Aquaponic Gardening

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The recent discussion about water hyacinth has been on my mind, and it seemed worthy of opening a new discussion.  Maybe we can find a few good alternatives.

There were a couple good links provided by Dr George Brooks I'd like to keep from becoming lost.

Sludge Busters

Prohibited Noxious Weeds in Arizona

I have come up with only a few choices.  One that makes good sense is Parrot Feather.  The good thing about Parrot Feather is the fish are not as likely to eat it, I say not as likely because I think my Koi nibble the roots.  It's invasive, and may also be banded from some locals, but I did not see it on the list above.   If floating plants are not required thenI would also assume Papyrus would be a good choice.  There are at least two types of Papyrus, and I have both,  One is short (about 2') while the other is large (about 5').   Space may dictate which one you prefer. Papyrus propagates easily and has fine hair roots.

 

Water Hyacinth is legal where I live. But I have not been able to keep in in my pond over the Winter. In the Summer it spreads very quickly and most of it ends up in my compost.

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Yeah Chris, watercress in AP is a real treat. Local restaurant market pays $10 per pound, and a fellow local commercial AP friend or a contract with Whole Foods grocery for $6/lb in large volume wholesale. It is worth tweaking your system until you get success, IMO. I like the AZ group, but it drives me nuts when folks communicate in the open comment area instead of starting threads. I wouldn't mind, except that useful tidbits end up lost in random conversation instead of stored where others can search and follow related comments.

Bob, my first experience with taro was when my first son bit a leaf, and we couldn't figure out why he was choking, practically dying. We finally found the bite mark in the plant. Scary stuff.

Wow, after reading about Water Cress it sounds like a perfect vegetable to grow in aquaponics.  Fast growing, fine haired roots which will provide surface area for the bacteria, likes flowing water, good addition to salads and it's healthy with lots of vitamins A, K and C as well as calcium and iron.   Sounds like we found another winner!

I'm going to plant some tomorrow. 

My first watercress came from a live, bare-root clump at the grocery store. I planted it, and it grew bigger, but didn't produce branches and roots like other water cress I've seen. And it's been growing now for a year, with no flowers or seeds. So apparently, there's more than one kind. The second watercress variety came from a clipping that I got from the defunct Santa Cruz Aquaponics business nearby. It is great, and what the restaraunts want for their salad. It struggled where I put it, but is now quite prolific. My third batch came from a local stream bed where I was stalking gammarus, and this wild variety is both the best tasting, and the hardiest to grow. It was thick in the streambed, shooting roots averywhere that touched the water. I also have seeds from johnnies, but they haven't grown to a size that I can identify variety yet. If any want some and cannot find any, I'll ship you some rootings or seeds.

One more alternative that others like Glenn Martinez have used is Azolla.

I did not find it on the list of prohibited plants in Arizona.

By the way my link in the original posting of this discussion to noxious weeds is wrong.

Hopefully I get it right this time.

Banned plant in Arizona. http://bit.ly/Sa1nJX

Here is the list for California.  It's an interesting PDF with a lot of pictures for identification.

Yes, that definitely looks like water lettuce!

Chris George said:

@Bob....the plant on the right is Water Lettuce.

Arizona Revised Statutes R3-4-244 reads as follows:

An explanation of the rule, including the agency’s reasons for initiating the rule:
R3-4-244 and R3-245 are collectively known as the noxious weed rules. These rules regulated the movement, sale,
and possession of noxious weeds in Arizona. R3-4-244 is an interior quarantine that deals with noxious weeds that
are already present in Arizona and lists noxious weeds as “Regulated” or “Restricted”. Regulated noxious weeds may
be controlled to prevent further infestation or contamination. Restricted noxious weeds shall be quarantined to prevent
further infestation or contamination. R3-4-245 is an exterior quarantine that prevents listed noxious weeds from
entering the state of Arizona.

Further clarification from the ASU Agriculture Extension interprets this rule in our case's to mean that as long as we keep the Water Hyacinth contained within our property or control it meets the quarantine requirements.

Jon, I agree with you about the threads. I think the way AP Gardening forums are set up, the main "foyer" is so predominate that people barely even see the threads on top. Sometimes it takes a moderator to gently nudge people to start threads.
I do like the new changes that let us reply directly to comments, and the sort order is more natural now, too.

Jon Parr said:

 I like the AZ group, but it drives me nuts when folks communicate in the open comment area instead of starting threads. I wouldn't mind, except that useful tidbits end up lost in random conversation instead of stored where others can search and follow related comments.

@Robert C. Rowe (Bob)  - I have forgotten why you initially wanted to use Water Hyacinth? 

Our thread has some good plants and even Water Lettuce while it's not valued for food can be used to maintain bio-filtration and provide shade and beauty with the benefit of not being destroyed by the fish.  I'll try to propagate my one plant so that I can put it in the Koi pond next year.

I'm also going to see if I can find some Azolla and Water Cress today.  They sound like they have the qualities that I'm looking for.  My crop of Duck Weed is going strong, but Winter will soon make that difficult to maintain in sufficient quantity.

So far I think we have discussed:

Eatable:

Duck Weed

Azolla.

Water Cress

Non Eatable:

Parrot Feather.

Papyrus

Colocasia.

Water Lettuce

My initial thoughts on Water Hyacinth were to grow Water Hyacinth in my pond and or sump to shade the water, remove hazardous chemicals and to provide a more natural environment for fish. A secondary benefit is to provide a load on the cycled system while grow bed requirements are minimal.

So the just about any of these floating plants would provide what you are looking for, even the water lettuce.

As you probably know I just put a lot of media into the bottom of my fish tank.  This is going to maintain my bio filter during times of transition.



Robert C. Rowe (Bob) said:

My initial thoughts on Water Hyacinth were to grow Water Hyacinth in my pond and or sump to shade the water, remove hazardous chemicals and to provide a more natural environment for fish. A secondary benefit is to provide a load on the cycled system while grow bed requirements are minimal.

Pretty much so, except The Water Hyacinth in known to remove hazardous elements form water. In my case I have been interested in Water Hyacinth for years in connection with building a septic system in a rural environment.

Duckweed removes heavy metals from water (and I think other contaminants...)

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