Aquaponic Gardening

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Hello everyone! I have been thinking on it for a while and I have decided that I would like to go to school to learn about and aquire a skillset to push my aquaponics system to its maximum potential. I know little of the difference of horticulture and agriculture though.

 

First let me explain where I want to be and what I plan on doing. In the next ten years I plan on living in southeastern Alaska near Juno and owning a few acres of land. I will have a full greenhouse to house a small pond and the growbeds as well as a work area, nersery, storage and a hut outside for duckweed and soldier flys. I also plan on having a small out door garden to grow additional plants (in the soil) during the summer. Lastly I want to raise small animals like chickens, rabits, and pigs, maybe even goats or a milk cow and a meat cow. I figure the cow can come later, if at all, and I will start slow with the animals, kind of learning as I go I guess.

 

Now what I do know about agriculture is that it deals with legitimate farming, in the ground, and with animals or animal husbantry. I figure that would help with my animal ambitions however what I plan on doing with animals isn't going to be a large scale operation at all. Just enough to suppliment my families cost of food if not eliminate it all together. As far as the farming comes in, i grew up on a farm and though I wasn't all involved with every aspect of the farm I feel that I know enough to start and I can research on my own to get by with soil farming and either degree I decide on will fill in the rest.

 

What I understand of Horticulture is that it deals more souly on plants and gardens, everything from vegetables to exotic flowers and ferns. I can't say I give a tinkers darn about anything I can't eat or use in hurbalism and medicine or even landscaping. However I do care about the universal inner workings of plants, what diseases they can catch, the bugs that eat them, and the different effects of nutritional deffisencies. I want the ability to know how to see "something coming" and correct the issue before it becomes a real problem.

 

My real question is, what degree is going to be most benifictial to me and my family with keeping my aquaponics system running, pushing it to its max (health and production wise), keeping the whole operation completely self sufficient, and the engineering efficentcy. I know I can't have my cake and eat it too but is there anything out there that would maybe cover everything I would be doing maybe including the animals too?

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You might want to contact the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and see if they can provide better studies info for your path ahead.

University of Alaska (Fairbanks)
School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
Department of High Latitude Agriculture
P.O. Box 757140
Fairbanks, AK  99775
Carol E. Lewis, Dean & Director
907-474-7083
fax:  907-474-6567
e-mail:  fysnras@uaf.edu
or
Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station
Palmer Center for Sustainable Living
Matanuska Experiment Farm
1509 N. Trunk Road
Palmer, AK  99645
Carol E. Lewis, Dean & Director
907-474-7083
fax: 907-474-6567
or contact
Norm Harris, Administrator
1509 S. Georgeson Drive
Palmer, AK 99645
907-746-9495
e-mail:  fysnras@uaf.edu
Web: http://www.uaf.edu/snras/departments/high-latitude-agriculture/
or http://www.uaf.edu/snras/afes/
or http://www.uaf.edu/snras/afes/palmer-research-extension/
Natural Resources Management (B.S.) offered through the University of Alaska with option in High Latitude Agriculture includes research at the Matanuska Experiment Farm in sustainable agriculture, land reclamation and other environmental issues.

Your choice of major could be limited by which colleges you may or may not want to attend but all other things being equal, you sound more interested in what horticulture would teach. Most of the schools that I looked at had an agriculture department with a variety of majors within it, horticulture being one of those. That program in high lat agri sounds cool. I would look in to horticulture majors with perhaps an agribusiness minor.

Cameron,

Check out those which fit what you want to major in, if you can even find one which centers on your goals. Nothing against education, but do not wait, go ahead now and start an aquaponics system and learn from it. Ask questions on forums and online and just do it. And you will find that you are going to by way ahead of the class and most of those teaching it and then your schooling will teach you the science behind what you are actually doing.

Thanks everyone!

 

I purchased some more books, this time more centered to plant propogation, and I think that horticulture will be the best bet. Since reading I have descovered something that I would never think about. I want to save my own seeds to plant again but the book was telling me about how the reproduce, I also learned that some plants can be crossed with another simular species through wind and insect pollination. Thats bad lol. I always knew that you could do that on purpose but never thought about it accedently happening. Anyway, that and how it happens is more of the kind of thing that I want to learn. How to grow plants strong and pure.

 

I looked into a little bit what you guys have been talking about. I grew up on a farm in Alabama, Tuscaloosa to be exact, and as much as it pains me to say this but I know Auburn has one of the leading Agriculture devisions, or so I was told. I am currently in the navy but maybe when I get out I will go there? In the mean time I am sure I can find something wherever I am at to learn and keep the time between active in my goals. One thing, since I am going to rais chickens, rabbits, and pigs, maybe I can find an apprinticeship with a butcher? I tried a while back and thats going to be easier said than done. But who wouldn't want free labor right?

 

Your absolutly right Jim, I am inbetween places right now though. I am about to leave my command in VA and I am about to go to Mississippi for a 9mo school in Meteorology and then we will see where we go from there. I plan though to set up an aquaponics system in my gerage. I already have a 55 gallon tank, grow lights, a pump, a 65g barrel to use as the sump tank, the plastic lining to use for the grow beds and various other stuff. All I am missing is PVC and Wood to use to build the grow beds and to raise up the lighting. The system once complete will use a bell syphon with two separate grow beds and a small seedling nursery. I will use Talapia if I can get the license otherwise catfish. I have a few more of the 65g barrels, two have been tearned into rain barrels and the last is being saved to be a duckweed tank by turning the barrel on its side and the side, now top, of the barrel cut out. My only concern is about winter cold. 90% of all gerages will not keep warmth very well in the winter.... realistically I want this system to run all year round.

Cameron, most people would disagree with me on this subject, but I strongly question the benefits vs. the cost of a large number of college majors. Personally, I dedicated myself to learning, but decided to spend the money I'd use for college on home study resources to gain knowledge and life experience. College is beneficial, for sure, but it can also cost a fortune and many people sadly don't get a proper return on their investment.

I don't know where you're at with your level of gardening, but if you're interested in talking about it, I might be able to point you to a few good concepts to take your aquaponics or gardening to the next level. Worst comes to worst, home study makes your college exams a heck of a lot easier ;)

You can send me a friend request on this site and we can message there, or you can email me privately at theaquaponicguy@gmail.com

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