As gardeners we tend to be pretty concerned about conserving the natural world, and our own well being. After all, without either we wouldn’t be able to explore our passion.
If you’re lucky enough to own an allotment or a garden large enough to grow your own produce you’re probably all to familier with the challenges involved in growing fruits and vegetables successfully. It takes time, patience, the right conditions, and of course a fair helping of luck to get really great results. Unfortunately this process also often means having to use pesticides and other chemical products to give plants the best chance of growing, uninhibited by pests.
This can hardly be seen as good for the environment, and numerous studies have clearly shown the negative effects pesticides can have on our bodies. The probably is even worse with foods you buy from the supermarket. When you also start to look into the effects of genetically modified foods, things get even more frightening.
But we’re not going to go into scaremongering, a solution is all we’re after.
Well luckily there is an alternative to using pesticides on crops, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by it. We certainly were.
The answer lies with fish, yes fish.
Aquaponics is a portmantua of the words aquaculture (ie. cultervating fish) and hydroponics (ie. cultervating plants without soil), and it is just that, a combination of those two processes to create 100% organic food. The best thing about this is that you can get started right away, using your green fingered skills to get an aquaponics operation set up in your very own garden.
So how does Aquaponics work exactly?
It’s actually really simple, fish waste contains nitrates, a completely natural fertiliser to helps plants grow. What makes the process really elegant is that the plants take in these nutrients and then clean the water for the fish, and so the cycle continues. Fish and plant living together in a completely complimentary manner. Once you’ve fine tuned your intial set up, the process pretty much goes on without any intervention from you. Just sit back and wait for your organic food to grow! The only thing you have to do is plant more seeds once you’ve picked your vegetables.
- No soil means no mess. Because the plants grow in specially designed vessels containing only the nutrient rich water, you don’t need to worry about, digging, hoeing, or tilling soil. Naturally this also means no soil borne parasites and no need for pesticides to kill them
- No watering required. Why would you need to when water is already the foundation of the process? Put that watering can away!
- No weeding. Aquaponics vessels are elevated away from the ground, there’s no way any weeds are getting in and spoling things!
- An aquaponics set up can be installed in a small area, even in a typically small UK garden! Plants can be arranged much closer together than a traditional soil based plot, and you can even stack several tiers high if you wish
- Better quality food. The biggest advantage of all is that you will be growing you own high quality, 100% natural organic food. Organic food has been shown to improve everything from your energy levels, ability to get a good nights sleep, and even your sex drive! Definitely the way to go!
- Huge money saver. Think about it, with only the intial set up costs, and the expense of keeping your system running smoothly and a few seeds to replenish picked crops, you stand to save hundreds of pounds a year.
Sounds great! Where can I learn more?
Although not a complicated subject to understand, it will certainly pay for you to get a full understanding of exactly how to get started with aquaponics. To this end we recommend checking out this Easy DIY Aquaponics course. This is the go to resource for any wannabe DIY aquaponics newbie, in the UK or elsewhere!