One of things that is nice about our new place is the extra space that we have. Unfortunately, in our front yard we have a pretty big driveway but only a little yard space to hang out. So needless to say we had to be creative on where we would put our gardens. There is a nice little patch of dirt on the front south facing side of our house that I spent some time digging up soil and adding some compost to.
I planted some tomatoes and squash in the little patch along with some peppers and chard. It should do pretty good with all of the sun light it gets. I am just a little concerned about the soil. It was pretty tore up with weeds and this crazy fern weed that we have out here with an intense root system. I dug up as much as could but feel like I should of added a little more compost than what I had available, time will tell.
Without having to do some major landscape changes, the rest of the yard was pretty much already spoken for until we got a little creative. You see, we were able to get rid of a lot of extra stuff at the garage sale that we had the other weekend when we moved in, this was great because it freed up even more space for us. However, one of the things that I could not get rid of was an old rubber-made rolling bin that we had left over from one of our old warehouses. We didn’t really have the space to store it so I thought that I would find a new use for it. With the help of an extra water pump that I wasn’t using and a quick home depot run to purchase some economical grow bed solutions, we had another garden in our front south facing yard.
This garden is an example of a home scale, gravity feed, constant flow aquaponic unit. This is similar to the system that I recently put in our backyard. Actually I built this one first , and made some improvements on the model that I put in the backyard. One of the biggest differences is that this system is a constant flow gravity feed system as opposed to an ebb and flow (like the system in the back yard) . Constant flow means that the water is constantly flowing, the roots are always exposed to the water. In an ebb and flow the water floods and then drains out, much like the way the tide moves in and out of rivers or bays. I have read that there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, I will share with you what I find as the systems develop.
Ten Days Later:
a close up of some zuccini:
check out da’ roots
red leaf lettuce roots
The tank is a 750 liter re-purposed food grade rubber-made cart dug 16 inches into the ground then covered with bricks for aesthetics. The water is pumped up into a set of 8ft x 4inch PVC tubes with 3inch wholes cut every 10 inches for the vegetables to grow out of. The tubes were painted brown to help heat the water and for aesthetics.
The bottom tube drains into grow bed made out of a food grade cement mixer container filled with river pebble. This bed drains into a similar style bed below that is slightly larger, but with no grow medium. The plants in this bed are growing directly in the water with some tadpoles. This bed then drains directly back into the tank that is filled with over 20 tilapia of different stages of growth.
Check out the images below from our gallery: