Aquaponic Gardening

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We all use a variety of different grow planters and containers, some purchased and some DIY self made. It would be nice to share our experiences and on-going developments in this area (including vertical growing containers / systems)

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Here is one recent post that I enjoyed and would like to share. I have contacted the one of the developers at Amberol and hopefully will try to get a couple to research with :-)

Amberol, which employs 26 people, has developed six different pots designed for growing vegetables in urban areas and allowing gardeners to water only twice a week instead of twice a day. These containers are referred to as the 'Harvest Arrange', a part of the company's original Aquafeed line of self-watering planters.

The tagline, 'the trick is in the wick' describes the containers' technology, which uses a series of high capacity capillary action wicks to draw water up from a large built in water storage chamber. This water is then released onto an expander pad that disperses water evenly, releasing nutrients into the soil base, and ensuring that the crops are not over watered or allowed to go dry.

Gardeners only have to fill this reservoir twice a week and top watering is never necessary, saving water as well as time.

"Some people don't have time to devote to a garden," said Williamson. "But we still want them to experience the taste of fresh carrots or lettuce just brought in from the garden. These containers allow that flexibility."
Or one can look up wicking beds. It is not mandatory to buy costly technology to use the idea of the wicking bed or self watering planter. It can be as simple as drilling holes in a bucket several inches above the bottom and filling the bottom with coarse materials and then using potting mix above that. We set up some wicking beds at the cooks parent's place. They were simply a couple of the water tanks I have used for grow beds but instead of hooking them to an aquaponics system I drilled some holes in them about half way up then we filled the bottom with wood chips and put compost and potting mix on top of that. Works quite well.

I'm testing out some of my own wicking beds this season. A couple are raised beds made out of my old leaking lumber/liner beds. Another is one of those old lumber boxes on the round with liner in the bottom 4 inches. Finally I've done one wicking bed that is liner set into a trench in the ground with the bottom filled with mulch and we have now piled a nice raised bed layer of compost on top. There is another similar raised bed of compost in another section of my garden but minus the liner so I'll be able to compare if the in the ground wicking bed works better or not.

Granger Plastics Partners with Aquaponics Leader

Wonderful article and product...especially for the newbie backyard Aquaponic gardener (even those well versed in this field)


"In November, 2009 Sylvia Bernstein started The Aquaponic Source with her husband Alan and set out on a mission to become the trusted resource for everything the home aquaponics gardener needs. Part of this vision included offering a complete, turn-key home aquaponics system. This system would need to be durable, attractive and able to be used both indoors and outdoors depending on the season. Working with an American company was also at the top of their list of requirements as well as being as environmentally conscious as possible. The rotomolding process and innovation Granger Plastics Company is known for throughout the World fit right into their vision. Granger offers an American manufacturing facility; state of the art engineering and materials as well as an active in-house recycling program dedicated to environmental responsibility. With the debut of the AquaBundance® system manufactured by The Granger Plastics Company the entire aquaponics community can participate in the Bernstein's vision to make this method of sustainable gardening available to all."

No problem with Sylvias products at all...


But had to laugh at the "poetic licence" taken by Granger in the link provided...


The Granger Plastics Company has entered into the world of sustainable living by manufacturing the first Rotationally Molded Aquaponics system in the World.



Sahib Punjabi said:

Granger Plastics Partners with Aquaponics Leader

Im not sure but for a 5 gal wicking planter, couldnt you get a 5 gallon bucket, drill holes in the bottom, put in soilles mix (peat moss or coco coir) and then put a big saucer filled with H2O under it? Am i missing something here?
Yep... a marketing manager... and timing...  

And here's a good example of marketing... or "poetic license".... seems we're all wasting our time here....


It's already been done... and has a "patent pending"...


These people... seems to have developed a revolutionary new concept...

a polyculture system that combines aquaculture, vermiculture, and hydroponic agriculture into a balanced symbiotic state that produces all natural healthy fish, vegetables, and fruit for consumption.

