A warm welcome to the Blog which is a diary of my quest to grow garden crops in aquaponics. Combine hydroponics- the growing of plants in water with aquaculture, the growing of fish and that's aquaponics. Plants are fed with nitrates which are found in the fish waste after helpful bacterias have converted the dangerous ammonia and nitrites in to plant food. In the UK we are a little behind but in the US and Australia it is common to find systems in back gardens. Some of the benefits are: no watering - plants have constant access to water - no weeding and no fertilisers required as all nutrients come from the fish waste. There are massively accelerated seed to cropping times. Because all the plant's requirements are provided constantly, they can be planted much closer together than normal. In addition, some of the water can be diverted to irrigate and feed plants growing in soilless water pipes.
My small system is set up in a Polytunnel, known in the USA as a hoop house. This provides a lovely bright environment which retains heat from sunshine and because of the diffused polythene covering, seems to be brighter than the outside. The polytunnel was supplied locally in Devon by Ferryman Polytunnels Ltd. It came flat packed and erection was relatively easy, however, it was a serious project and quite hard work for one person but two people could put it up in a day or so. I would recommend that you got some help as four hands would be far better than two. It is light, bright and airy with sliding doors at both ends and is mounted on a solid pre-existing concrete base. Gordon and Jo at Ferryman were very helpful and at the end of the phone whenever I needed help which was quite often to be honest! In the end I was left with a wonderful "bolt hole" to escape to and enjoy, what more could a man want and my grandchildren describe it as Granddads pleasure palace!
I started the project by researching online and I quickly discovered more and more about aquaponics. I had originally been aware and became inspired on a trip to the Epcot Centre, Disneyland way back in the 1970s. 40 years later when I had the time and inclination to set up my own growing system I original thought that Hydroponics would be the answer for me but as soon as I discovered more about aquaponics, then there was no contest. For me it ticked all the boxes and being able to keep and grow fish in a perfect environment and then enjoy them in prime condition, always knowing that I was providing for them perfectly seemed just too good to overlook.
One of the very lucky breaks for me was discovering that within 5 minutes of my house there is a Hydroponic supplier that has everything required - apart from fish. Not only do Progrow stock an amazing plethora of equipment, they also have inspiring set ups on display in their large showroom. The guys at Progrow
are obviously very knowledgable about all aspects of indoor gardening and are also a great free source of advice, tips and great hints, based on the knowledge that they have gleaned from all of there customers. They supply to 70 different countries so they must be doing something right. Click on the link here to go to their online shop.
Prowgrow Sales and Customer Service
01392 276998 info@progrow www.progrow.co.uk
No5 Westwood Units
Marsh Barton Industrial Estate
Exeter Devon EX2 8QF