Aquaponic Gardening

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I have found that my aquaponics system has had very few pest problems. I think this is in part due to the health of the plants in my system and that I have planted several plants that attract beneficial insects in my garden. I have also taken care to provide habitats for the ultimate insect assasins in South Florida - Lizards. What do you do to mitigate pests big and small in your aquaponics systems? Raccoons, whitefly, aphids etc. 

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I'm interested in which plants you planted to attract the beneficial insects. I live in the Keys so the climate is very similar.
I have lizards also and have encounter spiders don't ask what class, yellow tags for white fly and safersoup or melase diluted with water and if i see a caterpillar it will be food for the fish. my dog take care of the raccoons and rabbits, some times I see also small frogs Am from south GA

My philosophy is "Let it Grow!"  This means all plants, insects, animals and bacteria.  When the balance (the ultimate goal of aquaponics) is complete, a micro ecosystem will evolve and all of the plants and animals will live in harmony.  Wasps, aphids, worms, squirrels, cats, ladybugs, bees, humans, dogs, water fleas, fish and everthing else will balance out and the growth will be awesome.  Don't try to kill anything, try to cultivate the best of everything.  

The bottom line is - every living thing needs to eat.  Sometimes we need to sacrifice some of our food so the other creatures can eat and we are part of the ecosystem - as opposed to the belief that we are the ecosystem.

Let it grow, let it grow.

That is the fundamental of permaculture and I agree with it, the thing is wen become a pest like withe fly's taking over the greenhouse and the tomatoes have black dotes all over, At this moment I have white fly's in my system but to a minimum so I don't bother with it we have to learn to balance the cycle of life and we can't kill everything with out killing us, back in the days it was DDT for every thing.

David Lindemann said:

My philosophy is "Let it Grow!"  This means all plants, insects, animals and bacteria.  When the balance (the ultimate goal of aquaponics) is complete, a micro ecosystem will evolve and all of the plants and animals will live in harmony.  Wasps, aphids, worms, squirrels, cats, ladybugs, bees, humans, dogs, water fleas, fish and everthing else will balance out and the growth will be awesome.  Don't try to kill anything, try to cultivate the best of everything.  

The bottom line is - every living thing needs to eat.  Sometimes we need to sacrifice some of our food so the other creatures can eat and we are part of the ecosystem - as opposed to the belief that we are the ecosystem.

Let it grow, let it grow.

I haven't taken any specific approach, but have found that planting various wild flowers, dill and bromeliads seem to have attracted a variety of wasps, lady bugs, assasin bugs and lacewings. The key is to have variety in your garden. This makes it harder for pest insects to find their way to a food source in the garden. A disoriented bug makes itself an easier meal for predators. It is hard to tell what specific plants are host plants for many of the insects. Dill is serves as a great sacrificial plant, that as it becomes infested, is then populated fairly quickly with lady bugs. Wasps, seem to hang out around clumping bromeliads. Any flowers in the asteraceae family seem to attract multiple beneficials. Blanket Flower and Swamp sunfower should both do well in your area.

 

Will fill you in If I get specific info.

Michael Welber said:

I'm interested in which plants you planted to attract the beneficial insects. I live in the Keys so the climate is very similar.
I suppose it is good to "let it grow", but we also need to factor in food for ourselves. I pretty much take the same approach, but in the early stages of my garden I needed to protect it so it could establish itself, hence I used organic pesticides sparingly. The goal is to be aware of the net effect we are trying to obtain. Sometimes it is necessary to intervene as care taker of the ecosystem and make sure that your tomatoes grow.

David Lindemann said:

My philosophy is "Let it Grow!"  This means all plants, insects, animals and bacteria.  When the balance (the ultimate goal of aquaponics) is complete, a micro ecosystem will evolve and all of the plants and animals will live in harmony.  Wasps, aphids, worms, squirrels, cats, ladybugs, bees, humans, dogs, water fleas, fish and everthing else will balance out and the growth will be awesome.  Don't try to kill anything, try to cultivate the best of everything.  

The bottom line is - every living thing needs to eat.  Sometimes we need to sacrifice some of our food so the other creatures can eat and we are part of the ecosystem - as opposed to the belief that we are the ecosystem.

Let it grow, let it grow.

The problem is that we aren't in a natural ecosystem--we haven't been for 10,000 years. Normal populations follow a cyclical pattern of renewal and starvation (http://pzweb.harvard.edu/ucp/curriculum/ecosystems/s6_res_lynxhare.pdf this contains a useful picture). Obviously on a large scale we cannot let this happen because the cycle is on a basic level famine then abundance. On a garden scale pests look like this (or something resembling this): Forgive the mistakes in grammar. (?)This is in no ways accurate but, the point being that its more in equilibrium, or at least elongated. The point is that we've left the point in which we were part of the rhythmic biosphere and now we must maintain an imbalance.   
David Lindemann said:

My philosophy is "Let it Grow!"  This means all plants, insects, animals and bacteria.  When the balance (the ultimate goal of aquaponics) is complete, a micro ecosystem will evolve and all of the plants and animals will live in harmony.  Wasps, aphids, worms, squirrels, cats, ladybugs, bees, humans, dogs, water fleas, fish and everthing else will balance out and the growth will be awesome.  Don't try to kill anything, try to cultivate the best of everything.  

