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Questions from someone just starting out in a self sustaining lifestyle.

 
Willowbay Orelse
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At this time we have chickens, turkeys, and ducks for eggs and meat. We also have goats for milk and meat. We also have rabbits for meat. We do have 100 x 40 foot garden but our next project we are a bit clueless about. We have purchased several books but they do not always have the answers. We are building an aquaponics/greenhouse. At this time it is a hole in the ground four feet down 25'wide by 30'long, so that we can bury the 15 foot, around, pool (the above ground ones you purchase at Walmart). We are planning on filling the hole in til it is one foot shorter than the top of the pool. That way the pool will be mostly under ground and will take less to heat it. At this time we don't know what to do with the walls, that are still underground, to water proof them. So that they do not get mucky or collapse after we put up our grow beds and the rest of the green house which will be above ground. Also will an above ground pool be strong enough to hold with just dirt and the pool or should we put some sort of a lining between it? We would like to have Tilapia in it by the start of next March. I can take a picture of the hole tomorrow if it would help. I can also draw up a design on what I am thinking for a greenhouse as well. I should mention we live in southern Arizona so it is fairly warm all year around.
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 356
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
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Seems like you need more perennial plant systems! I come from the humid North, so I don't know how much advice I can give you on growing trees in Arizona, but it can definitely be done.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I'm thinking the pool might be a more efficient thermal mass if left above ground. The ground may not be an efficient insulator. I may be wrong. Be sure to provide sufficient growing beds to filter the large volume of water you'll have in that tank. Of course the important thing is the quantity of fish to grow bed more than the actual size of the fish tank. I'm a beginning aquaponicist myself and find it has a steep learning curve even on a small scale.

Maybe someone with more experience with greenhouse technology will chime in.

Meanwhile here's a video about greenhouses and aquaponics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EqaYohUNas
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i don't do POOL stuff or hyroponics as I have a pond, and I agree with Isaac, and I'm in Michigan so I can't offer much help there..but I'd list what you purchase from the store for FOOD and mark off the list anything that you can grow there that you are NOT growing now, and try to go in that direction, maybe some trees, shrubs, bushes and perennial plants.
 
                              
Posts: 18
Location: Upper Midwest
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Many of the things you are doing sound good: animals with high FCR that can be fed mostly grass and legumes.
But in Arizona I doubt a greenhouse is worth the effort.
And fish farming may be tough in the desert.
I would stick with low water food sources.
Perennials that are fairly drought tolerant may be your best bet:
Asparagus, nut trees, fruit, legume trees, etc.
Your biggest advantage is that you can grow 3-4 plantings per year of vegetables and grains.
You do not need a greenhouse to take advantage of that.
Just grow the right type at the right time.
 
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