Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Are you interested in growing commercially?  Do you already grow commercially?  This is the place for exchanging ideas and experiences, and making new contacts in commercial aquaponic agriculture

 

You might also consider joining the Commercial Aquaponics discussion group for lots more information and discussion

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Gina,

I appreciate your thoughtful and detailed response.the pump I have now is 95 watts.. I would have to look up the air pump that they recommended.

I just want to add that part of my hesitancy was in spending an additional $800-900 or so that I was quoted (around $450 for air blower,$200-250 for air stones, etc) to also have what I thought would be a lot of additional maintance/cleaning and high electricity costs  because I wasn't sure yet if it was necessary. Before having the issues I had I was having some fairly quick growing and beautiful looking harvests for the weekly buying club.

I know I would be getting really fast growth with air stones every 4', but although I didn't record it, it seemed growth was still pretty quick until the issues happened and I had lower stocking density at that time too.

You bring up valid points in regards to planting space being taken up on the system, especially for leafy greens/lettuces. The variety of items we were wanting to grow it just seemed to make sense to have a media based system. Maybe it will be that we need to have both but was really trying to keep it simple. Maybe I'll learn more when I visit but labor doesn't seem like it would be much more intense as described.

Re: Pine Bark- I'm aware of the acidity of pine bark. I visited the University of Florida research center (IFAS)  in Wimauma and saw that they had experimented with veggies growing in aged pine bark mulch (very large nuggets) but it was hydroponic not AP and was doing well.

We've just recently (last Friday) replaced only two out of the 55 towers with pine bark nuggets (risky though, as they weren't aged, and may possibly cause nitrogen leaching).  Plus one tower tower was replaced with aged pine bark. Interestingly that one is not looking as good, I think the nuggets may be too large. We also added some of each media in a couple of the rafts. I posed the question of acidity to them at the research center and they said they had not noticed any neg effects.They said that after a couple of weeks of running water through it that it didn't test acidic at all..sounds kind of strange. The tomatoes were amazing though.  They said that they got excellent growth as well from other veggies that they had grown in the towers. 

I did test the pine bark last week. I let it sit overnight in a glass jar before putting in the system...can't remember but I think it tested at 5.5 one time and then at 6 another. I used ph paper one time and drops another. I once spoke with the aquaculture facility in Ruskin and they mentioned that sometimes home tests aren't reliable. So who knows.  I really need to get better at recording all my experiments too, lol.

 

I do look forward to visiting, things just keep coming up here. How about the end of next week sometime around the 21st or 22nd? I'll call you tomorrow.

 

Michelle

 

 

BTW, I forgot to add that if the pine bark wasn't a viable option, expanded slate is what we would probably go with.

It is mined out of NC and pretty cost effective, as there is a yard I could pick it up from not too far away...

3/8" size in Palmetto (which I have now) and 1/2" size

in Tampa.

Michelle Silva said:

Gina,

I appreciate your thoughtful and detailed response.the pump I have now is 95 watts.. I would have to look up the air pump that they recommended.

I just want to add that part of my hesitancy was in spending an additional $800-900 or so that I was quoted (around $450 for air blower,$200-250 for air stones, etc) to also have what I thought would be a lot of additional maintance/cleaning and high electricity costs  because I wasn't sure yet if it was necessary. Before having the issues I had I was having some fairly quick growing and beautiful looking harvests for the weekly buying club.

I know I would be getting really fast growth with air stones every 4', but although I didn't record it, it seemed growth was still pretty quick until the issues happened and I had lower stocking density at that time too.

You bring up valid points in regards to planting space being taken up on the system, especially for leafy greens/lettuces. The variety of items we were wanting to grow it just seemed to make sense to have a media based system. Maybe it will be that we need to have both but was really trying to keep it simple. Maybe I'll learn more when I visit but labor doesn't seem like it would be much more intense as described.

Re: Pine Bark- I'm aware of the acidity of pine bark. I visited the University of Florida research center (IFAS)  in Wimauma and saw that they had experimented with veggies growing in aged pine bark mulch (very large nuggets) but it was hydroponic not AP and was doing well.

We've just recently (last Friday) replaced only two out of the 55 towers with pine bark nuggets (risky though, as they weren't aged, and may possibly cause nitrogen leaching).  Plus one tower tower was replaced with aged pine bark. Interestingly that one is not looking as good, I think the nuggets may be too large. We also added some of each media in a couple of the rafts. I posed the question of acidity to them at the research center and they said they had not noticed any neg effects.They said that after a couple of weeks of running water through it that it didn't test acidic at all..sounds kind of strange. The tomatoes were amazing though.  They said that they got excellent growth as well from other veggies that they had grown in the towers. 

