Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegetables and Goldfish with no Garden

Val and I and our two dogs Jackson and Bridie, have recently 'downsized' to a small house with no garden, just a paved courtyard at the front and a small courtyard at the back.
How was I going to still have a pond without surrendering any of our 50 odd goldfish and continue growing our own vegies?

By aquaponics is how.
Think hydroponics, where plants are grown in a soil-less medium with controlled nutrient laden irrigation.
Take an above ground fish pond and above ground 'grow beds' filled with baked clay pellets; connect the pond and grow beds with pipes and pumps and you have an aquaponics system.
Water floods into the beds for 15mins, drains out and is pumped back to the pond. The pond water going in is the nutrient laden irrigation and the beds filter the water going back to the pond.
Real aquaponics enthusiasts have eating fish, trout or barramundi, in the pond, but I wanted our goldfish and waterlillies.

Well, the pond has been operating in the front courtyard now for three months. It is less than half the size of the pond we left behind but all 50 odd goldfish are thriving; a lemon yellow waterlily has been bringing up blooms in rapid succession, the dwarf cannas are flowering beautifully and the irises are getting well established.
The grow bed system is also operational and our first sowings of peas and dwarf beans are about 10cms high.

How's that for efficient gardening; no weeds, no mowing, no digging.