Caution ... Don't let your significant other read this post.
Refer to my next post - Relationship therapy through Aquaponics.
Ok we all know that there are hidden costs when getting involved in Aquaponics. I have written in the past about how my reuse - recycle greenhouse cost me in the thousands already. I know many of us like to scavenge - salvage - recycle etc. many of our materials. So here is my quest to lettuce nirvana.
I bought into vertigro and spent $600 for a starter system. When the monthly inorganic mixture was costing $40 per month I resurrected my interest in Aquaponics. Then I got the bug to build a greenhouse that would be attractive enough to be in my front yard and could be dismantled as I rent the ranch house we live in.
I know you are thinking how this is not your plight but we will get to your particular secret funding.
So here I had accomplished the growth of the most delicious and beautiful lettuce that man could want. Guest would say "Where did you get this lettuce it is amazing?" I would beam back that I grew it and show off the lush growth in my greenhouse.
Greenhouse is the right name as it cost lots of Green to build and maintain.
Please see pictures below of the lettuce I was getting before my cost cutting Aquaponics endeavor.
So here I was at the height of production. Spending 2-4 hours every weekend just harvesting and processing those beautiful leaves for my friends and family. They got so use to it that I had to deliver it to them to make room in my frig. When I found out that some of the large bags of this green gold I was bestowing on them was going to spoilage. I punished them with waiting for them to ask for it. Yeah like that worked. So alas I was now trading with the local organic produce stand. Of course I was keeping my non-legal operation justified as a trade. Well when their customers got a taste of my green drug there were calling to order it and I couldn't keep up the demand. At the same time I was trading to where I ate lunch and dinner and they wanted more. I was the red and green lettuce drug dealer of my town. I couldn't have been happier.
I know you are saying that isn't what it cost me I didn't spend that much on my whole system. Well we get to visit your personal home town of denial latter. You won't escape your personal TRUTH.
So one day I was curious what it cost to produce this beauty that I was trading for $2 a pound. Oh NO! Now that number couldn't be true. If I could just not spend that $40 a month for those nasty inorganic nutrients. So like all addicts and drug dealers I graduated up to the mainline solution.
Aquaponics. Now many of us of my age grew up in the now generation and we have nurtured the natural monkey before. So I was no strange to the art of justification. Yes that great mental path of why we do it. How much it really costs.
Spoiler alert: You better quit reading now or you may need to realize that we have a lot in common.
So I did a mental calculation one day on what I have spent so far and how many heads of lettuce i have harvested so far. Sure I dance around the well. I will many more times in the future. I know I could grow so many more. The real american dream. More. More. Sure I tried some Tomatoes and peppers. Lets not go there to what they might have really cost. And don't forget the half dozen edible cukes. Ah they all had the " This tastes so good!" Addiction. You know that first time you do a drug. Like chocolate. This experience reminds me of sharing with my 4 year old grandson his first ice cream cone. He once told a lady next in line that he was going to "have chocolate all day". She said she always wanted to do that. See picture of him eating his first cone below. Sure he had Ice cream before. But the power of having it in a cone.
This is his last bite of his first cone from the aptly named store IceCream Doctor that is only 100 ft from the door of my office. He is having a double dose.
Well back to my Lettuce.
So now I have hundreds of heads of lettuce growing in the greenhouse. I figure with the 500-700 plant capacity I could really make out in this lettuce deal. Sure I still have to close in the rest of the roof before winter, build a door, insulate the float tanks, get the backup system running, build the gravel bed for filtering, build the second DWC bed under the the second half of the Hanging vertigro, hang the vertigro towers not hung yet, plumb, plumb ....... you get the idea only a few more steps. Soooo When I see the mature systems my fellow Aquapon travelers are just maintaing. (Do such people exist?) I figure I will be just able to spend my time harvesting.
RIGHT? Here are one of my 11 hanging stacks of Lettuce from today.
Now to visit my personal realm of denial. You may just be begining to think that some of this may be encroaching on your world let me assist you in how to ward off reality.
When they ask?....
How much does this lettuce cost? $.20 a seedling.
How much did this greenhouse cost? it was built from recycled windows.
How much of your time does it take to grow this? I spend almost all of my time harvesting and eating it.
What else can you grow? Everything almost.
Wow can I have some? Sure just let me pick some for you.
Like giving candy to a baby.
Now these are only a few ways to stay in the land of denial. But this all will be really useful to remember when you read my next blog on Significant others. So if if you telling yourself that this doesn't apply to you than I suggest you consider the next photo in this little blog entry.
Seen below is the happy picture of a fellow Aquapon. Observe that blissful smile.
Notice the simple easy work she is surrounded by. One of those many gardens in her backyard. Don't forget her prolific postings here on her spare time hobby of Aquaponics. Don't be fooled. This addictions has a grip on us all. We can all relate to these so called simple gardens we are nurturing.
So now I will give you some words to help stay in your land of Aquaponics denial and and further your misdirections.
Use these words and thoughts for inspiration.
It only cost a little bit.
You could do this.
It doesn't take long.
Lots of people are doing it.
I can show you.
Ok I could go on for quite awhile.
Now for those of you who think you only spent a few dollars on your system. I will leave you with just one word when you calculate your $600 Lettuce.
Now if I could only grow enough lettuce this year to get it down to $60 a head.
And when I can grow 1000+ heads for ten+ years I may get it down to .60 a head. Excuse me! I have to work on that list of to do's.