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ATP Podcast #59: Aquaponics, and Growing Outdoor Plants Indoors

By dave
June 4, 2014

Aquaponics is an exciting innovation that blends vegetable gardening with fish farming. In today's podcast we'll discuss our aquaponics system, how it works, why it works, and why we're excited about it. We'll also talk about growing outdoor plants indoors.

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central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Jun 3, 2014 11:25 PM CST
A symbiotic relationship of double rewards for the creator.
It would be a triple winner if you could view the fish in the tank.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Jun 4, 2014 7:26 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

It's actually much clearer in person- you can see *almost* to the very bottom. Also really nice is hearing the water trickle- like having a water feature Thumbs up
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Jun 4, 2014 11:10 AM CST
How many gallons does it hold?
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 4, 2014 11:17 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

The IBC totes hold 250 gallons. Once you cut it and remove the top, the bottom holds about 200 gallons to the top, but you don't want the water all the way at the top so I keep it around the 175 gallon mark.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Jun 4, 2014 11:23 AM CST
Harvested any fish to consume?
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jun 4, 2014 11:23 AM CST
How about the quality of life for the fish??
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Jun 4, 2014 11:50 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Jay- not yet!

Mary Stella- happy and healthy critters are of utmost concern to us on our farm. Thumbs up I'm sure that means different things to different people, but to us, for our fish, that means they are well fed, and live in a stress free environment (stable/healthy water and no predators).
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 4, 2014 12:05 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Right. Unhappy fish won't last long. If our fish could talk I'm sure they'd say they were happy. Well, as happy as a fish could be, I guess.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Jun 4, 2014 2:16 PM CST
That was a great podcast Dave and Trish, I really enjoyed it. I love the concept of aquaponics and have used it for years in ornamental ponds, it's the same idea as a skippy filter for a pond. However, you need fish that poop a lot for the plants to do well and right now I am keeping only small tropicals in my ponds. I use the water for plants but it isn't complete enough or have enough nitrates in it to be used hydroponically.

On the podcast you said that you took a video of the farm including the greenhouse and hydro tank. Where is that video? I looked for it but couldn't find it. I'd love to see it.

Great work, I might even say 'brilliant' Whistling
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 4, 2014 2:35 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Thanks Jonna. Smiling

Here's the videos for you to enjoy: The thread "Video tour of some of our gardens" in All Things Gardening forum
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Jun 4, 2014 5:21 PM CST
Great podcast - thank you so much and yes, it was me that asked for it. Thank you for your kind words Lovey dubby

I was wondering if this one was big enough to feed your family but you answered the question. I just think it's so cool you'll be able to have fresh produce in the winter. WOW!

I'm so sorry about too much rain. That happened to us last summer.

My Little Business and Rhinestone Kid are still in bud. Not blooming yet.

Dave, you did post a photo of your mushroom compost but that was at your "other" garden Whistling

Thanks again for all this info.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 5, 2014 10:26 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I'm glad you liked the podcast, Vic. Smiling And thank you for suggesting the topic!
Name: Phillip
brayton tn. (Zone 7b)
Region: United States of America Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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homeshow
Jun 7, 2014 1:31 PM CST
Just listened to the podcast last night. Great subject. Any chance.of a parts and materials list? If I knew how much time and money are involved in the build. I could better gauge when I want to start.

How big of a grow bed could you manage off of 1 "tote" full of fish?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jun 7, 2014 6:15 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Hi Philip,

Actually, there is a tremendous resource out there that you should download:

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/Travis/IBCofAquaponics1.pd... (Warning: Big PDF file!)

It's a book length document loaded with pictures and everything you need. Check it out!

As for money, it's really the tote ($50?) and a few PVC fittings ($20 perhaps) along with a little pond pump ($20?) So pretty cheap, comparatively.

The tote's growbed is about 4 feet by 4 feet, so 16 square feet. I'm currently growing several tomatoes, a pepper, a zucchini, swiss chard, several lettuces and onions, and others that I can't remember right now. Smiling Check out the document above and let me know if you have any questions and I'll be glad to answer them. Smiling

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