Aquaponic Gardening

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"Gravel Pit Self Reclaiming Aquaponics System"I knew When I ordered the book that there must be more to Aquaponic Gardening than using waste water from my fish tank,

and am enjoying getting started reading it! Especially since what I've learned about so far has confirmed what I decided would happen by my pumping water to flood irrigate from the free flowing liner-less pond in my gravel pit onto the gravel surface. I was sure this was a success of some kind despite of a huge increase of string algae (I must have 10,000 Japanese Trap Door Snails in there now from this) as the orchard grass which could barely grow there before filled in nice and thick with it getting 5 feet tall in places, and I was right the cottonwood trees growing in a stand next to the pond has taken off quite well now from having fish in there.

Now that I know my fish will do well and that the filtration system works,,,so to speak, can't wait find out/or figure out from the book and this forum what more to do, I will begin adding more fish (I spent around $10 on them to begin with, common goldfish and rosy red minnows as a test) I want to add Koi and edible fish of some kind, not sure how many goldfish I have now, but there appears to be plenty of minnows and snails to support many fish without extra feed, though the hoards of water boatman bugs have been scared off or eaten and only a few remain. I also have Water Sedge plants (quick former of peat) and bulrush plants (a wetland edible) ordered for spring planting along with quite a few of my spring planting trees that are on order being ones that will do well in the swampy condition/while making a nice wind break, so I should have a good start on my filtering of the water!

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This is an elm tree started from a seed poked in for replacing a shrub willow that died on the far end of the gravel pits grow bed from the pond. The elm tree is 3 1/2 years old and is somewhere around 8 feet tall. To the elm's right with the reddish foliage is a golden currant, you can see some tires used as raised beds and for bacterial fungus control from the zinc.

Most of this area might be staying short like a chia pet but without the combination of the aquaponics and the duck farming/chicken farming, I don't believer I would have ever gotten this much grass growing on the gravel here. The 2 dry looking spots are actually straw I put out for bedding and improving foraging.

Just kind of a fun picture, the center duck has a bit of a crest. Lots of new saplings have come up to help feed water to the pond, the now flourishing grasses also help collect water vapor.

I can sure tell the difference in the fall color between the last two days and today from the photo I took, I think tomorrow or the next day I will try to take a comparison photo of the trees.

Earlier this year I had noticed the pond had gotten bigger even though it was shallower.

I took notice after noticing that it was from the ducks foraging in the sand and gravel, I thought certainly they must be making a mess for me to clean out at the bottom of the pond and that was how I got started cleaning out pond muck.

But only a few bucket fulls out of over a hundred bucketfuls of mostly fish waste were ones with a bit of sand and pea gravel.

No missing sand in pond, no missing sand in droppings.

On remeasuring the pond early this summer I found it had gone from 15' X 35' to 18' X 38'.

And so a few days ago when I thought this was a lot of sand to be missing, I decided "they must digest it, and that is why they make so much droppings when they eat little vegetation or feed".

So today I was asked by someone how big it is so I decided to measure it since I had noticed it got bigger.

This time, the pond went from 18' X 38' to 23' X 46' and now I realize why the level hasn't been coming up as much as it usually does this time of year, it actually has more water in it because it's so much bigger.

The way I figure there is 50% more water than normal in the pond when it is a dryer year than normal.

My pond has been frozen over since about the beginning of December.

No packing water to the ducks this year though.

The ducks started eating snow and are actually doing better eating the snow than the water I packed to them.

Lots of plans for spring, even more than usual.

Almost 700 seedlings on order, should keep me busy all spring!

I'm mostly planting evergreens this year.

I think I have the place in good enough shape to get a better survival rate out of them and they are more efficient than most broad-leaved trees at pulling water vapor out of the air.

Should help feed the pond extra water if this turns out.

Should also improve the snow catching capability/wind erosion control/dirt trap for other peoples wind erosion.

I am going to plant some fruit trees as well as Filberts (hazel nuts).

Somewhere between 2 and 4 years left before I can start harvesting bass, long term commitment investment these bass, they have to be 4 years old before they reproduce, going to wait till the offspring are old enough to reproduce.

My biggest fear is they (the bass) will be like my birds and be forever young and non-reproductive, even my oldest birds (3 years +) seem to still lay pullet eggs.

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