge
  3. Satisfaction

Cost

For many people cost is going to be a concern and this is one of the primary advantages to going the DIY route: you gain considerable savings by taking things into your own hands. Depending on the scope of your plans you can save 50 to 75% or even more if you get really creative & resourceful with your supplies and materials.

Knowledge

This is my favourite reason for taking this route: the knowledge you gain is invaluable…

By planning & designing a system and putting it together yourself, you end up re-enforcing a solid understanding of how an aquaponics system works. And this allows you to take true ownership of your system and its operation. This means that any future work will be a snap because you know your setup intimately and making additions, changes, or repairs will be second nature.

Sweet Satisfaction

And last but not least, there’s that sweet satisfaction of a job well done. If you’re anything like me then you revel in the feeling of successfully completing a project started from scratch and followed all the way through. Especially one that will provide an abundant supply of healthy organic food for you and your family for years to come.

Basic System Design

(Please get some diagram for this section and design it following the statements below)

Before moving on to more intricate designs and layouts it helps to visualize an aquaponics system in its most basic configuration.

If you look at the diagram below you can see that I’ve labeled the primary components of any system. How you decide to arrange them, what size they will be, and where you will set them up will vary from system to system of course.

How to Build a Simple Aquaponics System

As you can see, the core concept is extremely simple.

  • Water flows from the fish tank (A) to the garden (B). And then from (B) back to (A) again.
  • The secondary components (c, d, & e) facilitate the movement and distribution of water between the two primary components.

This. In its most basic sense, is all an aquaponics system is. And although you might feel that this is too simple, remember that you can expand on this core design and implement it for your specific needs in an almost infinite variety of ways.

Components & Materials

There are varying degrees of size and complexity when it comes to designing and constructing your aquaponics garden, but there are some common components of any system, and it helps to understand what they are and how they work.

Main Components

  • Fish Tank: This is the main tank in which you raise and feed your fish. The waste from here accumulates and is pumped into the garden where it nourishes your plants and helps them to grow.
  • Garden: This is where you grow your plants. It has its own watering system which is provided with water & nutrients from the fish tank and there are different strategies for how to set this up. For instance you can use media filled beds which receive a continuous flow of water, a flood and drain system, or even a deep water culture system which allows the plants to simply soak their roots directly in the water below.
  • Sump Tank: This is the lowest point in an aquapotics system, and it’s where the water is collected from the garden before it returns to the fish tank. This is a non essential component but using one comes with some advantages. Not only does it allow you to maintain a constant water level in your fish tank, but it allows you to easily remove collected and unwanted waste before sending that water back to the fish tank. Your pump also operates much better with cleaner water, so this ensures that your fish tank pumps water to your garden at a consistent rate.
  • Pump: This is the workhorse of your system, it moves and directs the flow of water from each area of your aquaponics garden to the next.

Additional Components

  • Plant Trays
  • Media
  • Timers
  • Air Pumps
  • Tubing
  • Filters
  • Plants
  • Fish

Size & Location

One of my favorite things about aquaponics is that you can setup a system of almost any size, either indoors or outdoors. From a mini garden with gold fish growing vegetables and herbs, to a large backyard farm, or even massive commercial operations.

Indoors

The key thing to keep in mind when growing indoors is that you need to choose an area that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day, this is the minimum required for most plants to grow properly. With that said, any place in your home that meets the minimum requirements for sunlight is perfect for setting up a small aquaponics system. And of course you can always use a hydroponic grow light if getting adequate sunlight is a problem.

Common Indoor Locations

  • Front Room
  • Kitchen
  • Basement
  • Spare Room
  • Garage

Outdoors

When it comes to outdoor growing, the logical solution for most people is their backyard. Not only does this give you privacy and security, but it also provides adequate space for any future expansion. It is not uncommon however to see people with systems at the side of their house or even in their front yard. A lot of it depends on where you can get the right amount of sunlight for your garden.

