Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi

I am considering buying a roll of 800 gauge high density polyethylene to line my growbeds, is 800 gauge heavy enough?  i'll be using pea gravel as grow media,a roll of (HDPE) is very expensive,  i want to use plastic or rubber pond liner but i was concerned about the plastic leaching into the water!,  does rubber leach?  would leaching in ap systems gb or ft liner's hinder AP farmers from obtaining an organic cert?. thank you.

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If you are going for the low maint media based systems then the HDPE is probably the better choice as from my understanding (and I'm no expert on this) but the HDPE #2 plastic is pretty darn safe as far as plastics go. It tends not to have as many of the plasticizers that leach and act like hormones in the body (but that is really hearsay on my part as I've had trouble finding hard core facts on the subject.)

I think there is a large bonus to growing food at home cause you are eating it really fresh which preserves huge nutritional value and you can grow varieties for taste and nutrition rather than shipping and looks in the store. And of course growing foods without pesticides and herbicides sprayed all over them protects you from huge amounts of chemical ingestion. (Keeping in mind that many of the chemicals that people are freeked about leaching from plastics are very similar to some of the chemicals being sprayed on our food daily as pesticides and herbicides. It might be hard to know if we are getting those chemicals from the plastics the food was packaged in or if it was the byproduct of the chemical sprayed on them or even a byproduct of the GM modified plants themselves here in the USA.)

Anyway, good luck in the research.
I remember reading that most veg pack on their nutrient's in the last few days before bolting (i hear that ap veg is still tasty after bolting) and that in order to maximize profits they are being harvested prematurely, i dont know for sure how true this is, but if it is true, well the 5 veg a day that a gp recomends should be 10 a day or maby 12.
Im so happy that in a few months time i'll know exactly what's in the food im eating.

best wishes

TCLynx said:
If you are going for the low maint media based systems then the HDPE is probably the better choice as from my understanding (and I'm no expert on this) but the HDPE #2 plastic is pretty darn safe as far as plastics go. It tends not to have as many of the plasticizers that leach and act like hormones in the body (but that is really hearsay on my part as I've had trouble finding hard core facts on the subject.)

I think there is a large bonus to growing food at home cause you are eating it really fresh which preserves huge nutritional value and you can grow varieties for taste and nutrition rather than shipping and looks in the store. And of course growing foods without pesticides and herbicides sprayed all over them protects you from huge amounts of chemical ingestion. (Keeping in mind that many of the chemicals that people are freeked about leaching from plastics are very similar to some of the chemicals being sprayed on our food daily as pesticides and herbicides. It might be hard to know if we are getting those chemicals from the plastics the food was packaged in or if it was the byproduct of the chemical sprayed on them or even a byproduct of the GM modified plants themselves here in the USA.)

Anyway, good luck in the research.
There are so many variables when it comes to nutrition and taste the generalizations are probably not very helpful (it's like statistics, you can find numbers to prove just about anything so long as people don't examine the evidence too closely.)

But much of the food that is shipped thousands of miles is picked very early so that it can arrive at the destination before rotting. This often has a negative impact on taste with many types of fruit.

As for packing on the nutrients right before bolting, I don't know about that one and there are many lettuce types that do become more bitter as they get mature and most do definitely get bitter once they have bolted to seed. I don't think growing in soil or ap really changes that one. Many people do prefer the texture/flavor of baby lettuce and other baby greens so that has become quite the specialty item. Again, is it any healthier one way or the other, I don't know.

I can say it is healthier to eat very fresh foods and if you are growing your own you have more variety to choose from with also improves things. You can choose to grow things for taste and nutrition instead of saleability and shelf life. Eating fresh foods is very good.

AND

EATING FOODS YOU GROW YOURSELF has added value that you will only really know/understand once you have done it yourself. THE EMPOWERMENT OF PRODUCING YOUR OWN FOOD is immense.

Let me say that again

THE EMPOWERMENT OF PRODUCING YOUR OWN FOOD

That one reason is enough for me to continue doing this even if all the others were moot points.
I feel that eating good clean healthy food should be anybody's first reason for growing their own, ( if 'WE' arent healthy how can we help others) when it comes to AP growing the reason i am so exited about it is that i saw it as a way that people could be shown to feed themselves... forever... on a pittance or through trade of produce, we all know the people and countries im talking about, and 'necessity being the mother of invention' the people that live there are among the most resourceful on the planet, all they need is a chance, then, what could they teach US !, if a person doesn't have clean water i wouldn't hold out much chance of them having a healthy diet.

