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How do deal with large scale planting?  RSS feed

 
Tom Connolly
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I have read a bit about ap but have not found much about details. I am also very new to the permie world, so forgive double ignorance. I am looking to buy 3-5 acres of land in the next couple of years to create a self sustaining lifestyle for food and also to find some income source from the same. The problem is, my budget is such that I will not be able to afford premium lands. I will not have to live in desert land but most likely will have to accept property in a rather arid climate. Because of that I have been looking into using hydroponics extensively. HP in a green house requires much less water than growing outside in soil because of the reduced amount of evaporation. I would also like to raise some animals as well, so the idea of raising fish and using aquaponics is appealing. My problem - I will be growing a lot more plants than the waste water from the fish will support. I have looked into a variety of organic options - including using "tea" made from compost, but it seems to me that once I add anything to the fish water, no matter how organic it is, and then send it through the water bed in the plants, the water will never be able to be used in the fish pond again. Is that true?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Many put goldfish or other cheap feeder fish in, just for the fertility and never for edible protein (except for the black soldier fly larvae).
 
Andrew Kay
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Your fears are correct - heavily fertilised water to sustain an out of proportion fish:growbed ratio will be harmful to the fish ... at some point.

How about multiple systems? An aquaponics system properly stocked, and a hydro system?
 
Tom Connolly
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Thanks! I am 3-4 years away from being able to try a large scale situation so I have time to experiment with small scale. I am very concerned about water conservation and have considered using a fresnel lens to make a large solar water distillary...then drain off about 1/4 of the fish water every day, distill most of the water from it and return the fresh water to the tank. By distilling most of the water, what is left will be a high concentrated form of liquid fertilizer that can be added to the hp part of the equation. It is my hope that the added "liquid fertilizer" will have just about the right amount of water to compensate for the water used by the plants...if excess, it can be used to water soil crops or some other crop.
 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
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Your concern:
My problem - I will be growing a lot more plants than the waste water from the fish will support.
may not be a valid one. There's a group called Nelson Pade not far from my house that raises an incredible amount of veggies on a small number of fish. The infrastructure is expensive but there's no physical reason you can't put an entire acre in aquaponic grow beds.

There are some fish (tilapia, carp, some catfish) that can live entirely off dried and pelleted manure, though they won't grow as fast as with fish feed. If you grow your other animals organically it's not a problem in the water. You can recirculate it just fine.

You can also make a duckweed pond and pour your manure into that, then harvest the duckweed and feed that to the fish.

Or you can feed them dog food.

Not sure if you're wanting to do prepping or not. If not (really either way) the most effective way to use aquaponics is to grow a highly nutritious and valuable crop to trade for something with more calories. Or you could do partial water changes every so often and use the nutrient-rich water to water sorghum.
 
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards
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