Aquaponic Gardening

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Thought I would update my status. I have the AP bug really bad. I have been consumed by AP since the first time I looked at a system online. I got excited and started immediately looking at a way to create an AP system in my yard. Well the more I read and the more I got excited the bigger the picture got. 

Now Im looking at purchasing 73 acres on the edge of Bankhead Nation Forest in the southern half of Lawrence County Alabama. It is completely surrounded by NF (National Forest) land and the closest neighbor is 1.5 miles away as the crow flies and the next nearest is 3 miles. 

My idea is to build 4 each 90x120 greenhouses with a covered room on both ends 90x30 for the fish, sump, and packing area. At current configuration that would give me 5664 sq ft of media beds and 3396 ft of pipe beds per house. I can easily change media beds to raft beds and plan to do that for some of the houses. That also means I will have 4500 fish in each house in 24000 gallon fish tank. I plan to have 24 ea 1000 gal tanks with approximately 190 fish in each one.

I may scale my plans down to 2 each greenhouses if this configuration stays true.  It will be determined when I complete my marketing research to see what the demand will be from my customers. Of course I plan to start the fish out in steps so I dont have 4500 fish ready for market at once and crash the system once I take them out. I will try to stagger them so I have about 650 a month with Tilapia and about 350 a month if I go with catfish. Which ones I go with will be determined by market demand. I will determine by market demand if I will process the fish or sell whole.

I also plan to start an orchard. I know this will take a while before it start to pays dividends but I have always wanted one and with 73 acres to play with and plan out why not. I will plant apple, peach, cherry, pear, Fig, Japanese Persimmon, Pomegranates, Kumquat, PawPaw, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Almond, Chestnut, Hazelnut, Macadamia, Pecan, and Walnut trees. Also will have Muscadine, Scuppernongs,  and blackberries growing.

We will raise some fattening hogs for slaughter, a few cows for beef, a milk cow or two, free range chickens, laying hens, a few goats and maybe even a few sheep. Of course there will be a pond for the livestock.

I think two hired help to start with will be enough but within 3 years I hope to have things figured out  enough to see profit and by year 5 to expand to more greenhouses and hire more help. I have about 20 good years left in me so I hope to have everything running smooth and have expanded to the max before turning it all over to my sons and daughter to run for their futures. 

Anyway thats the plan.

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Comment by Michael Garver Jr. on March 24, 2015 at 10:40am

Congratulations, hope it works out well. Sounds like a dream coming true. Has there been any attempt at designing an irrigation system for an orchard by anyone previously? 

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