It may be hard for you to make the change but even if you have little space or do not like to change up your routine you may want to rethink things. You can have a great garden and fresh fish at the same time using aquaponics. You just have to decide to make the change. It can help our environment and at the same time it will give you wonderful organic foods and fresh fish to enjoy.
While you are waiting for the tank to mature you can use this time to get the rest of your stuff together, this will cost less than a couple of weeks worth of money you would spend on vegetables. All you need is afew lengths of plastic pipes aquaponic supplies some grow beds, I hope you are beginning to see how easy aquaponics is. Basically the water from the tank is pushed through a long pipe that has holes drilled into it which allows the food filled water to feed your plants. This water is then cleaned by the plants roots, they take all they need and pass clean water back into the fish tank.
I understand exactly where you are as you start your journey to a functional and profitable diy aquaponics system. I am starting right along with you. I have been planning this for quite some time, but most of my research had been for a lot larger scale system that included a pond that has the ability to restrict the flow of water coming out of the pond. Our original plan was along the lines of some of the ponds that we would use on some of the farms that I worked on. But the more research I do, the smaller systems are more automated as they come in balance.
The beauty of this form of vegetable gardening is that once it is running then very little maintenance is needed, in fact the most demanding task is feeding your fish. It works as a natural cycle where the waste water from the fish is pumped from the tank and into the media in your pots. This cleans the water and feeds your crop at the same time. Unlike hydroponics the aquaponics system needs no additives or fertilisers, which means your veg is totally organic.
When you first set up your aquaponic system, you are not yet going to have the healthy balanced system that you will have after your system matures. You will not be able to grow healthy plants if any at first. It may take a few months for the nutrient levels and the bacteria that convert the nutrients to get established. Until then you may have to add supplemental nutrients to the system. These may include nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and iron. There are organic sources of these that you can add.
Aquaponics takes most of the work out of gardening. Much of the work you actually do in a garden has little to do with the actual plants you are growing. More of it has to do with working with the soil, from conditioning to pulling weeds and the constant chore of keeping it wet. The other major chore, and often the most frustrating, is protecting your plants from pests. Putting out slug and snail bait, which sometimes works, earwigs, gophers, they take the fun out of gardening.
A garage or even a spare room in your home can be a great place to get started. No need to rent an industrial space to get started. You can get started in front of a sunny window or a small greenhouse in your back yard. If you don’t have access to these things, artificial grow lights will work, although they add to the cost.
It will also give you a chance to stay connected with nature. It will be a great experience for you to raise such a well purposed farm and see it flourishing and growing in the most amazing way without your active support.