Good to "meet" you. Welcome to the FXBG area Aquaponics community! There is nothing organized at the moment, but Mark and I are the founders of SquashCart.com (online farmers market currently under construction). We plan to start an official Aquaponics meetup group in April. If you sign up to the SquashCart mailing list you will get the announcements for it when it opens. SquashCart is not specific to aquaponics, but it was created so that we had an outlet to sell the produce from our Aquaponics setup without having to go the full commercial route. We also plan to start offering classes later this summer through the meetup group. But in the meantime, here is how we started:
We had a 75 gallon fishtank already from when our kids had turtles a few years ago. We used that plus 2 large plastic mixing trays from the local hardware shop. We just got cheap goldfish to start off while we were figuring things out. Plus the kids love them. We set them up on a standard metal shelf you can find in any big box store. We had several of these in our garage already. For the plumbing we used pvc pipe we got from a neighbor. The hardest part of the setup was the drainage holes in the cement trays. I had some LED light trays from IKEA which I used, but we set this up in our home office which has good windows. The extra lights weren't really needed. At this time of year, I'd recommend growing Spinach and Basil. They are super easy to grow, and tolerate the cooler temperatures so you don't have to worry about heating much. We also eat a lot of both, so I didn't have to worry about anything going to waste. That is the super simple version we started out with. Then we got a better pump, heating for the fish tank, bits more here and there and now we are smack in the middle of rebuilding the entire system. It's highly addictive, rewarding and the kids LOVE it. BONUS. We have a stackable worm bin in our kitchen which I also recommend and will be adding wicking beds to our system this year. Even though we have 2 acres of land, all of our stuff is currently indoors. (I don't do well out in the sun!) We do have plans for a greenhouse eventually but we may not get that started until next year.
Feel free to send me any questions you have. Once we finish our build we'll invite you over for a tour. I look forward to seeing you in April at our first Meetup!
I'm in my super early stage. Growing pains. Thanks for liking me on FB. Add yourself on my volunteer page so we can keep in touch because I'm not on this site much. It has a lot of great information and people. Just search what you need help on or if you plan to do a CHOP/DWC/NFT system maybe I can help you build one because I'm working on making videos for my company.
Hi Susan and thanks for the comment. I'm actually in the process of starting a small hydroponics vegetable business in Powhatan. I will also do some* aquaponic produce. I'm definitely not an aquaponics pro - more like yourself - but I am going to have different setups to in the summer to learn/share to the public. So your definitely welcome. I'm actually seeking volunteers right now if you might have one day a month. Here's my site www.vafarmer.com