Aquaponic Gardening

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Rick Stillwagon's Blog (15)

What I have been doing as of late.

I have been in the midst of the red tape cutting and development of a micro distillery. 

When I started my exploration of greenhouse cultivation and aquaponics, I wanted to heat it all efficiently.  The wiseway pellet stove set many other tangents un heating and energy into motion.  The steam engine, hydronic heating systems, bio-mass usage, and…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on February 8, 2014 at 10:26am — 2 Comments

Nutrient Cycle

Nutrient Cycle The BIG Picture


At some point, and sooner than later, we will have to face the fact that we are the biggest producers of nutrient dense waste.  We desire to eat nutritious food, often eating it to excess.  Our bodies only use what it can in that moment and the rest passes through.  So, with our rich diets comes an abundance of nutrient rich waste.

For centuries, and even today, human waste is used for agriculture.  You may…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on May 27, 2013 at 5:49pm — 5 Comments

Aquaponics & Economics

Aquaponics is a fascinating method of growing.  Creating a micro-eco-system (can you double hyphenate?) is a challenging, interesting, and often expensive endeavor.  I enjoyed the research and the fruits of that labor.  But, in the Northwest, I found it to be a greater challenge to make it economically practical on a small scale. 


Perhaps if I were to use native species of fish and allowed the system to go dormant during the cold and dark season, it may have been more…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on May 20, 2013 at 3:59pm — 6 Comments

The Journey Continues

Greetings again Aquapons!  I have been on an interesting journey the past couple of years.  It all started with a better filter for my koi.  Researching bog filters inspired the notion of growing edible plants in the bog, which through my research I stumbled upon aquaponics.


Through my research and desire to find an economical means of heating my system, I stumbled upon the Wiseway pellet stove, which I became a statewide distributor for their company and recently sold that…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on May 6, 2013 at 2:46pm — 3 Comments

Fall & Winter Projects

We have recently finished moving things around in the greenhouse.  Jeb a friend and cohort in research in PNW gardening, is working on his degree in permaculture and horticulture with a focus on our climate and region.  He will be conducting several studies using my greenhouse and the one we completed for him this Summer.  Those studies will be in passive and low energy input (his greenhouse) and a heated greenhouse using supplemental lighting (my greenhouse.)  These studies will include…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 26, 2012 at 3:45pm — No Comments

High School System

We had a great morning visiting with the science teacher of Spanaway Lake High School.  The have recently acquired an aquaponics system and have asked us to help set it up.  We visited their spacious 30'x60' greenhouse.  Lots of room and amenities to allow for a great set up that will be productive and educational.

We initially concluded their out of the box system was going to be inadequate.  They do have a nice 500 gallon tank, and a marginally sufficient bio-filter.  The small raft…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 14, 2012 at 7:04pm — 5 Comments

Aquaponics Conference

While in Denver for the Aquaponics conference, two of the great opportunities I had were meeting Dr. James Rakowcy and Murray Hallam.  The "Father" of aquaponics shared his 30 year experience developing the UVI system.  I felt very akin to him as he described his trials and tribulations in developing his system.  Blunders and intervention by Mother Nature making it a challenging…

Added by Rick Stillwagon on September 29, 2012 at 9:04am — No Comments

Summer is Ending

We had a very busy Summer.  We built several greenhouses, a couple of aquaponic systems, and much more.  We have had a few of our Greenhouse and Aquaponic Gardener meetings and I learned that more information is still needed.  We experimented extensively, and have developed a couple of new applications for the Wiseway stove.  I have been working on some new greenhouse designs and we shall also be renovating our R&D greenhouse to reflect some of the new ideas.

Our solar efficient…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on August 31, 2012 at 8:59am — 2 Comments

Raising Tilapia Fry

A friend recently gave me about 30 Tilapia fry.  It has been an interesting experience raising them from about 1/8" - 1/4" fry to seeing them double in size in the last week or so.  He also gave me a formula to feed them with: egg yolk, yeast, tropical fish food, and a little water.  Seems to be working so far!

Added by Rick Stillwagon on June 15, 2012 at 11:41pm — 5 Comments

Finally back to my greenhouse.

We are finally getting back to my greenhouse.  We are putting the heating system in.  This is the modified pellet stove/water heater.  We are working on a design to manufacture our own, but this was a great deal faster to test the idea.  The pellet stove will heat the air and through a hydronic raidiant heating system will heat the fish tanks as well.  No water that…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on January 31, 2012 at 4:44pm — 3 Comments

Micro-Aquaponics unit

I just about have the micro-unit complete. It still needs to be tested, add the light support and light, pumps etc. I have already found several things to change aesthitically and functionally.  There will be half-panels on the sides and an opaque or textured glass divider to hide the sump. Fish tank will be removable unit. I will add a base molding to widen the appearance…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 24, 2011 at 8:12pm — 7 Comments

Stimulating interest and awareness


I am not surprised at how many people have never heard about "Aquaponics."  Up until about a year ago, I was running on a nearly parallel path until I decided to look online and see if anyone else was doing something like this. As I mentioned before, many of you have done much of the leg work and I am now catching up to speed.  But I am surprised at the wariness and stigma that many have of hydroponics, therefore, aquaponics by association. So I am doing a little project to see if I…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 21, 2011 at 8:34am — 8 Comments

The project continues....

It has been a very interesting week.  Meeting people, sharing ideas, and finding the scope of a successful business model.  Meeting and talking with Carey Ma generated many ideas in developing marketable products for this economy.  Talking with a potential client has developed new ideas for marketing and visibility that I hadn't explored.  Showing an engineer friend my steam engine has invigorated my plans for reproduction and acquired his professional help.  Not a great deal of progress on…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 16, 2011 at 7:19pm — 2 Comments

My project part 2

The previous post explains in overview what I have been trying to accomplish.  I want an economical, sustainable, and self-contained system.  Not only food production but heating and powering my home and business as well.


The greenhouse/aquaponics unit is my experiment and will eventually tie into everything on my property.  The biomass boiler will provide steam that will be plumbed to all buildings (just like they did in the old days) for heat, and will be intermittantly…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 3, 2011 at 10:21am — No Comments

My Project.

I tried to write this out once but it sounded a little preachy so I removed it. So, here it is again....


My project started originally with aquaculture about 6 or 7 years ago.  I wanted to be able to raise my own fish in a pond that I have on my property.  I was having trouble with filtration.  I visited a facility called the "Living Machine," (I posted a diagram a few weeks ago.) Anyway, I dug another pond that I was going to put a greenhouse over and try using the water to…


Added by Rick Stillwagon on October 3, 2011 at 8:46am — No Comments

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