Getting back to information and statistics about nutrition, i feel the best way to know if the food we are eating is good, is to look at our eyes, skin, nails, hair, mood and stools! we've stopped doing the latter for the most part as humans, why! i think we've 'conveniently' forgotten the importance of it over time, we've also forgotten to put our own personal waste back where it came from... the ground beneath us like every other animal, (humanure), i'd like to meet the genius who thought that pumping it into the sea was a good idea, sounds to me like a bottom-line decision! (no pun intended) if we do manage to wreck our planet, when we are sitting in a cursed earth, one of the questions that might cross our minds might be... why did we let idiot's rule our world.
AQUAPONICS
take back your independence one grow bed at a time

I think i read in friendlys newsletter, we cant make more oil but we can generate our own electricty, ok, some people already knew that but i think the point could be, all you really need is aquaponics as far as your food is concerned.
Lets be an army of little ants and work together to feed ourselves in a clean, healthy and sustainable way.

it's late and im very tired, thanks for all the advice TC, and for your time.
if i may tc, id like to thank everybody at Aquaponic Gardening for helping us newbies, you are very generous with information and precious time, and when i have some experience i'll pay it forward, i'll be brave and wont be afriad to get it wrong, you've knocked months or years off our start-up time,
and thank you sylvia for creating this wonderfull space.
best wishes.






TCLynx said:
There are so many variables when it comes to nutrition and taste the generalizations are probably not very helpful (it's like statistics, you can find numbers to prove just about anything so long as people don't examine the evidence too closely.)

But much of the food that is shipped thousands of miles is picked very early so that it can arrive at the destination before rotting. This often has a negative impact on taste with many types of fruit.

As for packing on the nutrients right before bolting, I don't know about that one and there are many lettuce types that do become more bitter as they get mature and most do definitely get bitter once they have bolted to seed. I don't think growing in soil or ap really changes that one. Many people do prefer the texture/flavor of baby lettuce and other baby greens so that has become quite the specialty item. Again, is it any healthier one way or the other, I don't know.

I can say it is healthier to eat very fresh foods and if you are growing your own you have more variety to choose from with also improves things. You can choose to grow things for taste and nutrition instead of saleability and shelf life. Eating fresh foods is very good.

AND

EATING FOODS YOU GROW YOURSELF has added value that you will only really know/understand once you have done it yourself. THE EMPOWERMENT OF PRODUCING YOUR OWN FOOD is immense.

Let me say that again

THE EMPOWERMENT OF PRODUCING YOUR OWN FOOD

That one reason is enough for me to continue doing this even if all the others were moot points.
Hi david,
i just put up some updated pic's of the system.
best wishes

David Hart said:
Hi Kevin, I belive I read at Friendlies Aquaponics site (Hawaii USA).....that rubber liner would not be able to get an organic rating.

Friendlies use the covering/sheeting thats used for green houses. They managed to get an organic rating. Maybe Chris will be able to tell you exactly what they use ?

Ok, I found a link...look at the 4th, number 7 question. The question starts out....Where can I get some net pots in large quantities... In the answer, they say what they use.

http://www.friendlyaquaponics.com/faq/

They do make PVC pond liner. I don't know if it would be 'organic'. It may be cheaper then the HDPE.
I'm curious to see what others say...?

Pea gravel may/will plug pretty fast. I've been reading where 3/4 inch grow media is recommended.....at least 1/2 inch. Hydroton is at least 1/2 inch (?)

Good luck...looking forward to seing some pictures of your system !
Hi Kevin, while I'm new to aquaponics, I have nearly 20 years experience in Koi Pond husbandry. Rubber liners are used extensively in Koi Ponds, and many EPDM lined ponds house some VERY expensive Japanese Koi. I think you could be confident that "Firestone 45mil Pondguard" will serve you very well and can be patched if torn, which polyethylene can not.
Best wishes.
Hi david, thank's for that, is it true that koi are like dog's when it comes to human's?, in that they like our company.

best wishes

David Jones said:
Hi Kevin, while I'm new to aquaponics, I have nearly 20 years experience in Koi Pond husbandry. Rubber liners are used extensively in Koi Ponds, and many EPDM lined ponds house some VERY expensive Japanese Koi. I think you could be confident that "Firestone 45mil Pondguard" will serve you very well and can be patched if torn, which polyethylene can not.
Best wishes.
WELL, yes! However, I think the reason they follow me around the pond is that they try to look like they're starving, swimming on the surface with their mouths open expecting to get fed. They usually succeed!

kevin darcy said:
Hi david, thank's for that, is it true that koi are like dog's when it comes to human's?, in that they like our company.