Apparantly this is different from "aquaponics"... because...

Aquaponics is the balance between only fish and plants.  Fishy Farm firmly believes that balance is impossible without the vermiculture aspect. Without the worms, the systems are still missing a key component of biological automation that provides removal of solids, micro-organisms, micro-nutrients and amino acids found in "worm tea".

Claims to not only have a revolutionary new process CEF... "Continous Ebb & Flow"

Fishy Farm's unique Continuous Ebb & Flow architecture (CEF) creates a perfect balance in the system.  Traditional systems use a timer to control when the bed is flooded.  This requires a much larger ratio of plants to fish to maintain a healthy balance.  Fishy Farms maintain a constant water exchange, allowing the entire water volume to be exchanged with a much smaller growing area.  CEF architecture also increases the dissolved oxygen available to ensure healthy plants and fish.

A "patent pending" on a revolutionary new device...

CEF Architecture : Patent Pending device that maintains a constant exchange of water ensuring constant filtration which provides a much safer environment for fish.

And is described as an "Automated Production Systems".....


It's a "Chift Pist/Chop" system... click on "How it works"...


And then there's this... in case you might be worried about the untreated wood... or that it's like every other aquaponics system...

8.  I heard wood was bad because it rots, expands/contracts, termites, etc?

Yes, unless it's a Fishy Farm, it's bad.  In fact, Fishy Farm's patent pending manufacturing method is what solved these issues allowing for the beauty of wood without any of the problems.

Traditionally home built systems are made from untreated wood and a pond liner for holding the water.  A moist environment and untreated wood is a bad combination.  There are significant temperature differences between the temperature of the water and temperature of the wood which leads to condensation.  It is the condensation between the liner and wood which promotes wood rot.  Termites and other pests are attracted to rotting wood leading to greater damage.

Fishy Farm's patent-pending manufacturing process bonds a specialized FDA approved coating to the wood, on both the interior and exterior of our systems.  This bonding process completely encapsulates the wood in a food safe, UV waterproof seal that requires no maintenance and will protect your investment for life, even in the harshest weather conditions.

No water damage = No wood rot = No problems!

9. Why is your system made of wood instead of plastic?

We can honestly make a Fishy Farm out of anything. Wood, metal, plastic, bamboo, concrete, heck we could even make one out of papier-mâché if we wanted to. Our patent pending manufacturing method allows us to do this. The reason we chose wood is simple. It's beautiful, it's durable, it's renewable and with our bonding process, it will last forever. Any information to the contrary is usually perpetuated by competitors selling plastic tubs.

10. Is your system ebb and flow or continuous?

Neither. Our patent-pending CEF (continuous ebb and flow) technology combines the benefit of both traditional techniques. Unlike timer system that require a rest period of 45 minutes, CEF provides a constant water exchange. This increases the DO (dissolved oxygen) in the water and provides continuous filtration for the fish. CEF technology also provides the versatility of ebb and flow, allowing you to directly seed and carry a wide variety of plant types.

So you heard it hear first folks.....


Well... apparantly you didn't... it was all developed over the last couple of years by some people on a farm in Oregon...

AJ, YES!  That's all a wicking bed is really.  Or self watering planter.  It's a planter with a water tray in the bottom.  People have been doing it for decades without even knowing they were doing it.
Gr8 thanks TC.  I will have to this with my potted plants in my greenhouse to save me time :)
keep in mind that most people allow wicking beds to dry out a bit before watering them again and water will only wick up so far and it will vary depending on the planting media or compost.
good tips TC thanks for the info!

Here's a couple of young people on a bucket misson:


I bought the commercial version of the wicking bed for my wife to try because she knows the inventor through her work (  I have to say that it works quite well, although some people don't like the price tag. It's pretty simple to use and it's going to grow us the biggest cucumbers I've ever been able to grow at home.


Here's another version of the wicking bed / container idea:

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