Aquaponic Gardening – Create A Self-Sustaining Garden

Have you ever wondered about aquaponic gardening? If not, perhaps you should; it is fascinating. Explore the possibilities and learn more about aquaponics from our regular contributor, Megan Wild.

 

What Is Aquaponic Gardening

and How to Get Started

 

Living sustainably is a trend that has continued to gain popularity over time. Aquaponics is a method of gardening that combines fish farming and growing plants to create a system that is (hopefully) self-sustaining. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Check out the information below to learn more about this method and get started on your own aquaponic garden.

 

How Does It Work?

 

With an aquaponic system, waste from the fish become fertilizer for the plants, and the plants absorb it to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish. Fish waste creates ammonia and nitrate which can be harmful for the fish if it builds up. In an aquaponics system, however, the plants absorb the ammonia and nitrate and cycle the water to keep the fish safe. Once your system is established and self-sustaining, you’ll only need to add small amounts of water to replace what evaporates.

 

What Type of Fish Do I Need?

 

Tilapia is one of the most commonly used fish because they mature quickly, like warm water and do not require high levels of oxygen. In some places, however, tilapia is difficult to get or illegal to grow, so people will use catfish instead. If you don’t plan to eat the fish, goldfish can be another great option. Blue gill and koi have also successfully been used for aquaponics.

 

What Kind of Plants Can I Grow?

 

 

Aquaponic gardens can grow all kinds of things, but aquaponic systems function at a pH level that’s pretty neutral. Plants that require a very acidic pH won’t make it here, so if you had dreams of blueberries or azaleas, aquaponics isn’t for you. Here’s a partial list of some plants that will do well in your aquaponic garden:

 

  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Lemongrass
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant

 

Getting Started

 

Aquaponic systems are pretty customizable, but every system needs to have these components:

 

  • A tank for fish. You can reuse containers you already have around the home, but always clean it thoroughly and don’t use anything that had harmful chemicals in it. You don’t want to put your fish or your food at risk.
  • A grow bed. This is where all your plants will be. Your bed should contain a growing medium like lava rock, gravel or hydroton.
  • Pumps and pipes. These will move water to and from your grow bed. Setting up the system for the pumps and pipes can be the trickiest part of creating your own aquaponics system.
  • An aerator. Having an aerator helps to provide oxygen for your fish.
  • Live red worms. Many people use live red worms in their growing medium. The worms help remove any solid fish waste, and worm castings are great for your plants. You can shine a flashlight on your worms to get them to dig themselves into your grow bed.

 

Once you have your supplies, you should establish your fish and your grow bed. The medium you choose will help clean the water even if there’s no plants in it.

 

Why Aquaponics?

 

There’s several reasons why more people are choosing to do less traditional forms of gardening, such as aquaponics. So, why should you start an aquaponic farm?

 

  • Aquaponic systems use far less water than traditional gardens. The water you use gets cleansed and recycled by the plants so you only add a small amount of water over time to replace what evaporates.
  • This method is perfect for people who have soil that isn’t good for growing. Rather than spending time and money trying to amend your soil, you can skip it altogether.
  • Aquaponic systems are organic.
  • Aquaponics reduce back strain from bending since most systems are built at waist level.
  • Only a small amount of energy is required to run the pump and aeration for the fish. This means you could potentially supply this through a sustainable source, such as solar panels, which would reduce your overall energy bill.

 

Building an aquaponic system is a giant step toward living more sustainably. You get the satisfaction of fresh vegetables and fresh fish that come from your own home — what could be better than that?

 

~Megan

Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!

 

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Best Organic Sunday Dinner Recipes

Peter Minkoff brings us the Best Organic Sunday Dinner Recipes. These are simple and delicious; you’re going to love them.

Do you remember those major preparations for Sunday lunch in your family home? Few of us do something like that, but it seems that Sunday lunch is still firmly established as a time for family gathering. What about Sunday dinner, though? Then, I have to admit, that I myself am a little lazy. You know, I am waiting for this day for an entire week, hoping that I will be able to rest without doing anything other than cooking lunch.