Common Outdoor Locations

  • Backyard
  • Balcony, Porch, or Veranda
  • Side or Front of House

The possibilities for the size and location of your setup are endless. Small, big, indoors or outdoors… Whatever your current situation, you can definitely get your own aquaponics system up and running!

 

The Benefits of Organic Backyard Aquaponics System

Whether you are concerned with helping the environment or just living within your means and becoming less dependent on consumer goods, growing your own vegetables in your backyard sounds like a dream, and it is one that you can easily make into a reality.  Food doesn’t get much more local than your own back yard.  Growing an organic backyard garden is a lot less work than it might seem if you install a backyard aquaponics system.

Aquaponics Systems Are Great for the Environment

An aquaponics system is, for all practical purposes, a complete ecosystem, and it can sustain itself with very little maintenance.  The ecological balance maintains itself; all you have to do is feed the fish.  If you feed them worms that feed on the compost from your vegetables, then you really have a complete cycle of producers, consumers, and decomposers.

You might think that an organic backyard garden that runs entirely on water would consume a lot of water, but, actually, the opposite is true.  Your backyard aquaponics system will help you conserve water.  This is because the same water that serves to nourish your plants is also the living quarters of your fish or shellfish.  Because the water maintains its ecological balance, you never have to change it.  There is no wastewater, just water that continues to sustain plant and animal life.  If you used conventional methods, you would be using water to water your vegetable garden and more water for your aquarium, which you would have to discard and replace periodically.  Aquaponics systems are so water efficient that they are ideal for dry climates where it is difficult to grow vegetables by conventional means.

Aquaponics Systems Are Great for Your Wallet and Your Health

It can cost less than 2,000 dollars to get a backyard aquaponics system, and then you can reap the rewards for years to come.  Your backyard garden will make your backyard look beautiful, give you wholesome, great tasting food, and help you protect our planet for generations to come.  Our smallest aquaponic organic backyard growing system can sustain 24 plants, and the larger ones can grow even more plants.  Considering that maintaining your aquaponic garden only costs the price of fish food, you are paying only a few thousand dollars for a virtually endless amount of food for years to come.  People often think of organic and locally grown food as being expensive, but food doesn’t get any better or any less expensive than vegetables from your own garden.

Pescetarians, Rejoice!

While tilapia is our first choice and goldfish and koi, our second choice, for your reservoir, you can actually fill it with other kinds of freshwater fish or even aquatic plants or shellfish.  If you like to eat fish and shellfish but are worried about the health risks and environmental consequences of eating seafood from commercial fisheries, you can raise your own seafood right in your own back yard.  When you raise your own seafood, you can see every detail of the environment where your fish live.  You never have to worry about the water and the aquatic creatures that live in it being contaminated with chemicals or metals.  Organic seafood can be very costly when you buy it at specialty health food stores, but the costs are negligible when you raise the fish in your own garden, and better yet, the fish is even fresher than when you buy it in the store.  If you want to eat local food, you no longer have to worry about food miles.  Your food only travels the distance from your garden to your kitchen.

Step to improve your environment with Aquaponics system

Introduction:

The modern technique of raising aquatic animals like fish, prawn, snails or other in a tank side by side with the cultivation of plants is known as Aquaponics. The trend of adopting Aquaponics as a hobby in people is increasing day by day. People are showing interest in learning backyard Aquaponics system because of increasing awareness. If you have a backyard facility then you can utilize it by growing fresh vegetables or fruit so that you can feed your entire family easily.

Aquaponics system will feed fresh organic vegetables & other species throughout the year. No need to bother yourself with the up and down prices of vegetables or marine species. You can enjoy your favorite meals throughout the year by doing a just little setup.

Do It Yourself in order to set backyard Aquaponics system:

If you are fed by searching relevant information in order to design backyard Aquaponics system then believe me this article is going to change your life. Aquaponics is a vast field; we are sharing some effective and workable ideas in order to help people like you. In backyard Aquaponics system, you need to summarize following things for an efficient result.

