Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

So I moved into this shared living arrangement not too long ago and have brought my interest in growing food. The backyard is big and the space has a history of communal building. We have a tree house and a fish pond; both were built by residents. 

Location New Orleans LA:

  • The pond is a rectangular hole cut through concrete and aerated by a waterfall type thing. The current system has koi and some useless plant. I'm thinking about setting up some grow towers and running the pond through them.

But the real topic is way out back. What we have now:

  • a very large hole, a second tier, two hills, and a delta type thing in between the hills. OK... maybe I should take some pictures... but for now just imagine.
  • the bottom of the hole has several inches of water now. Tadpoles have sprung into life in abundance.
  • Long grass grows
  • tree saplings
  • pretty good sun
  • an alligator, about ten inches

The idea I've come up with is:

  • several ponds varying in elevation and size connected. The grow material will be dirt and the beds will be built into and irrigated by the hill/pond system.
  • How do we prevent dilution from rain water? We don't
  • How do we keep water in the system? I think a combination of liners and excavated and tamped clay. I think The system just has to be pretty efficient at catching and holding the precipitation we get.


Is this kind of system possible? manageable? build able? I dunno but I'm gonna find out and I thought this place might have some thoughts. 

P.S pics are promised.

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Be warned: there will be cute pictures of a puppy and a cat.

Jon Parr said:

"Very cool, TC, look forward to reading your BYAP thread..."

@lee: yeah, that would be cool. My dad is working on a medium size project at their home uptown maybe all three of us could get together.

@ john: toxicity/ pH imbalance are my first concerns about the paper mache method. The cool thing is we already have clay in the hole which is one reason why there's been several feet of standing water in there for about a month, the other being the immense amount of summer precipitation down here. I've been thinking that the ideal system will integrate compact clay in some places and plastic liner in others. I'm curious to see what the water level will be like through the winter. I feel like project of this size requires a lot of research about my space specifically, different pond methods and materials, and how living things will deal with it.

When working on permaculture design, it is important to kinda sit back and watch the site, (live with the existing place) for usually a year before you go putting too much effort in making your own changes.  It is good to see the site in all seasons and pay attention to what is already happening naturally so you can work with rather than against what is going to tend to happen anyway and hopefully be able to take advantage of the things you like and figure out the easiest, most efficient and most natural ways to change the things that won't work for you, hopefully in ways that will be easy to maintain rather than a yearly battle to fix.

Take your time to do the research while you watch the site.  Run small scale experiments to help you in that research.

This post is more of an update than a search for knowledge, not because I don't need help, but because I feel sheepish asking for more guidance after completely disregarding the good advice I've gotten so far. All I can say is that if it were totally up to me things would be very different. 

We were contacted by an HG TV show called home strange home to do some filming here on 10/10/12. So this week Taco Tuesday turned into clean the house, fix the tree house, dig around in the hole, build up the tire wall, and lay down a bunch of tarp like material and finally one huge tarp. It's filling with water now. I am coming to grips with the peculiar realities of community projects. It's going to be a home made swimming pool for a few days and then a pond. 

We have a pretty serious pump, but I don't know how we're going to correct water conditions enough to support life.

So the bad news is that no one has any a very clear plan for transitioning this from a temporary home made pool to anything other than a huge mosquito breeding mess. The good news is that despite that the group is willing to expend large amounts of effort on this project.

So far for steps in the right direction I know we can contact mosquito control and get mosquito fish; 

set up rain water catchment; put some aquatic plants in there and see what happens.  

Op promises more pics later 

Sounds like fun, Dillon. Ponds aren't rocket science, you'll be fine. You can get fancy or keep it simple. If you plan on swimming in your pond long term, and I'm assuming an Aquaponics bed or marsh filter is not planned, then I'd at least suggest a 3" PVC pipe manifold at the bottom, covered with cobbles, and plumbed to some vertical airlift pumps to oxygenate and circulate the water. Throw in some mosquito and algae eaters, and there you go.

Would algae control additives be a good idea? Seems legit. 

Sooo..... Drunk people, or poor planning be blamed the back pond is a total train wreck. Instead pictures of my dads nascent setup. There's a turtle in the IBC, some tomatoes and little cucumbers.

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