Hey, fishy, fishy!
The tilapia fish are still alive and swimming and the plants that are growing in the nutrient laden water are growing quite well. I have to say the sound of water circulating right outside the kitchen is a very soothing , pleasant sound. This summer, I look forward to our canning escapades, with the back door wide open, the soft afternoon breeze, and the trickling sound of water (does good job at drowning out the traffic from the 11 lane freeway that runs but yards behind the urban homestead). Not only did we bring another element to the urban homestead, we created another productive micro climate in what was an under utilized part of the urban homestead. (Check out Farming With Fish)
When growing in an urban environment it’s all about using space wisely and we are still revamping and redefining our space ( Check out “The Four P’s:” Production, purpose being practical but pretty and best of all – personal)
From three plant species in one 3′ x 8 ” space we’ve quadrupled the plant species and added an animal one to boot!
Where there were once three wine barrels with citrus, there are now 25 fish and plants like water chestnuts, watercress and arrowroot. Growing vertical ly along side the fish tank are herbs (mints, parsley), veggies (tomatoes, kale, chard, celery) and edible flowers (nasturtiums).
For those of you who are curious about the water use (because water is a BIG concern for us!): Aquaponics systems require only small amounts of water to replenish — they use up to 90 percent less water than soil-based methods of farming. Plus, any water change is used to fertilize the garden via underground irrigation.
The whole set up is really looking nice; but we are still working out the kinks of the system and experimenting with different plants to see what grows best. Also, regular commercial fish feeds are not organic and usually have hormones, corn, soy, fish meal, and/or artificial colors, etc. We are trying out several different kinds of organic food to see what the tilapia like or dislike.
Now fish, fish are hard to photograph, they like to swim underwater for some reason, so you’ll just have to use your imagination on this one!
Another step in our journey towards self sufFISHency. 😉