Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I am finishing up a 10x3 wicking bed, I used sand in the reservoir and now need to decide on a soil medium,  I am deciding if I should A. use 100% compost or a mix of soil and compost and not use fish water from my pond or B. go the aquaponic route and use a product like coir or peat moss? with the water form my pond.  Coir is pretty expensive so peat moss might work better for me in DC but it will probably hold to much water. the pros and cons of an aquaponics system vs a soil system or any other words of wisdom would be helpful. it is obviously a big deal for me since once I fill the box it is not easily removed.  Thanks  

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Peat moss isnt sustainable but spaghum moss is and may be cheaper.  I've been tempted to just use garden variety untreated weed cloth.  In my experimental auto matic watering system I used the coir which can be had at Walmart relatively cheaply but a bag of it might be more cost effective.  I wont be using it when building a large wicking bed because of the price though.

I dont know that I would try to use sand as a base because the compaction might inhibit flow.  I used some spare lava rock I had left over.  I will be using gravel once we close on our new property inJune.  If you do use peator spaghum moss make sure you do a sample and check the pH before connecting it up to your AP system.  You might find that it's too acidic and require constant buffering on your tank.  I cheat with it when cycling a new system becuase 2-3 weeks is easier than months.

Compost may be too strong to use 100%.  Id do 33 compost, 33 perlite and 33% dirt or potting soil.

thanks, its a little to late for the sand but I wrapped the PVC with weed tarp so the sand will not come out seems to be working well. I have flooded it good to make it compact, I got the idea from this video.

he has this great idea of having containers in the reservoir to help mix up the water also. one thing i can't figure out is what geo fabric is?

Cool on the sand. It's good to know someone is trying it.  I did a 5 gallon bucket with beans and potatoes.  It seems to work but I expected better results.  I've gotten a few ideas myself on how to incorporate this into aquaponics that I plan to start in a couple weeks.

Geofabric is probably from 

Why can't you use the aquaponic water with your soil?  Yes, the soil already has some minerals in it but I would think the aquaponic water would add, not detract from your wicking bed.

Maybe a combination of coir and gravel would work.

Just thinking out loud, Paul.

You can use soil mixes if you want to The lighter and fluffier the soil mix the easier the roots will penetrate. If you are going to grow carrots I recommend that you screen the soil through a 1/4 inch screen so that there are no rocks or chunks that will affect the shape of the roots. You can get coir fairly cheap from commercial greenhouse supply stores. It comes in large compressed blocks that will expand when wetted. With a bed as large as you have you could put in a few dividers and try several different mixes.

Aquaponic water is great for watering plants in soil. I regularly water my coffee, papayas, and bananas with system water. When I do it is giving the soil a double benefit. The soil not only gets the nutrients from the fish but a boost of beneficial bacteria and micro-organisms as well. I have several customers who buy the water from my settling tank for this reason.


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