Aquaponic Gardening

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I am looking to construct 12 - 60 foot growbeds...2 feet wide and 14 inches deep.  My intial concept was to use 24' water pipe cut in half (schedule 40), until I found out the cost....about $40 a linear foot.  Second idea was to use black culvert pipe, again cost is an issue.  I've tried contacting a firm in New Orleans that produces shallow fish raceways that could be adapted as growbeds, but to no avail.  I am concerned about doing a plywood/pond liner construction due to durability issues over the next few years.  Am looking for suggestions and appreciate the advice.  Thanks, Mary

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I wouldn't use plywood, but definitely treated lumber will do the trick.  You can use cement instead and pond liner.  I would suggest making them 4 feet wide.  I have no problem reaching across 4 feet to handle plants, and the styro boards that will be the floating rafts are rigid enough to handle the 4 foot length (if you have to pull it out early or for harvest).

 

What durability issues are you worried about?  How long do you want the system to last?  I would expect that after 5 years you will want to upgrade and change things around as new research or different crops will dictate?  Building out of treated lumber and pond liner will easily last you that long.

What type of system?  Raft beds or media beds?

You can get food grade HDPE plastic in rolls that are 4' wide and 1/16 inch thick, then you just need a frame to hold it.  This should work for you using a wide variety of framing options.  Only really tricky part is folding the ends.

Oh, is that HDPE they sell at Lowe's/Home Depot?  I thought it was standard polyethylene...  If you can afford it get thicker than 6 mil (1/16") because it does tear easily compared to 20 mil PVC pond liner or of course 45 mil rubber EPDM pond liner.
No the HDPE rolls I'm talking about are not sold at Lowes or home depot.  It is heavy duty stuff that requires a heat gun to fold it.  It is more like the stuff that Francois Lemmer is using for his grow trays.  I got some in white but I expect the black would be more UV stable
Thanks for the suggestions....  It is for media based system....can you suggest a framing system for the HDPE roll plastic?  Would an open frame provide enough support for the gravel?  Thanks again.... 

Depends, will this be on the ground or up in the air?

 

On the ground I expect you could easily manage a frame to support the top edges of the plastic and as long as the plastic is pulling down in a radius it won't buldge outward. 

 

I have no figured out if there is a reasonable way to support such a plastic up at a height without a continuous wood bottom under the plastic.  I have a few notions to try but haven't had the time/capital/space to test them yet.

Where do they sell these and about how much are they?
a guy in georgia could not get certified for organic because his frames were built with treated lumber,  check it out before you build
Up in the air....and understand about the time and capital part....Thanks again...  (-: Mary

TCLynx said:

Depends, will this be on the ground or up in the air?

 

On the ground I expect you could easily manage a frame to support the top edges of the plastic and as long as the plastic is pulling down in a radius it won't buldge outward. 

 

I have no figured out if there is a reasonable way to support such a plastic up at a height without a continuous wood bottom under the plastic.  I have a few notions to try but haven't had the time/capital/space to test them yet.

That doesn't make any sense if he was using a food grade liner.

chris taylor Swamp Creek Farms said:
a guy in georgia could not get certified for organic because his frames were built with treated lumber,  check it out before you build
Unless it wasn't aquaponics and actually raised soil garden beds he was trying to get certified organic (as in no liner at all.)

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