Aquaponic Gardening

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Commercial Aquaponics

This is a place we can share and help each other in our new industry.  If you have already established yourself in the industry or are looking to this group is for you.

Members: 354
Latest Activity: Nov 13, 2017

Discussion Forum

New IBC Grow Out Tanks

Started by Phil Slaton Mar 30, 2015. 0 Replies

The barrels in the back of the 6-IBC grow out tanks are 2-media filters, 1 lava rock filter and on the extreme left, the sump.The large 1,000 tanks in the back are not currently in use.Continue

Aquaponics start-up. Still undergoing business plan - In SPAIN - Help need it (please)

Started by Atreyu M. Last reply by William B Lunche Dec 16, 2014. 2 Replies

Hello every body. I am seriously researching in order to create a AQ start-up. Hope to develop a feasible business plan. It looks like no one has tried AQ in Spain al though it is a perfect country…Continue

One on One advice

Started by William Kohut. Last reply by William Kohut Jul 30, 2014. 2 Replies

I would to talk to someone who started their business One on one hopefully. Either through email , skype or if local enough meet with them. As I have a bunch of questions of what you went through to…Continue

Pricing

Started by William Kohut. Last reply by Phil Slaton Jun 20, 2014. 7 Replies

As i am writing my business plan. I am trying to work on prices for catfish and minnows, How do you people work on your pricing ?Continue

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Comment by Dan Ponton on May 6, 2013 at 7:27am

I also had very good luck with black seeded simpson lettuce this winter and also romaine. I saw heirloom red tip iceberg at a nursery a month ago that I may try next fall

Comment by Dave Lindstedt on May 5, 2013 at 7:37pm

Interesting exchange.  I started 2 years ago this month. Every month has been a challenge. I now have over 400 Tilapia and room for almost 2,500 plants. My best crop has been simpson black leaf lettuce. Tomatoes and peppers has proven to be a 4 month waste of time and energy.  Propagating fig and dragon fruit plants from cuttings has been profitable. I am now trying to stick with plants with a 75 day or under grow cycle.  My intent is to create a commercial operation to support a family of 4 or 5.  Let's do the math ... 2,500 plants at $1.00 gross a plant = $2,500 x 4 crops = $10,000.  This tells me I need room for growing 10,000 plants.   I currently have 16  4x8 grow beds.  This says I will need minimum of 64 grow beds.  

Comment by TCLynx on May 4, 2013 at 9:08am

Ok Chelsea,

Good to hear that you already know veggie farming.  Essentially aquaponics is just veggie farming with build in automatic watering/fertilization.  the rafts just make it so you can bring the section of veggie plot to a comfortable harvest/processing area without having to bend over the whole time while planting/harvesting.

If base your planting schedule roughly on what you do for soil gardening and adjust as you see how things go in your raft system.  Plant weekly, keep things rotating through on whatever schedule seems to work for your plants/climate/system.  Biggest issue I've been running into is when I plant too much and then don't have enough space to transplant the seedlings out to the rafts and I wind up with crowded seedlings getting leggy and floppy and then when they do get out into the rafts they have trouble recovering gracefully.

Comment by Chelsea Brannan on May 4, 2013 at 9:02am

Good info TC! Thanks! I plan to start every week (really liked Chris's post on his seedling starting system in rafts). Mostly lettuce, other leafy greens and herbs. Large fruiting vegetable will not be in my rafts but in the ground or dutch bucket system. We run a small family vegetable farm using small plot intensive farming (SPIN) farming practices so I have other veggies growing in the ground. 

Comment by TCLynx on May 4, 2013 at 8:40am

I've managed to grow lettuce mix through the summer before but I have to germinate it indoors where it is cooler (or I only get one type of lettuce from the mix germinating) and I have to harvest young/small before it bolts.

Basil is a good hot weather crop.  I'm not sure what else is really good for DWC in summer.  I'm putting up shade cloth to hopefully let me keep more lettuce going through the summer.

Comment by Dan Ponton on May 4, 2013 at 8:34am

I grew a lot of greens this winter like lettuce and chard but they took more like 3-4 months to grow. I believe the reason is that my 1 acre lot is narrow 160 feet and I have tall trees on both the east and west sides, so the sun only shines 4-6 hours a day.

I have heard that Basil does well in DWC so that would be a good summer crop. I am trying that now.

Comment by TCLynx on May 4, 2013 at 8:10am

You need to calculate how much you need to take to market each week, and then you need to calculate how much space and how much time each plant needs to grow out.  Example, lettuce, give yourself 8 weeks to grow out lettuce from seed to head under good conditions.  Part of that time may be in a seed tray and then part will be planted out in the rafts.  The exact schedule will depend on your conditions, what plants, how big you are growing them etc.  If you are going to market weekly then you probably need to be planting weekly.  Now there are some seasonal plants that you might be growing that you can continually harvest from for many months (kale, swiss chard, collards, etc) but you probably don't want to grow those in a raft bed.  There are other plants that you might grow on a much shorter time schedule like pea or sunflower shoots but those also probably don't even need to be in the aquaponics since they are likely going to be on a 10-14 day schedule of planting/harvesting.  Some things like basil, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants are going to need a LONG growing cycle so you need to plan your planting for those far in advance but you may not be seeding those very often, perhaps only a few times a year depending on your operation.

FYI, 6-12 months of planting, harvesting (practicing, learning the planting/growing schedule) for your crop in a tropical climate would not be outrageous for a small start up.  In a temperate climate where you will be figuring out varying seasons more, take really good notes about what you plant, when and how it does/how long it takes because you probably don't want to have to do it over a 5 year period to learn it all by repeating it through the seasons.

When people tell you they can grow lettuce in 21 days, they are either A-talking about growing baby lettuce or spring mix under controlled atmosphere conditions or B-talking about planting seedlings out and them taking 21-28 days to go from seedling to small head of lettuce (those seedlings are probably between 21-28 days old before being planted out.)  And that is also for controlled conditions optimal for growing the plants.

If you are growing in other than optimal conditions, don't expect to meet the unrealistic timeline.  Do some of your own test grows to see how long things take and how much space you need to get marketable results.  (cramming seedlings too close together and leaving them there too long or with insufficient light can yield you unmarketable leggy seedlings that may have difficulty turning into a marketable head of lettuce.

Work out you IPM plan and figure out what you will use against pests and get it on hand before the pests attack.

Comment by Chelsea Brannan on May 3, 2013 at 12:40pm

How frequently are you starting seed for your dwc/raft systems? Every week or monthly? I plan to start growing for market (small start up) and though I would start seedling every week. Is this too much?

Comment by TCLynx on April 13, 2013 at 8:11pm

There are some more recent posts in the Discussions though most of those were in March.

Comment by Darryl Martin on April 13, 2013 at 6:58pm

Hi, the comments in this group are pretty old, is this group still active?

 

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