What happens when you combine fish farming and hydroponics? You get aquaponics, the only way to hydroponically grow USDA organic certified vegetables. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil), and it allows the grower to breed fish while cultivating veggies. The fish live in the plant’s water supply which is then pumped into the grow bed to feed the plants. In this closed loop hydroponic system the water then gets recycled back into the fish pond. This process uses approximately 90% less water than traditional farming, only losing water through plant evaporation.
In addition to breeding your own fresh water fish, the waste they produce is an excellent nutrient source for the plants. This allows them to grow more densely and up to twice as fast as traditional farming. Also, since you are using fish waste for nutrients you rarely have to change out your water supply, unlike normal hydroponic systems.
EndlessFoodSystems.com offers a “plug-and-play” aquaponics package for the hobby grower. It is simple and relatively cheap allowing just about anyone to start their own fish farm. Their systems include the tanks, pumps and filters needed to begin your own natural, pesticide-free grow operation. When used in a greenhouse setting, these systems are designed to produce year round, making them an ideal option for the all-season grower. See video below.
Endless Food Systems: Fish Powered Gardens
If you are looking for commercial aquaponic options, then check out Bright Agrotech’s ZipGrow vertical farming. To get the most production per square foot of your garden fill your greenhouse with their vertical aquaponic towers and maximize your yields without having to increase your growing space. They mention that their product works best with short, high water weight crops, like spring salad mix, culinary herbs, and kale. I am interested to see the future of vertical growing, maybe some of these systems will be tailored to support some “compact” cannabis strains. Vertical aquapoincs looks like an appealing investment considering how it allows you cut nutrient costs, grow organically, and maximize your yields without having to expand your greenhouse. See video below:
The Bright Agrotech ZipFarm
Aquaponics is the opportunity to grow organic crops while conserving water and eliminating the need for fertilizers. It is cheaper than traditional farming and you also breed your own fish in the process. To me, this sounds like a win-win growing scenario.
Do you have any experience with this topic? How about growing cannabis with aquapoincs? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.