It’s starting to get busy around here! I hope to soon update you all on the goats and our newest additions, chickens!! For right now though my head is underwater. Fishy, fishy water. Our latest project on the farm is setting up an aquaponics system (more on that in a bit). We spent this past weekend setting up a greenhouse that will provide shelter for the system. It is a 10X20 temporary hoop house with plastic sheeting for winter and a sunshade for summer. This will provide shade and airflow during the deep heat of our Texas summers, and warmth and protection during the few freezing days of winter. The greenhouse will allow us to expand our growing season to almost year round.
To set up the greenhouse we first measured out the spacing for the base of the aquaponics tanks. Then we needed to dig holes to fit square pavers, back-filling with sand to ensure level footing. This was by far the harder job of the day and took a couple hours. Finally, we set up the frame of the greenhouse under supervision of the goats, of course!
Our system is being delivered this week but will have to sit and wait until after the holidays to be set up. In the meantime here is a little info about aquaponics and the company we purchased our system from.
So, what the heck is aquaponics? Here is my short answer: Aquaponics is a combination of Hydroponics and Aquaculture. Hydroponics is a method for growing plants without soil, using only water and added nutrients. Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants in controlled environments. These two concepts are combined to create a system where aquatic animals and food crops grow symbiotically. Basically, there is a big tank that holds fish, catfish in our case, and a bed for growing plants. As roots develop, the fish water is oxygenated and as the fish poop, the plants are fed nutrients. This is a very basic description but I am sure AK will chime in shortly with way more information.
We have been working closely with a company out of Boulder,CO
They have an amazing team who helped us pick a system that would work best for our needs. The best news is that they will be flying out early in the year to install our system in return for filming it for their own website! We are very excited to work with this company and get our system up and growing.