I did test the pine bark last week. I let it sit overnight in a glass jar before putting in the system...can't remember but I think it tested at 5.5 one time and then at 6 another. I used ph paper one time and drops another. I once spoke with the aquaculture facility in Ruskin and they mentioned that sometimes home tests aren't reliable. So who knows.  I really need to get better at recording all my experiments too, lol.

 

I do look forward to visiting, things just keep coming up here. How about the end of next week sometime around the 21st or 22nd? I'll call you tomorrow.

 

Michelle

 

 

What media are you planning to use in your vertical towers?



Michelle Silva said:

BTW, I forgot to add that if the pine bark wasn't a viable option, expanded slate is what we would probably go with.

It is mined out of NC and pretty cost effective, as there is a yard I could pick it up from not too far away...

3/8" size in Palmetto (which I have now) and 1/2" size

in Tampa.

Michelle Silva said:

Gina,

I appreciate your thoughtful and detailed response.the pump I have now is 95 watts.. I would have to look up the air pump that they recommended.

I just want to add that part of my hesitancy was in spending an additional $800-900 or so that I was quoted (around $450 for air blower,$200-250 for air stones, etc) to also have what I thought would be a lot of additional maintance/cleaning and high electricity costs  because I wasn't sure yet if it was necessary. Before having the issues I had I was having some fairly quick growing and beautiful looking harvests for the weekly buying club.

I know I would be getting really fast growth with air stones every 4', but although I didn't record it, it seemed growth was still pretty quick until the issues happened and I had lower stocking density at that time too.

You bring up valid points in regards to planting space being taken up on the system, especially for leafy greens/lettuces. The variety of items we were wanting to grow it just seemed to make sense to have a media based system. Maybe it will be that we need to have both but was really trying to keep it simple. Maybe I'll learn more when I visit but labor doesn't seem like it would be much more intense as described.

Re: Pine Bark- I'm aware of the acidity of pine bark. I visited the University of Florida research center (IFAS)  in Wimauma and saw that they had experimented with veggies growing in aged pine bark mulch (very large nuggets) but it was hydroponic not AP and was doing well.

We've just recently (last Friday) replaced only two out of the 55 towers with pine bark nuggets (risky though, as they weren't aged, and may possibly cause nitrogen leaching).  Plus one tower tower was replaced with aged pine bark. Interestingly that one is not looking as good, I think the nuggets may be too large. We also added some of each media in a couple of the rafts. I posed the question of acidity to them at the research center and they said they had not noticed any neg effects.They said that after a couple of weeks of running water through it that it didn't test acidic at all..sounds kind of strange. The tomatoes were amazing though.  They said that they got excellent growth as well from other veggies that they had grown in the towers. 

I did test the pine bark last week. I let it sit overnight in a glass jar before putting in the system...can't remember but I think it tested at 5.5 one time and then at 6 another. I used ph paper one time and drops another. I once spoke with the aquaculture facility in Ruskin and they mentioned that sometimes home tests aren't reliable. So who knows.  I really need to get better at recording all my experiments too, lol.

 

I do look forward to visiting, things just keep coming up here. How about the end of next week sometime around the 21st or 22nd? I'll call you tomorrow.

 

Michelle

 

 

Having started a business myself, I can tell you that if you love doing it, you're in the right business. If you love doing it and money is an issue, you need to plan and start small growing as you produce and generate cash. I would advise against debt but remember overall the goal is the generation of revenue (in the business sense).

Michelle,

 

Here is guide that might help you build a high tunnel: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/Assets/Information/HighTunnelBendermanua...

 

Brian



Michelle Silva said:

Wow,possibly, I never checked.  So far, I am still needing to buy from a lot from other local organic farms until more is ready to harvest from mine.. ..only harvesting lettuce, some herbs and soon some other greens(Pak choy),some didn't do well that I planted early (broccoli,cukes,etc),some like squash have blossom drop or rot, some other flowering things were having a bit of a slow start,getting cherry tomatoes now,but when the weather turned the cold they started to not look that great. The strawberries are flowering more and see some fruit.
Peppers- I accidentally planted in the rafts i/o verticals,but are coming up and flowering nicely- only planted a few rafts of them, won't be enough for the members yet..still figuring that part out.

I planted a little of this and little of that instead of enough for all but I'm having fun with it...looking forward to the herb towers being fully grown in so can harvest a lot from them!

I went to an Ag conference Monday in Wimauma, mostly all about soiless farming and the benefits of low and high tunnels in Florida ..wish I had one now ...very interesting.
Sylvia Bernstein said:

I think you are the only commercial aquaponics farm I've heard of that is offering a CSA style model.  Are you the only one?

We have used the bender, shown in the Johnny's pdf, and it works great.  My recommendation would be to mount it vertically, on a deck or side of a building, if possible.  With 2 good size guys, it took us both of us to finish the bends.  We have 4 structures, that were cheap, light & portable and durable.  1 Chicken coop, a seedling house, run in shed for the horse and one that is currently not in use.