1. Usage of single pump: For home based backyard system you can easily find many pumping design that has inefficient energy used. Initially, you should accommodate one pump in order to make it energy efficient. Remember one thing, always locate your pump outlet higher from hydroponics bed to fish tank because the water will move via gravity flow and that save your energy.

2. Use Gravel bed in a hydroponic system: In order to achieve target result in a hydroponic system then use gravel bed in it. The usage of the gravel bed is not practical on a commercial scale but for backyard system this option is best. With the usage of gravel bed you can have following advantages:

        a. It helps to support your plant far better than any other bed
        b. It also helps in the productivity of plants
        c. It improves the yielding process of plants
        d. It improves the water buffering process
        e. It acts as a dual filter (bio-filter & solid filter)
        f. Cost effective

3. Constant temperature of the water: Beginner’s does not concentrate for maintaining constant water temperature. We want to conclude that maintaining constant water temperature in backyard Aquaponics system helps to improve the plant yielding. Experts suggest maintaining the temperature ranges from 12 degree Celsius to 19 degree Celsius.

Technically it has proved the organism hidden in gravel bed (bio-filter) requires constant temperature in order to convert toxic element into non-toxic elements. The conversion phase of ammonia to nitrate is beneficial of both systems. If you fail in providing required temperature to the system then the bacteria could sleep and the conversion process will stop that affects your species.

You can maintain the temperature of water by inserting external sources like water heaters. You can also place your system where sun exposure is available. Keep one thing in mind that. The process of heating is much cheaper than to make it cool.

4. Test you water: After maintaining the temperature of after you need to focus on the quality of water. From various experiments, it has been proved that.

  • For aquatic life, the pH of the water should lies in the range of 6.5 to 8.0.
  • For plants, this pH value should lies in the range of 4.5 to 7.0
  • For bacteria, the optimum value of pH should be 6.0 to 8.0.

We suggest you to maintain an average pH value of 6.7 to 6.9 which suits for each medium. Must you be thinking about the testing process? Right!

Don’t worry because technology rules our world, there are lots of pH measuring devices available at aquarium stores which cost around 20$ only. Remember one thing, if pH drops below 6.0 then it will affect your microorganism that lessens the rate of the filtration process.

5. Best species in Aquaponics: You can use different fishes for the success of your system but best one’s are:

  • a. Barramundi
  • b. Catfish
  • c. Carp
  • d. Tilapia
  • e. Trout & others

You can use these fishes as a meal. So it’s better to grow these kinds of fishes first.

Outsource your backyard Aquaponics system:

If you have a lack of knowledge in setting backyard Aquaponics system then don’t worry at all because several companies available in the market offering their valuable services.

The name of “Organic garden harvest” is offering their expertise for those who want to set backyard Aquaponics system but unable to do so. This company is located in Miami, FL. They are elite providers of Aquaponics product & its installation. Several companies are available in the market but opt a perfect company like “Organic Garden Harvest” is on your choice. This is the company on which you can trust.

We have experienced and highly trained staff that offers premium quality design & installation of aquaculture. This company guarantees to give optimum quality result with all kind of support to your backyard garden. As far as concerned of its pricing, Organic Garden Harvest offers market competitive price so that everyone could easily approach them and get 100% premium service.

This company values their client demands and desire. They always make their design as per client expectation with a professional touch. Believe me, if you really want to do some magic in your backyard Aquaponics system them you should consult with this company once.

Conclusion:

Hence, this system is becoming popular throughout the whole world. Aquaponics is an environment-friendly system and it could be prepared anywhere even in your dwelling. This system helps in reducing the wastage of water & energy. Aquaponics gives premium quality fresh food within your range throughout the year. If you really want to experience the Aquaponics culture in your dwelling then do it yourself today or you can hire some premium quality service provider.

Once you experience this culture believe me you will never ever gonna leave it.