best wishes

David Jones said:
Hi Kevin, while I'm new to aquaponics, I have nearly 20 years experience in Koi Pond husbandry. Rubber liners are used extensively in Koi Ponds, and many EPDM lined ponds house some VERY expensive Japanese Koi. I think you could be confident that "Firestone 45mil Pondguard" will serve you very well and can be patched if torn, which polyethylene can not.
Best wishes.
Question about PVC, used as plumbing in the systems - not the liners, is this allowed in an organic system? I thought that PVC plumbing was only allowed in the states as a waste water only application as it was not fit for potable water?? I know that PVC row crop covers are not allowed in Organic Cert. farms. Does anyone know about PEX for supply lines?
PEX is not suitable for use out in the sun.

If PVC is a NO NO for Organic irrigation, then I doubt there is a such thing as an Organic farm that uses any sort of irrigation. Yes, once the pipe is above ground it is often hooked to black poly irrigation pipe but underground is generally still PVC.

As to PVC, there is plenty of PVC out there being used as drinking water pipe in the states and it is what runs from my well to my house. Inside the house some plumbers will tell you that it must be CPVC since anywhere that hot water is near, would need the stuff rated for higher temperatures but they still sell regular PVC for potable water applications. I think the main benefit of the PEX has more to do with being able to run pex in conduit so if there is a leak, the pipe can be pulled out and replaced which is kinda handy where the plumbing is running under a slab.

As to the row crop covers, the question is, are they not allowed because they are "PVC" or is it more to do with simply being plastic stopping good air exchange with the soil? It should also be noted that many of the "nasty chemicals" that leach out of some types of plastics may have more to do with the state of the plastic. Regular PVC pipe doesn't have special chemicals added to make it flexible or transparent while thin flexible transparent film will have those chemicals added to keep it from becoming brittle too fast in the sun.

James Kaiserlian said:
Question about PVC, used as plumbing in the systems - not the liners, is this allowed in an organic system? I thought that PVC plumbing was only allowed in the states as a waste water only application as it was not fit for potable water?? I know that PVC row crop covers are not allowed in Organic Cert. farms. Does anyone know about PEX for supply lines?
Hi everyone. This forum is great, I'm really happy to be here.

My understanding is that EPDM can work, but that some people have reported very long cycling times assumed to be due to the material. I also think EPDM is more likely to leach chemicals than LDPE (just my general understanding though.. EPDM does often smell like chemicals).

Until I read this thread I was planning on building my media-based system as wood-styrofoam-wood-LDPE liner, but reading the comments of termites/bugs eating the wood I think I must abandon that idea. I liked it because I'm finding it SO expensive to buy good-sized plastic or fiberglass troughs and tanks online (can anyone beat a food-grade 275 gal IBC tote for $90 + shipping?). When I think of the near guaranteed length of use I'll get from a plastic trough compared to possibly having to replace or repair the handmade tanks/GBs within just a couple of years, I'm more convinced that it's worth investing now in solid, food-safe, single-cast materials for the long run. It's going to be expensive (I want it to look nice) but so be it. We definitely have termites in our area so I'm really glad I read this thread! duh.. anyway thanks for saving me a LOT of trouble down the line.

I'm very curious to hear more about the PVC leaching issue, as I'm planning to use a lot of PVC (in the sun) in my setup. I'm planning on painting the exposed pipes to help fight UV (unnecessary?). I have been assuming that PVC is food safe, but can anyone provide a link to the evidence?
Hay there Greener,
EPDM (provided you get stuff that is fish safe like the Firestone Pond guard stuff) is fine for fish. I've cycled up systems with it and they cycled up in a totally appropriate amount of time. PH can greatly affect cycling time, as in if the pH drops before cycle up is complete, it can hinder the process just like a pH drop can crash the bacteria and cause ammonia spikes etc.

But the termites and wood and liner are a bad combo.

Liner without wood next to it might be just fine. As in hole in the ground with liner in it as a sump tank might not be so bad or even liner in a trench with gravel in it as a grow bed but then how do you keep the top edges above the dirt and runoff. I've got a few ideas on this but not well tested yet.

Keep in mind that the IBC is not UV stable and needs protecting from the sun or it can become brittle.

I'm liking the Rubbermaid 100 gallon stock tanks for grow beds. Not too bad a price $70 and no shipping charges if you have a local tractor supply. All you need for a stand is about 5 concrete blocks and have them drain to an in ground fish tank or sump tank that has about 8" up above the ground to protect it from dirt/runoff.

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