The last few days I have been fighting the foes of my garden. Aphids, Squash bugs and Tomato Horn worms! I think I am winning at least until I go on vacation then we see if my husband can keep them from eating up my garden. I have decided that I am really just providing a nursery for the squash bugs at the moment and have lost my squeamishness to squishing the little pains in my squash. I am already working on my battle plan for next year! For the aphids I need to put something out the keeps the ants away as they are the ones who farm the aphids like we farm our animals, no ants hopefully no aphids, order more ladybugs to eat any that do come around and lots of soapy water to wash the tomatoes down with. Horn Worms I will fight by checking diligently like I do now, caught 4 in one day and one today. I so enjoyed seeing the chickens fighting over those worms! As for squash bugs I am at a loss, I am using neem oil soap on the aphids and that is working well so I am going to experiment with the soap and the squash bugs to see if it works. If any one has found something that works PLEASE let me know.
Fighting this garden battle can get kind of depressing, knowing that there are way more of them and only one of you(more if you can get the kids to help squish bugs). So I have been wondering about other ways of growing veggies and whatnot. I have always been intrigued by aquaponics, the idea of raising fish who at the same time are feeding the plants above them is pretty neat. I first read about this in Carla Emery's book Country Living, this book would be considered the homesteaders bible! In my research I found out about:
Hydroponics --the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil; soilless growth of plants.
Aquaponics which is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In the aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals. Many aquaponic styles are possible, it can be as simple as a pond with floating vegetation, through to incredibly complex systems with very high stocking densities of .
I will never be able to afford the very expensive complex one so I started looking on my favorite place for information, you tube. There I found a lot of backyard gardeners making their own hydroponic tanks.
I would like to start with the first one and eventually end up with the last one, though I really loved #3's garden beds. There is an aquaponic farm about 4 hrs away and I hope to visit it in the fall. I would like to know if they still have problems with garden pests or if the beneficial bugs still come around.
Here is a video showing how to make the strawberry towers in video 4.
This should give you some ideas on aquaponics and how to build your own. If you have already built any of these systems send me some pictures.