Aquaponic Gardening

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Brand new here. Got the link from Meir Lazar to join here. I am in the process of building my first system. For the past almost year I am looking, reading, watching just about every video and article and company that is out there for Aquaponics and Hydroponics. Anyway... to make a long story short I would like a Bioponic system. Finally I found the Pee-Method or the same company is also showing off something else that will convert "greens" and 'kitchen discard" into plant food. 

http://bioponica.net/product/bucket-fertilizer-kit/

Anybody on here ever tried this? Know about this? Good? Bad? don't bother? 

any help and input would be fantastic..... :-)

the picture below is my first vertical tower I build last Sunday afternoon. 

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Hm ... I think that bio-bucket is a great idea ... but I wouldn't buy it at that price!

You can make it. A drum is your vessel.
Your "Media Biofilter" is simply gravel media just like in your ponic tanks.

Their "vortex Aerator" sounds fantastically effective. Wow. But ... a good fish tank bubbler, with the bubbles all spread out small, will do the job. The aerator is important, if your processing drum lacks oxygen it will breed anaerobic bacteria. Makes for lots of stink, and potentially disease.

The "Tea bag" is simply the same thing as the old timers hanging a sack of plant matter or manure in a drum. Its just a sack or a mesh bag.

Actually, I'd be interested in incorporating the piece into the ponic system. You need the bag hanging in a drum full of water ... some scoria or gravel in there (actually you should have that already) ... and an aerator.

Your nutrient solution returns from your plants straight into this drum, which flows (with a screen filter probably) into your sump tank where your pump is, to be cycled again.

You'll want two "Tea Bags", one that that is processing, one that you're filling with scraps. Hopefully the first will be finished by the time the second is full, otherwise you may need three.

This is much like people who run "vermiponics", that is with worms, but is using bacteria much like you already have in your system to convert it instead of worms. Takes another step out of the system I suppose.

You'll still need to be running "Peeponics" for the nitrogen. But this will give some extra nutes and its all recycling. I find my root veg lack some colour in straight peeponics, perhaps this will help. Its mineral analysis will vary wildly with the content of your scrap bucket! Chuck some Comfrey, seaweed, nettle or other good stuff in there too.

You'll still need to add extra iron to your system. Don't buy that either: just leave rusty nails in pure vinegar for two weeks. I use a big peanut butter jar, half full of rusty flaky metal, fill it up with home grown cider vinegar. It should be dark blackish when ready. I have 30 square feet of grow beds, and use 1-2 jar lids per week, perhaps 1/4-1/2 cup. Just top it up as you use it.

Stacey: First thank you very much for taking the time and answering me. I understand most of what you are saying. But then also you sort of saying the system "Vortex" is impressive, but I can accomplish the same with some air bubbles. The company claims that this is self-sufficient system. But you are saying I have to use Pee-Ponics anyway to make it "run". 

The rusty nail suggestion is fantastic, but everywhere I go with this everybody is using caution with the vinegar because I mess with the ph level. How can you maintain a healthy ph if you are pouring so much in there on a weekly basis?? 

What I read so far from you in other posts you are doing Pee-Ponics. Would you please give me a quick run down how you store and time this collection? I know I need to age it for 4 weeks before I can use it. What I can't wrap my head around is the following: I start to save my pee today. I call it bucket #1. How many days will you use the same bucket and pour in fresh pee before you start another one? You know what I am asking? the bucket #1 will never age really. I know you might think I'm stupid but do not get the aging process since I'm adding constantly. Please give me quick run how you do that. Also where do you store those buckets? In the yard? Garage? heat cold? any info would be helpful! Thank you. 

Great craftmanship on the tower.

As for the vortex two bucket system, I would have to agree, way over-priced for something you would do with two buckets, an air bubbler or a submersible circulation wave maker for an aquarium (pretty cheap too and will do a 'vortex" if you wanted that). If you use things like comfrey, that stuff breaks down very fast and you can blend and strain the goo if you want it even finer.  Personally, I don't want to deal with all that effort or anything that might mess with the nutrient tank's pump so I like pee the best.
.

Meir.... Thank you. Let's go with the pee.  But please tell me how exactly you do the circulation with the buckets you save the pee in and store it for 4 weeks. I do not think for every day you have a bucket. So how long do you fill in the same bucket till you let it rest for 4 weeks????? Thank you!  I know it's not a bucket... canister.... LOL. 

I don't know how they would run that system without using external nitrogen ... decomposition of plant material such as scraps will produce some nitrogen, but from what I know nowhere near as much as you need. Perhaps it depend on what plants you're growing.

I do find the straight Pee-ponics to be lacking in some minerals. Different plants do better than others. Beetroot requires masses of phosphorous ... actually needs running on straight "Struvite" as you will find elsewhere on this forum. Doesn't fit in well with other plants needs. Radish needs exorbitant quantities of magnesium.

All the plants do much, much better in my system given extra Mg, a tiny touch of copper, a little potassium, and some plant manures such as seaweed, nettle etc high in trace minerals.

For the vinegar ... in my system, the amount of vinegar I add changes my PH by about 0.3 each time. For some reason, it returns to normal by the time my next addition is needed. Whether this is because it has been used, neutralized, or simply some other influence has added alkaline, I don't know for certain.

