Aquaponic Gardening

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 Hi All,

  I know this is the PNW, and I am in the Cascade Mtns..but I do have access to bamboo.  With all the discussion about the DOW blue boards and chemicals, and such...and then there is the question of cost...I keep wondering about rafts for Ap made from bamboo.

   I know that bamboo shoots contain cyanide.  Some types have more than others.  What I cannot find out is if the 'wood" (yes, I know bamboo is actually a grass) contains cyanide too.  The reason for the question is if it does, would there be a concern for cynaide leaching out of the rafts into the AP system? I am not so sure that a Bamboo raft would be any better than a DOW blue board in that case.  Can anyone enlighten me on the subject of the bamboo for rafts? 

     It sems like a bamboo raft would be a better alternative.  Hopefully...

- Converse

Views: 473

Replies to This Discussion

The team here at Nor Cal Aquaponics are the first to bring bamboo rafts to modern Aquaponics. We started experimenting with bamboo rafts in 2009 and have now constructed several systems using bamboo as a local and more sustainable material. We are Permaculturists here and as such base our work on other successful examples when possible. We have traveled to asia and south america to see and learn from people and cultures using bamboo as rafts for culturing crops. This method of farming on water using bamboo goes back at least 4,500 years.

Elevated cyanide levels are normally encountered in more than 1,000 species of food plants and forage crops around the world, Another 1,000+ plants less known/used by humans also contain cyanide. Luckily this naturally occurring cyanide breaks down readily and easily in nature and water. Among the twenty-four leading food plants in the world, sixteen are cyanogenic. Why are so many food plants cyanogenic? Scientists speculate that cyanogenic glycosides deter animals from feasting too heavily on the plant. The surviving cyanogenic plants were then more available to prehistoric humans—provided that people could process the plants to release HCN before consumption. Humans developed grinding, rinsing, and cooking methods to do this, and because animals don’t do any such processing, many tasty but cyanogenic plants were eventually adopted into agriculture.

Here is a great link to more info about natal occurring cyanide, http://www.permies.com/t/8536/permaculture/Cyanide-your-Garden

In aerobic water condition (such as healthy Aquaponic systems) the cyanogenic glycosides break down to form ammonia, then feed the biology in the water and become nitrates for the plants and micro-orgainsms. Non organic Cyanide (like that found in metal manufacturing waste) is far more dangerous and/or difficult to remove or break down.

All and all there are more than 60 organic cyanide compounds, found in over 1000 food plants and over 2500 other plant species. Some plants produce cyanide, while other plants consume these compounds. The strength of the organic cyanide compounds found in plants are affected by the age of the plant, the part of the plant consumed, the season of the year, time of day, ecological factors- stress conditions and genetic variations.

The ability of plants to synthesize the cyanide compound cyanogenic glycosides is at least 300 million years old and played an important role in the evolution of life on earth and remains an important component to the home gardener.This ability to produce organic cyanide is found throughout the plant kingdom, including bacteria, fungi, ferns, gymnosperm (conifers) and angiosperm (flowering plants.)

The water in our Aquaponics systems using bamboo has been tested and has shown normal levels of cyanide, arsenic, etc.

Whenever possible, we recommend using bamboo that has not been treated and preferably from a known local source. Not only is this more sustainable, but caution should be taken when using bamboo that has been treated. Most bamboo is treated with boron, which at higher concentrations can be toxic as well.

In closing we are very excited and passionate about continuing to develop this ancient method of farming on bamboo rafts and learning new and improved ways to use them in Aquaponics. Using bamboo rafts to grow crops has been proven safe for thousands of years, but care should be taken when using these techniques.

To learn more about bamboo rafts and our Permaculture approach to Aquaponics, please visit our website for more information, trainings, consultations and services.

Nor Cal Aquaponics, www.norcalaquaponics.com

Peace & Aquaponics,

Max

  Wow !  Thank you, Max!

