Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

This is designed for the discussion of general challenges or advantages of aquaponics in Zone 8. I my self have though I can have a garden out side like most people do is aquaponics really necessary for me in my area as we have a fair climate for out side growing. On the up side a greenhouse in our zone would probably work very will with no sides and a shade cloth July and august and maybe some very limited water heating December threw February and it sure would extend my growing season.

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I started a small outside aquaponics system (mainly, for the grandkids) about a year and a half ago. I've had much success with it since. While the main challenges temperature control could be overcome (I believe) by the addition of a greenhouse with plenty of ventilation and some shade cloth, this method of gardening proves superior to anything else I've tried.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State) and we had a garden every year out of necessity. The growing season was short but intense because, in the summer, we would sometimes have sixteen or more hours of daylight. My job in tending our garden was usually limited to pulling weeds and harvesting tomatoes before the goats got to them.

Fast-forward at least three decades and my experience gardening in the South is much different. I've started and killed a garden plot every year I've lived here, mainly because I prefer organic gardening and my poor little plants are usually killed by the summer heat, over-watering, under-watering, or bugs.

Enter aquaponic gardening. Since haphazardly putting together my first system nearly two years ago (I'm an extreme cheapskate) I've harvested countless herbs and vegetables without killing a single crop. I recently found babies swimming around in the tank so I transferred them to a nursery tank. The timing was perfect because We've eaten a few of our fish and I was thinking about purchasing more. This new hatch will allow me to harvest more fish and still have enough activity in the tank to keep the garden going. The advantages to zone 8 aquaponic gardening are certainly a nearly endless growing season with just enough variance to allow a couple of cold-weather crops throughout the year.

I think the only real disadvantage in this zone (especially in Southeast Alabama) is contending with the oppressive heat in the long summer. While great for the tilapia, it is difficult to grow leafy crops, or even herbs in an outside system. From a commercial standpoint though, I think this climate is great for growing year-round in a greenhouse. It is much cheaper to provide cover from the sun and run fans than try to heat a greenhouse and fish tank water through a harsh Winter.

Hi from Western Washington, zone 8, (b, in some charts.)
Here it is, 9 November.  This seems to be a slow group.
I inherited a 900 Gal. fish pond with the house so this has been the first year I have had the system running.  It has been a moving target, with me being rather hap-hazard in my experiments. I haven't written down and quantified any changes. Although, I am grateful for the chance to experiment.  I have some winter plants growing, and have just picked the last green tomatoes today. 
{{If You haven't already been alerted, we have a huge storm brewing in the Pacific that will bring cold air to most of the U.S. East of the Rockies.  We will get some cold air spilling South out of Western Canada, through Spokane, Wa.  Our cold air will spill over us coming out of the Columbia Gorge.  This is the primary source of our cold and freezing air here Western Washington.}}
I am interested in how late into winter some of the plants I have growing will survive without a greenhouse cover.  I have six floating on my pond,  I am interested to see how much warming effect I get from the pond. 
I will attempt to download a picture of my pond and growbox system.


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