The humonia you add is strongly alkaline ... but I'm given to understand that the bacterial action should result in an overall acidifying effect.

I actually have trouble with my system being a little too alkaline, and need every bit of that vinegar to keep it within normal parameters. (I don't know why this is, its bizarre, but it grows veges so don't knock it Lol)

If you do not have these issues, it is possible to buffer your system. Alternating hydrated dolomite lime and Potassium Hydroxide (aka "Chuck a handful of wood ash in it"), is one way this can be done. This supplies extra Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium too.

Obviously you do not want to risk overdoing any of those extra nutes, particularly the potassium which may result in slow hard growth and dark colour, but I don't think the amount of change produced by the iron vinegar is ever going to make that much difference.

Bear in mind I do have a primarily Flood and drain system which needs a larger reservoir ... but I believe the amount of iron you need to add will be proportional.

For the pee-ponics ... well I use a two litre coke bottle. I use it once daily in the early morning. It takes three days to fill. Then I seal it and leave it.

I have two bottles in total. My system needs 1-1.5 cups per week depending on how much I have growing at the time. When I empty one bottle, I set about refilling it immediately. This way I know its aged over a month minimum. If in doubt, you can use a cheap PH test paper strip to confirm it is PH 9+. I got two books of about 200 tests for $2 so its not a hardship really.

Once again Stacey you are a fantastic help and a world of information that only comes by doing it not just reading books. I am a heck of a lot more confident and think I can start building.  

BTW how big is your system? are there anywhere on this blog some pictures of your garden? 

I will keep you posted as my journey keeps going. 

Ah no you probably won't find any pics of my system ... simple reason is I'm stuck on dialup interent and you've got to really want to upload images if its to be worth the wait!

My reservoir is 2 1/2 drums. (The pump is in the half drum, the other two are just to give me the volume needed to run a flood and drain).
I have 6 growbeds, from half drums, on their side that is. Two are raft: four are flood&drain. About 30sq' in total I believe. Might be a bit more.

I still have a weird phenomena of the flood and drain not being good for some plants. You've probably noticed most of my posts are trying to nut out this little issue! I've checked the common analysis and needs of those plants compared to the others and narrowed it down to for some reason the flood&drain beds don't have as much availability of Phosphorous, Magnesium or both.

Hard to say which one ... symptoms of both deficiencies are shown, but as Magnesium is essential for Phosphorous metabolism, its possible it could be only a magnesium issue. My next trial is adding way too much magnesium to see if the flood and drain beds suddenly start to perform better.

Until then, I have plants that do well in there ... lettuce and celery mostly ... basic leafy greens.

OMG....... dialup.... wow....... I know saying sorry won't do the trick here but.... I am sorry. 

My system will not have any regular water pumps. As a matter a fact I am working on a "pipe in a pipe" air lift pump for my system this weekend. Dialup? really?? are you in a such remote area? If I ever make a video of my system I have to send you a disc so you can watch it. Made already the decision for a Pee-ponic system. You won me over with your 2 liter bottle.   I have the peeing situation all figured out already. Meaning how and where to store it in our hot climate. Wish I was as close when it comes to the system itself. 

I am on this board/website for only 2 days. If it would have not been for you I would be still in the dark. I can't thank you enough for all the time you put in answering some of my "basic" questions. One day when it will be all up and running and I can say it would not have been possible without that Lady across the globe who helped me out! Thank you so much. You will the first one to know when I grow "food". 

Glad I could be of help:-) If you have any other questions, lets know!


For the dialup ... it is remote, but it shouldn't be that bad.
Superfast broadband is only 4 miles away, and ordinary broadband only 1 mile away.
There are a total of 14 families in this valley without it ... and it gets worse because there's no mobile reception either.

We sent a letter to the comunications technology minister once, after 21 days without any phone at all ... resulted in "I'm sorry but you are just one of the last 2.2% of the population who cannot get broadband. There are no plans to improve the service in your area, and it is not likely that this will change in the foreseeable future" ... ended rather abruptly to the basic point of don't bother me any more.

Never did address the "The lines are actually deteriorating and we have half the speed we had 15 years ago". Funny that ... LOL.

My pee storage system is a 26 liter tote with a funnel and hose. I should probably put a one-way valve to help with smell every time I use it, but other than that, it's pretty simple. When it gets full I leave it closed and wait a month. Done. Simple

Meir......... I never used anything like that but what you are saying sort of does not make sense. Lets say your 26 liter is full and lets also assume you waited already four weeks so you are ready to use. Lets say you are using 1 cup per week. One liter will give you about 4 cups... that would mean 4 weeks.  For the next 104 weeks you will not need to pee in the tote any more. But after that almost two years of storage of your pee you will run out.... so for about 4 weeks you would have no fertilizer any more. It does not matter how much you use per week.... if you do not have two totes you either run out for a while or you will replenish the tote without mention it....You know what I'm trying to say. I know you are not tell me a story but you are also not telling everything I need to know to make this work........ ????????? 

Greg, yes totes are cheap. You can get as many as you need. I also use it in the garden by dumping aged urine in my rain barrel drip irrigation system for my perennial tire garden. Get yourself a few totes and you'll be set. One person's urine is enough to fertilize all the produce you could want.

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