  Funny.  I grumbled all through my Univ. Bio-chem. classes, just sure I'd never use any of the stuff I was learning.  Since my professional days are over (yipee- 'retirement' - busier now than ever!),I find myself using more the of bio-chem on a daily basis than ever before: Redworm Farming, and now A.P..Glad I paid attention.  I really appreciated the bio-chem. explanation of the processes you gave.  Thank you!

  Permiculture.  Got it going on here too.  I have a local source of bamboo, available growing at our place, and another  local place growing it.  We use it as feed (the leaves) for our livestock among other uses (like fencing,screening and garden stakes, etc..).  I'll Check out the websites you gave.

 

- Converse

Hello Max,

I wonder if you would be willing to part with some more specific information about how you made the bamboo rafts. I'm working on a project in Laos and trying to use easily available materials. Bamboo would be perfect. I'm sure it works, it's just that there are so many ways one could go at it and I'd rather not re-invent the wheel.

Max Meyers said:

The team here at Nor Cal Aquaponics are the first to bring bamboo rafts to modern Aquaponics. We started experimenting with bamboo rafts in 2009 and have now constructed several systems using bamboo as a local and more sustainable material. We are Permaculturists here and as such base our work on other successful examples when possible. We have traveled to asia and south america to see and learn from people and cultures using bamboo as rafts for culturing crops. This method of farming on water using bamboo goes back at least 4,500 years.

Elevated cyanide levels are normally encountered in more than 1,000 species of food plants and forage crops around the world, Another 1,000+ plants less known/used by humans also contain cyanide. Luckily this naturally occurring cyanide breaks down readily and easily in nature and water. Among the twenty-four leading food plants in the world, sixteen are cyanogenic. Why are so many food plants cyanogenic? Scientists speculate that cyanogenic glycosides deter animals from feasting too heavily on the plant. The surviving cyanogenic plants were then more available to prehistoric humans—provided that people could process the plants to release HCN before consumption. Humans developed grinding, rinsing, and cooking methods to do this, and because animals don’t do any such processing, many tasty but cyanogenic plants were eventually adopted into agriculture.

Here is a great link to more info about natal occurring cyanide, http://www.permies.com/t/8536/permaculture/Cyanide-your-Garden

In aerobic water condition (such as healthy Aquaponic systems) the cyanogenic glycosides break down to form ammonia, then feed the biology in the water and become nitrates for the plants and micro-orgainsms. Non organic Cyanide (like that found in metal manufacturing waste) is far more dangerous and/or difficult to remove or break down.

All and all there are more than 60 organic cyanide compounds, found in over 1000 food plants and over 2500 other plant species. Some plants produce cyanide, while other plants consume these compounds. The strength of the organic cyanide compounds found in plants are affected by the age of the plant, the part of the plant consumed, the season of the year, time of day, ecological factors- stress conditions and genetic variations.

The ability of plants to synthesize the cyanide compound cyanogenic glycosides is at least 300 million years old and played an important role in the evolution of life on earth and remains an important component to the home gardener.This ability to produce organic cyanide is found throughout the plant kingdom, including bacteria, fungi, ferns, gymnosperm (conifers) and angiosperm (flowering plants.)

The water in our Aquaponics systems using bamboo has been tested and has shown normal levels of cyanide, arsenic, etc.

Whenever possible, we recommend using bamboo that has not been treated and preferably from a known local source. Not only is this more sustainable, but caution should be taken when using bamboo that has been treated. Most bamboo is treated with boron, which at higher concentrations can be toxic as well.

In closing we are very excited and passionate about continuing to develop this ancient method of farming on bamboo rafts and learning new and improved ways to use them in Aquaponics. Using bamboo rafts to grow crops has been proven safe for thousands of years, but care should be taken when using these techniques.

To learn more about bamboo rafts and our Permaculture approach to Aquaponics, please visit our website for more information, trainings, consultations and services.

Nor Cal Aquaponics, www.norcalaquaponics.com

Peace & Aquaponics,

Max

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