I've mentioned over and over again that The Engineer is into projects, so I thought I'd show you the latest.
Aquaponics is the combination of cultivating fish for food and using the fish water as fertilizer for the plants you grow, instead of the rather expensive liquid fertilizer you use for hydroponics, which is the same as aquaponics, but no fish involved. You can spend a lot of time on YouTube watching the lovable nerds explain it to death. My nerd sure has – but it's helped him design a really great system.
The fish are tilapia and live in a pond in the basement that The Engineer made of a wooden frame and fish pond liner. Our breeding colony has seven members, and are just about old enough to breed. (They are our second colony – the first produced over 200 fish before slowing down “production” at which point they became The Swede's birthday stew. Yummy!) We did take a break and stop heating the water to halt breeding so we could catch up with storage space for the offspring.
Think of it like the nursery rooms at church. You have the infant nursery with the tiny little nemos who will be eaten by their parents (yeah, I know, but they're not the only animals which eat their young...) if not separated. Then you need a toddler room, because soon those toddlers of the previous generation start fighting with the new nemos. Repeat the breeding, and soon those toddlers need the 4s and 5s room. We didn't have one. So it was good to have no new babies while we caught up and found cheap 55 gallon tanks on craigslist and now we have happy babies of all ages, growing quickly.
So how does the fish water in our basement cellar get outside to the growing veggies? Swimming pool pump and some complicated tubes and siphons and engineering stuff like that. Here, let me show you. I can explain better with pictures...
This is the majority of the garden. We have the vertical hanging towers, and then the five gallon buckets growing the larger plants, mostly tomatoes. Water comes to the bucket through the black hose you see on the ground, which has those tiny black tubes attached - the fish water sypons into the bucket, keeping the growth material wet. Water leaves the bucket through the white pipes, and as you can see in the bigger picture, those white tubes lead down to a trough where the water runs back down into the fish tanks again. This is what controls it all.
That and an arduino which The Transporter programmed. The pump runs 3 minutes on, 6 minutes off. (The pump is in the basement.)
The trough, showing how the towers are attached (so that wind doesn't make them drip water in the wrong place) and then it disappearing through the window well (through pipes) back to the beginning.
OK, I can tell most of you're just yawning from all the nerdy explanation, but maybe some of my nerdy (aka wonderful) friends wanted to know all that. How about some pretty pictures of our wonderful crop?
Strawberries, bell peppers, and bib lettuce! Those are all growing from the towers.
This English cucumber's vine starts in one of the buckets.
Do you have a garden? What do you grow? Are you married to a mad scientist with fish in your basement anda weird garden in your front yard?