Aquaponic Gardening

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Does anyone have any experience making their own compost?  And using fish remains?

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This video shows black soldier fly larvae working on two fish over 24 hours. BSF are a very powerful composting assistant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-zAbzRx29I&feature=youtube_gdat...

oh geez thanks for the horror flick!!  j/k

that is actually amazing...future fish guts problem solved. 

I to have bsfl but if your talking about regular dirt composting I have found that burying almost anything can be composted. I havent used much meat or fish product but if I did I would cut it up into small pieces then bury it deep into the pile adding water in the hole first. You can go here to see what can be composted http://creativewatertrends.com/compost.php

Yeah, it's a lot of work to do it right. 

I built a bunch of tumblers a few years ago, but it's still a lot of work. 

You have to keep it moist so include it on your drip system.

I make about one yard per year.  

It's amazing to watch a huge pile of vegetation shrink to about 1/4 of it's original size.

Coffee, grass clipping and leaves that fall in Autumn are some of the of the best materials you can add.

I used to collect about 10 pounds of coffee grounds from Starbucks everyday, but I've quit doing that.

Meat is not a good thing to compost, but for me it's a convenient place to discard an occasional dead fish; animals always take it away.  But attracting animals that scavenge is not good

If you wish to use meat I would advise you to look into Black Soldier Flies

Soldier flies are the best for animal scraps, for sure. You can put it in your garden compost, but your neighbors may not like you. Or you can just bury the scraps next to a plant, deep enough to keep scavengers out. We do that a lot.

My husband, another Bob, has four composters going at any one time for our garden waste. You can throw almost any vegetable matter into it and it will work, but watch out for tomatoes--the seeds don't burn up like other seeds, so we have tomatoes growing everywhere in our garden and we pull them like weeds. LOL!  As Bob says, it does take maintenance, but it sure makes the garden nice!

We also do vermiculture - worm composting. We have a bucket in our kitchen that we throw our kitchen scraps into. I use that compost in my potted plants and they're really loving it.

Hopefully by fall we'll have a good soldier fly compost going, then we'll have all three types of composting going.

Oh, I'm also going to start raising mealworms. They do some composting, but aren't nearly as effective as the other methods. That said, they do make a good, high calcium treat for chickens.

An addendum:

When we've been shy of brown vegetation, which rarely happens, we've collected it from neighbors. When we've been shy of green vegetation, which happens often enough, we've tiptoed behind grocery stores and collect oodles of tossed produce. We don't use grass clippings-we leave them on the lawn to compost.

Very, very interesting.  Thank you guys for the information.  Right now I am throwing fruit scraps, tea/coffee grounds and egg shells in a bucket covered with miracle grow (leftover soil from a year ago that's just been sitting around) since I don't have anything brown to put in yet.  Like your tomatoes, my fiance thinks that weeds will start to grow if we throw in dead weeds from our yard.  I don't know if that's legitimate but who wants weeds ever growing anywhere, ya know? I did have to call my dad and ask him to save me a bag of his yard work. 

I've read that if you have a big enough yard that you can just throw this stuff in a corner and mix it around and it will still turn into compost eventually.  I don't have a tumbler but I do have a ton of waste that I could start decomposing since it takes so long.  I understand the concern about scavengers coming, but what scavengers in AZ should I be worried about?  Neighborhood cats? 

I am definitely not at BSFL stage, not even close. 

My husband is cautious of weeds, too, but if you get them before they flower or go to seed, you're fine.

Yes, if you pile it up and turn it, keeping it moist, it will compost. If you don't have a tumbler, you turn it by hand with a pitch fork or shovel.

If you get a few red wigglers, throw them in your bucket with some soil, and let them do the work. Or....maybe not with the Miracle grow. They might not like that.

Scavengers, depending on where you live, could be coyotes, javalina, neighborhood cats and dogs, birds, skunk, and just about any other carnivor/omnivour that resides in the desert.

I figured that's the scavengers you guys were referring to but I definitely don't have that problem here.  I'm on residential, HOA infested land and my yard is fully bricked off.  I have some supplies leftover like fence scraps so I think I can dig a shallow hole back there and fence it off with some wood planks at the base so my little dogs cannot pee all over it.  Then they can have the job of chasing off the neighborhood cats. 

Everything we are doing here is in its very first stages.  Do you use any of your wigglers for feed?  I've heard of some people drying them out and mixing them with dried duckweed and creating a meal of some sort for their tilapia.....???  Maybe not wigglers...but some kind of worm they use in their compost. 

I'm asking because I am trying to think of a full cycle so that I don't have any holes left over like what do I do with the wigglers later down the line....I'm trying to make it all cyclical.  SO MANY OPTIONS!! 

We started them to use in the growbeds of our aquaponics system. Those are full, so now I use the compost in my potted plants, and am hoping they'll grow in the pots. When that experiment is done, we'll use surplus as feed for chickens and tilapia.  We have lots of regular earthworms in the soil and garden, so I don't think we need any there. If we get too many, we'll sell them, but it's hard to have too many. :)

I think I'm going to have to jump on that idea.  I'll introduce a few to my system then when that's full move them to the compost.  I'll just start a new compost when I get some browns and don't add the miracle grow.  Thanks for the ideas!!

I wish I had chickens...I would LOVE to have chickens...

They won't live in regular compost. A regular compost pile creates heat that changes things to compost, basically cooking the waste. Worms will die in the heat. They do their own composting.

I have a bucket in my kitchen. Inside the bucket sits another bucket which has holes in the bottom for drainage, because worms pee and make "worm tea," which is very nutritious for plants.

Inside the top bucket I have a fabric plant pot that we got at a hydroponics store. It keeps the worms from going through the holes.

Inside the pot, we have soil, worms, and scraps.

There are holes around the top of the inside bucket for air, and the lid is on that one. I have an aquarium air pump pumping air into the top bucket. I'm not sure if it's needed, but it's to bring in oxygen and cool things down for the worms.

Very simple, and they love it.

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