Here is a link to the maker of the benders....

 http://www.lostcreek.net/

I bought a small one from them that makes 4 foot hoops. They sent it out very quick and it's pretty easy to use. I used it to cover my DWC troughs.

Check with your local extension office....I remember hearing, at least in FL, there is a program for commercial farms,  in getting financial help to use hoops.

Hi there to all. I am so glad to have joined this forum!

My name is Chris lee, I live in Southern New Jersey. I have recently inherited 17 acres in a rural area and plan on starting a commercial aquaponics with Tilapia and various types of Lettuces. 

I am currently looking to partner up with someone or if someone is in need of land usage I am also flexible. 

I am currently in Northern Cali, doing an apprenticeship on a commercial aquaponics farm.

Be great to hear from ya all!

Speaking of "large dreams about doing great things for people", I would like to say "THANK YOU" to all of you who support this new way of food sustainability. We too, at One Community Ranch, offer an open source sustainable project which supports food sustainable projects such as permaculture and aquaponics. We are looking for a couple of aquaponic experts to guide us through our food sustainability projects endeavour and hopefully become members too! With all that you do here in Aquaponics Community, I feel compelled to invite anyone who would like to share their aquaponics expertise in introducing a sustainable food production included in an everyday lifestyle for everyone around the world. Please visit our website: www.sustainabilitynonprofit.org

Thank you for being part of the change we want to see in this world.

Namaste,

Angela

One Community Pioneer member



Sylvia Bernstein said:

You guys have large dreams about doing great things for people - don't let a little thing like money scare you away! My advice is to stick with the mantra "there just has to be a better way". I agree with Jeff that the biggest opportunities are in the colder climates, so if I were you guys I'd be throwing all my energy into uncovering all the ways that people are heating greenhouses inexpensively. I know it can be done, between heat energy given off from composting matter, to solar positioning of the greenhouse itself, to geo-thermal, there just has to be a way to do this economically. Keep fighting the good fight, guys!

Dear Christopher Meunier,

I would like to say "THANK YOU" to all of you who support this new way of food sustainability. We too, at One Community Ranch, offer an open source sustainable project which supports food sustainable projects such as permaculture and aquaponics. We are looking for a couple of aquaponic experts to guide us through our food sustainability projects endeavour and hopefully become members too! With all your sound advices made in Aquaponics Community forums, I feel compelled to invite you and anyone you know who would like to share their aquaponics expertise in introducing a sustainable food production included in an everyday lifestyle for everyone around the world--a world-changing view. Please visit our website: www.sustainabilitynonprofit.org

Thank you for being part of the change we want to see in this world.

Many thanks,

Angela

One Community Pioneer member



Jeff Givan said:

First of all, I have been gone awhile, but glad to be back here online and learning. Just thought I would throw in my two cents worth. We have looked at a lot of different business plans, some for the same location and some in very different locations. Costs of build out will vary greatly due to considerations for weather, extreme exposure and many other factors. Costs will also vary greatly on the type of systems that you build and the reasons for picking one system over another vary greatly as well. Costs will also vary greatly if your the do it yourself type vs. paying contractors.

Living here in the desert in Southern California we have an interesting set of circumstances to deal with. If we built greenhouses like our friends in the midwest or Canada all we would have is cooked fish and plants. The temperatures in those greenhouse could easily reach 140+. Our growhouses would probably be more of a hoop house frame with shade cloth only. With the warmth of the water we could easily protect the fish and plants from our coldest nights in the winter. We only frosted over night twice in the last 5 years. We also have high winds we have to be concerned about so that has to be taken into consideration in construction of the frame. Also, our UV concentration is extremely high, we would need to use at a minimum 75% shade cloth, plus run what we call a swamp cooler (evaporative coolers) to increase the humidity. For over 90% of the year our humidity is less than 15%.

I still want to do this commercially! The future is now for this concept. And, by the way Chris Smith, I enjoyed meeting your Father when he came out hear to buy some Tilapia. Sounds like you have him hooked :-)

Does anyone have a business plan that has been successful for a commercial aquaponics system. I am in the military, and am going to be getting out next year. Would like to begin the process now. I have been doing major studying on this subject, and really look forward to eating and supplying organic vegetables/produce, and farm raised fish. My wife and I also would like to start our own Raw Food restaurant someday, and to provide much of our own product would be great. Thanks for any help. I would be doing this in or near San Antonio TX.

Sam Boorse  sboorse@me.com

Hello everyone

I’m from Italy and I’m new in Aquaponic

My company would like to realize a commercial aquaponic system inside an old factory in Turin.

At the moment I need to understand the cost-benefit of the investment.

Is there someone in Italy or elsewhere who can help me??

Thanks  

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