Aquaponic Gardening

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Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on April 6, 2013 at 6:15am

Now I've got a little chunk of a backyard that I like to use as a garden...about 2.5 acres...not all of which gets used for toms and peppers of course...but there have been seasons where I've planted around a thousand of those two cultivars (if we count them both...spread out amongst many particular varieties of each) and the biggest downside to having them next to each other...in close proximity...is that they are both from the same family of plants, Solanaceae...which means that they are subject to many of the same pathogens/diseases, which seem to easily pass between the two cultivars (along with potatoes, eggplant and some weeds that belong too the same family of plants. That is why it doesn't seem like a good idea to have a lot of them planted "with", or at least right next to each other. paying attention to things like that becomes very important when growing organically in "significant" numbers...and not monocropping since you are limited in terms of not "breaking out the big guns" to deal with oomycete, fungal, viral, and bacterial pathogens. In the garden I would not suggest it (planting them together).

Since most all our protection vectors for dealing with both pests and pathogens are 'milder' than in 'conventiaonal' growing methods, it's probably good to take a layered approach and use as many things as we can...like not planting certain things together being one of them...companion planting (among which I don't count tom's with peppers as 'companions'...a healthy population of beneficial insects and effective micro organisms...using common and safe compounds like baking soda, milk, or potassium bicarbonate to deal with outbreaks of powdery mildew or whatever...worm tea foliars...and other things, etc...) Now, if you've got just 10-20 plants in some AP or hydro system, sure...why not, doing those type of things should be easy and fun. Doing those type of things on a larger scale takes a bit time, energy, more money and some dedication...

Most commercial hydro operations are essentially mono-cropping...which makes "good" financial and logistic sense (and dollars) for a number of reasons (many of which are same reasons monocropping is employed throughout the fields of the mid-west)...But it not entirely true that "...one will take off and the other won't..." They have different needs for different plant essential elements at different times...so it doesn't make sense on a commercial hydro level. And is far from an "optimal" situation...But believe me, on a home or 'basement' scale...if you are providing the proper conditions, including but not exclusive to, the plant essential elements needed for tomatoes...you can potentially have peppers that will do just fine along side tomatoes...

Guys...I don't know where you're getting this, but IT IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA to just go and "pee in your system"...ever...for a number of reasons...discussed at length...many times...on many threads...on different forums...Now, using humonia and/or it's derivatives on the other hand is quite another matter...

Comment by Keith Markham on April 6, 2013 at 6:03am

You guys know way more than me about growing plants...this is the first time I have ever tried to grow anything so its just kinda like, lets plant some seeds and see what happens....It has been challenging, never thought you could have so many problems to deal with...white flies, aphids, ants, early blight, powdery mildew...and most recently figured out why cucumbers would dry up and die...male/female flowers and lack of pollination...so as I discover new things, just deal with them and move on...for me, fish are easy to raise, plants not so easy, but I'm sure it will get better with experience...

Comment by Bob Campbell on April 5, 2013 at 11:20pm

@TonyP - Tomatoes and Peppers are a good combo.  Peppers benefit when planted with tomatoes.  Don't plant tomatoes with cabbage or potatoes, and don't plant peppers with kale, cabbage or beans.

Both tomatoes and peppers like to be planted with carrots, basil and onions.

Comment by TonyP on April 5, 2013 at 4:57pm

I don't know if it's just a rumor or not but back in the hydroponic world people always told me that if you plant tomatoes and peppers in the same system, one will take off and the other won't.

Comment by Jim Fisk on March 24, 2013 at 7:13am

I don't blame you Keith. I know Bob is right but I am a bit squeamish about peeing in my system as well. I just don't think the family would ever look at their "food factory" the same again

If you are selling your veggies and fish I wonder how the board of health would feel about it as well. Bad enough the fish are peeing in there

Comment by Keith Markham on March 23, 2013 at 8:50pm

I have heard the term peeponics, but I probably could not bring myself to piss in my tanks...fish r growing fast and I think in a few more months things may look a little better...

Comment by Bob Campbell on March 23, 2013 at 1:35pm

I get that urine is not always appreciated for the asset that it is, but it's free and it works. 

Other sources would be blood meal which your fish will also eat.  Feather meal and alfalfa are probably the least expensive ways to go, but I'm not so sure the fish will eat feather meal and the solubility of the last two items may be an issue although I expect the fish would also eat alfalfa meal.

Comment by Bob Campbell on March 23, 2013 at 10:06am

@Keith Markham - I'm serious about pissing on your fish.   Bacteria and protozoa don't care where the nitrogen comes from, and as long as they are providing nitrification your fish will be OK.  

Comment by Jim Fisk on March 23, 2013 at 7:50am

Does it have iron? I think there are a few choices. If not you should get some iron from her as well. Buying from her store supports the forum of course so given a choice I always click on the "Shop" tab above first.

Comment by Keith Markham on March 23, 2013 at 6:58am

I have been adding some Maxi Crop, not much, I think maybe a couple capfuls in each bed since I started two months ago, also small amount of iron in each bed...not sure if I have used enough??

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