The bottom line is - every living thing needs to eat.  Sometimes we need to sacrifice some of our food so the other creatures can eat and we are part of the ecosystem - as opposed to the belief that we are the ecosystem.

Let it grow, let it grow.

Hey Michael, 

I just spoke with a friend and fellow Master Gardener who also happens to run a nursery about how to help your cause. Her answer was native wildflowers and that plants with small white flowers tend to attract beneficials like crazy. Turns out she just came home from a native wildflower conference. She also made special mention of Basil and coriander - two plants that do exceptionally well in aquaponics.

 

I hope that this helps you.  Here is a helpful site for you to get started. It generates lists of plants for your area.

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions. 

http://www.regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/default.asp

Michael Welber said:

I'm interested in which plants you planted to attract the beneficial insects. I live in the Keys so the climate is very similar.

Hi Eric, 

Very interesting!!!

Does this mean that we are helpless participant in this cycle or is their a way of establishing a not so heavily fluctuating pattern. Should this govern the way we garden? Being a passive observer to the onslaught on my food source is somewhat of an uncomfortable thought for me. It would seem that we the lynx are on the precipice of a very great fall. Does this model affect omnivores in the same way or are we better adapted to shape our environment wisely.

 

Scaling back down again. What does this mean, as far as being a responsible gardener when it come to pests we don't eat. 

 

Look forward to your comments.

Eric Warwick said:

The problem is that we aren't in a natural ecosystem--we haven't been for 10,000 years. Normal populations follow a cyclical pattern of renewal and starvation (http://pzweb.harvard.edu/ucp/curriculum/ecosystems/s6_res_lynxhare.pdf this contains a useful picture). Obviously on a large scale we cannot let this happen because the cycle is on a basic level famine then abundance. On a garden scale pests look like this (or something resembling this): Forgive the mistakes in grammar. (?)This is in no ways accurate but, the point being that its more in equilibrium, or at least elongated. The point is that we've left the point in which we were part of the rhythmic biosphere and now we must maintain an imbalance.   
David Lindemann said:

My philosophy is "Let it Grow!"  This means all plants, insects, animals and bacteria.  When the balance (the ultimate goal of aquaponics) is complete, a micro ecosystem will evolve and all of the plants and animals will live in harmony.  Wasps, aphids, worms, squirrels, cats, ladybugs, bees, humans, dogs, water fleas, fish and everthing else will balance out and the growth will be awesome.  Don't try to kill anything, try to cultivate the best of everything.  

The bottom line is - every living thing needs to eat.  Sometimes we need to sacrifice some of our food so the other creatures can eat and we are part of the ecosystem - as opposed to the belief that we are the ecosystem.

Let it grow, let it grow.

Well, over the past 10,000 years we created a more stable environment more suited to our  needs--coined the technoshphere (this is a cool word from the book The Vertical Farm). So, do we still follow the same rules as nature, yes, but as humans we have the brain power to engineer solutions. A hydroponic gardening book I read from the 70's basically said if we take from nature and exploit the resource in a contained environment, i.e. greenhouse, we can grow much more food. However one point is to waste nothing (give back to nature). One point in the Vertical Farm is giving back farmland to nature. So, are we the lynx, maybe?

Being a responsible gardener for me is to grow in a greenhouse or simply discourage pests. However this is my second year gardening and I don't have much practical experience. I think that pests being the nuisance they are could be controlled with using some sort of pesticide, but I haven't heard of one good one--except bt. The green revolution went the wrong way but had the right thought. --my two cents 
Miguel Afonso said:

Hi Eric, 

Very interesting!!!

Does this mean that we are helpless participant in this cycle or is their a way of establishing a not so heavily fluctuating pattern. Should this govern the way we garden? Being a passive observer to the onslaught on my food source is somewhat of an uncomfortable thought for me. It would seem that we the lynx are on the precipice of a very great fall. Does this model affect omnivores in the same way or are we better adapted to shape our environment wisely.

 

Has any one had to deal with raccoons or larger critters? In some parts of Africa farmers have to deal with elephants and hippos. A creative permaculture solution to deterring elephants is to set up bee hives along the fence post so that when elephants bump the fence they are swarmed by African Bees. Hippos on the other hand are a whole another problem.

 I hear peppers are a great deterring force for elephants and other mammals. Also they're yummy. 
Miguel Afonso said:
Has any one had to deal with raccoons or larger critters? In some parts of Africa farmers have to deal with elephants and hippos. A creative permaculture solution to deterring elephants is to set up bee hives along the fence post so that when elephants bump the fence they are swarmed by African Bees. Hippos on the other hand are a whole another problem.

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