Aquaponic Gardening

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So, over the past few weeks I've have been pondering how to maximize my backyard for my aquaponics, fruit trees, and still have space for my kiddos to romp around and play in the yard.

I have attached a pdf of what I am planning thus far. 

Would love some expertise, wisdom, and even some innovative ideas how to broaden or make more effective.

Thanks in advance for you insight and support.

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It's easier to look at a picture right here so i popped it in.  So you want just one raft?  Is the blue square a sunp or a fish tank?  It really doesn't matter as long as you filter the raft water through the media beds first.  Are you going to get enough light on the north side of the house?

Hey Bob Campbell

Sorry for the confusion.... the picture is actually oriented wrong. I tried to put the north compase in the middle of the yard to aid in confusion but still, doesn't help much. lol  

The backyard is actually West facing... so the top of the picture is west, right side north... ecs.

I am planning on only having one raft that will be fed by the water from growbed 7, right by the raft then through a polisher and finally into bed 8 (floating raft)

Most of my production that my family focuses seems to do better in gravel rather then raft but I could be completely wrong.  several types are squash, summer and winter, tomatoes (phenomenal) , artichoke (which surprisingly is doing amazing in my growbed), broccoli (getting almost an 6 month grow season with new seeds every few months and still going),  sweet peppers, strawberries, onions, beats, carrots(awesome in growbed), and lettuce (which will be focused in the one raft system I have pictured. My plan is for the rest to be gravel focused. Thoughts?

Right now, the small pond with the three beds around it, inside the stone wall, is currently fully functionally and producing amazing. It is raised about 2' above ground with the pond sunk in with the deepest part 3'. It currently holds about 300gl US. My plan is to keep this system completely separate and only add the raft system to it. 

As for the larger square pond... this is all my new build or add on system. My goal is to make this 7'x7' and 4' deep that will hopefully be a significant amount of water to not need to add an above ground water source. I keep my stocking densities low enough that I get away with 1x1 or 1x1.5 really well. the surrounding beds will be gravel focused with the freedom to add solid filtration and make one a raft if necessary. All my growbeds are 16" deep... some are 3x6, 4x7 and 2x9.

My true desire is to have my AP system be dominent on the North side of my yard and then to have fruit trees dominate the remaining outer edges via apple, peach and mango trees all espaliered or high density planted all around. It's all in the works and needing deeper feed back and I am hopeful to maximise my growing capacity in the remaining areas. 

Sorry, that was much longer then I expected. Please give me your thoughts or ask questions regarding anything I've posted thus far. I really appreciate feed back.

Sounds good to me.  The rafts should always get clean water otherwise the roots will  become dirty and deprived of oxygen.  The media beds provide that cleansing. If the water comes from the fish tank to the raft it will get dirty water.

I too find that media beds generally work best, but I like the rafts for green leafy vegetables.  Rafts are so much easier to manage, and I like to place cuttings in them too.

We are lazy rafters...our water comes from the sump to the raft. The plants are growing faster than the muck accumulates, and we've put live breeders in the raft system to eat the muck. (credit to Dr. George). Sometimes they end up back down in the sump, and we lost most of them in the freezes, but they're still going and growing. Every few months we siphon-vacuum the bottom of the raft bed while we're cleaning the duckweed trays.

The only thing I would take into consideration with your design is, since you're not using a sump, calculating your fish population on the amount of water in your tank at its much water will you have if all your beds are full? A quick calculation gives me about 1460 gallons in your tank, and you could feasibly pull up to 975 gallons from the tank at any given time. So that would mean you should calculate your stock based on about 500 gallons. (Check my math!!)  If you went with 50 tilapia and they were full-sized, you would probably have plenty of waste to nourish those beds. But you might want to add beds one at a time while they grow. 

Your layout looks great! Everything looks accessible and efficient. :)


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