Setting up an aquaponics system isn’t quite as easy as you may think, though it’s not brain surgery, either.
It’s also a great way to grow fish and plants at the same time, in a unobtrusive loop that provides fresh produce grown in nutrient-rich soil and a healthy protein source, raised in an environment that you know for a fact isn’t steeped in chemicals or mercury.
Plus, it’s a huge step toward self-sufficiency.
However, as with everything we do, things go wrong. That’s when it’s a good idea to turn to somebody who’s been there.
I don’t have a system myself, but I contacted some folks who do, and they gave me the lowdown on some of the most common problems to pop up in an aquaponics system so that I could share them with you.
I’ve also included some rookie mistakes that are common, so that you can maybe avoid them before you make them.
Growing hydroponically sounds complicated and expensive, but it’s actually neither. All that it means is that you’re growing your plants without soil. I’ve seen examples of hydroponic systems made out of our favorite tool ever – a 5-gallon bucket.
I’ve also seen systems that are exactly what you imagine – tables and tables full of fancy equipment and mysterious-looking tools and chemicals.
Just like anything else, it’s just a matter of how complicated you really want to get.
Let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s all about though, and why you should consider it, then we’ll talk about why it’s a great partner for vertical gardening.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of hydroponic planting. Even if you did live in a cave, you probably saw an example of it when you saw that little plant growing in a puddle of water in the rock. That’s what hydroponic growing is – it’s simply growing plants without soil.
But why should you try it? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
When you think about hydroponically growing plants, you probably get this vision of complicated systems and expensive grow lights, but that’s not the case. Growing plants using a hydroponic system is actually easier that using a soil-based system, as you’ll see in a bit.
You can use water alone, gravel, sand, coconut husks, or even artificial materials to secure the roots of your plants, but the idea is to choose a medium that allows the water to flow freely around the roots of the plant.