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Saturday, September 3, 2011
Backyard aquaponics: DIY system to farm fish with vegetables
Rob Torcellini bought a $700 greenhouse kit to grow more vegetables in his backyard. Then he added fish to get rid of a mosquito problem and before long he was a committed aquaponic gardener. Now his 10 by 12 foot greenhouse is filled with not only vegetables, but fish. And the best part is: the poo from that fish is what fertilizes his garden. Aquaponics combines fish farming (aquaculture) with the practice of raising plants in water (hydroponics). It's organic by definition: instead of using chemical fertilizers, plants are fertilized by the fish poo (and pesticides/herbicides can't be introduced to kill pests because they could harm the fish). Since the plants don't need dirt, aquaponics allows gardeners to produce more food in less space. And in addition to the vegetables they can grow, most aquaponics gardeners cultivate edible fish as well. In this video, Rob shows us the aquaponics greenhouse in his Connecticut backyard, that he built mostly from scavenged parts, as well as his DIY indoor system where he's growing lettuce under a grow light.
Bigelow Brook Farm: www.bigelowbrook.com