Sunday Dinner Recipes

The Best Ideas for Simple Organic Meals

 

To make things even more difficult, I have made a firm decision to prepare healthy organic dishes for my family, so I have to consider many things when cooking. Although ordering a pepperoni pizza and watching TV would be the simplest option, I have found that there are many healthy and delicious meals which can be prepared in no time.

 

Here are some great ideas for your organic Sunday dinner.

Japanese Rice

This is such a simple meal that requires almost no time for the preparation and it is cooked in about 40 minutes. I prefer to use brown organic rice because it is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 ½ tbsp butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cook the rice for about twenty minutes. Season with salt. Leave it to cool in the refrigerator. Scramble the eggs in a pan over medium heat. After the rice is cooled, add peas, carrots, onion and scrambled eggs and mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add a dash of salt and pepper and soya sauce. Pour the rice mixture in the pan, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. You can serve it in rolls.

5 from 1 reviews
Japanese Rice
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A Rice dish that can be served as a side dish or as the main dish.
from:
Type: Main Dish
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 tbsp finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 ½ tbsp butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • Salt and pepper
Directions:
  1. Cook the rice for about twenty minutes.
  2. Season with salt.
  3. Leave it to cool in the refrigerator.
  4. Scramble the eggs in a pan over medium heat.
  5. After the rice is cooled, add peas, carrots, onion and scrambled eggs and mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  6. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add a dash of salt and pepper and soya sauce.
  7. Pour the rice mixture in the pan, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes.
  8. You can serve it in rolls.
3.5.3208

 

Curried Coconut and Chickpea

This is actually my favorite recipe, because I am crazy about both chickpea because it is packed with magnesium, iron, phosphate, zinc, calcium and vitamin K, and it is delicious. I cook this meal using Honest To Goodness coconut oil, because I am sure that it is as healthy and natural as it gets.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 ¼ tbsp coconut oil

Preparation:

Cook the cauliflower for 3 minutes. Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat and add all the ingredients but the cauliflower, chickpeas and coconut milk and cook until everything is translucent. After, add the cauliflower and cook for another 3 minutes. Then add chickpeas, stir and cook for 3 minutes more and deglaze with coconut milk.

5 from 1 reviews
Curried Coconut and Chickpea
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A great meal packed with magnesium, iron, phosphate, zinc, calcium and vitamin K, and it is delicious.
from:
Type: Main Dish
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 ¼ tbsp coconut oil
Directions:
  1. Cook the cauliflower for 3 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat and add all the ingredients but the cauliflower, chickpeas and coconut milk and cook until everything is translucent.
  3. After, add the cauliflower and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Then add chickpeas, stir and cook for 3 minutes more and deglaze with coconut milk.
3.5.3208

 

Greek Pizza

Well, sometimes you have to have pizza, but if you do, make it a healthy one. Kids love it, and it is a good way to make them eat spinach, which is important for bone health, skin, hair, etc.

Ingredients:

  • Organic pizza dough (buy prepared or prepare by yourself)
  • 1 ½ cups yogurt
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 ounces diced black olives
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp fresh peppermint leaves

Preparation:

Pre-bake the dough for about 10 minutes and set aside. Mix spinach and yogurt in a mixing bowl and spread it on a partially baked crust. Sprinkle with feta cheese, diced tomatoes, diced olives, sliced onions and peppermint leaves. Put it in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

5 from 1 reviews
Greek Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
For those times when you just have to have pizza, make it a healthy one.
from:
Type: Main Dish
Ingredients:
  • Organic pizza dough (buy prepared or prepare by yourself)
  • 1 ½ cups yogurt
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 ounces diced black olives
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • 1 tsp fresh peppermint leaves
Directions:
  1. Pre-bake the dough for about 10 minutes and set aside.
  2. Mix spinach and yogurt in a mixing bowl and spread it on a partially baked crust.
  3. Sprinkle with feta cheese, diced tomatoes, diced olives, sliced onions and peppermint leaves.
  4. Put it in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
3.5.3208

 

As you see, it is possible to make a healthy and simple organic Sunday dinner without breaking a sweat. Enjoy your meal.

 

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