Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I've had my tote system in for a month or 2, now.  Jim Troyer helped me cycle it within a day with water from his system, here in AZ.  270 gallon fish tank, 150 gallon sump and 2 garden beds.  When I originally started a man who wanted to sell me a system told me I'd have veggies for Thanksgiving if I started when I started.  With the headstart of cycling in a day I have only picked 5 okra and that was transplanted from my garden.  Have some green tomatoes from tomato transplants and things are growing, but I see the need for more beds, possibly lots of more beds.  AP has quickly become something that's on my mind a LOT, how to make the current system better, how to expand...  I got into AP because I have a son on the autistic spectrum.  Organic produce is $, it's a nice hobby (not that I really have time for one), and a good thing for the kids to experience.  The hope to eat quality organic, local food for less $, though, is the #1 reason I'm doing this.  As I look at how much $ I've put in so far and expanding, I wonder if it will save us money in the long run or should I limit my expansion only to what seems manageable for a hobby.  Is trying to feed a family of 5 for less $ than I'd pay for similar quality feasable, because if so it's an investment and it'd make sense to expand more quickly because I'd make the money back.

I understand we're not comparing apples to apples when it comes to food quality, either.  It's debatable how good veggies grown in plastic totes R with the AZ sun shining on them and when Ph isn't right to allow the veggies to take in all the nutrients as compared with organic crops grown in possibly depleted soil.  just measuring cost of organic food AP food, though, will I make my money back is the question. 

I'm wanting to at 20 ft of microgreens, 2 more garden beds (on lava rock and one floating raft) and possibly a stream/pond with another 30 ft of grow bed made out of wood and pond liner  unless I can come up with a better idea.  Looks matter to me which make it cost more.  I'd need to use a wood that wouldn't rot. 

I see that it depends how technical a person wants to get, too....  For a large system with a lot of fish I'd prefer to have back-ups in place where I wouldn't lose fish if a pump went out...  Now it's time to insulate here in AZ.  The costs keep coming since my system if newer and I know that will level out.  Will I get enough veggies to make it cost effective?  Do you?  thx!!   

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There should be  a break-even point, eventually, depending upon how much you think your vegies are worth.  Mine are worth a lot.

It’s difficult to quantify and the more you invest, the farther off that hypothetical break-even point is. My system entertains me - how much is that worth?  

Regarding backup, mine is solar, batteries and inverter.  If I had it to do over, I’d probably skip the solar and just keep a couple of deep cycle batteries charged.

I don’t insulate, other than my tank is in the ground. Native fish could spare you that expense.

George and Randall, thx so much for your replies!  I'm going to look into the deep cycle batteries charged. 

Randall, when u talk about flower pots, wicking bed gardens and raised beds, r u talking aquaponics or soil?  thx!

Randall.  thx for the reply and ideas!

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