Warning – if you have dinner at our house you might be eating vegetables grown in… fish poo. I’ve taken a page from the ancient Aztecs and started growing my organic vegetables from the fish waste which provides nutrients for the plants. Today it is called Aquaponics – the integration of aquaculture (farm raised fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) where naturally occurring bacteria in the system convert waste from fish (ammonia) to nitrites then to nitrates which serves as food for the plants. The process and plants naturally cleans the water which is recirculated to the fish tank for more “poo”. By its nature, aquaponics is 100% organic as adding chemicals, fertilizers or synthetic nutrients will likely kill the fish or the plants. It also uses 1/10 of the water compared to soil-based growth and best of all, no weeds as there is no soil!
Today we have about 50 goldfish providing the food for the plants as the system is currently “cycling” or naturally building the bacteria to convert ammonia into nitrogen. Many aquaponics enthusiasts use catfish or tilapia as they can be harvested for dinner along with the vegetables. While still early we are already seeing good growth on our fall garden and we’ve used a bit of basil for spaghetti sauce. Theoretically we can grow roughly 4x more plants in the same space and less time than soil-based gardening due to the “super nutrients” supplied by the fish.
So, feel free to stop by and feed the fish or enjoy our lettuce, swiss chard, kale, broccoli, cucumbers or brussel sprouts from our fish poo garden. Also, in true Lackey style I’ve started thinking of ways to turn this hobby into a business so I’m working on a new site strictly for Aquaponic People.