Saturday, 19 November 2016

Behind the aquaponics challenge!!

So the BBC finally showed the little aquaponics and growing without a garden film so I thought it'd be good to write a wee bit about it.
It was great to do. I entered into it in a slightly cynical way for sure as although I'm fascinated by aquaponics, I really wasn't sure that it would be possible in a domestic setting, or if I could be interested enough in the detail to really get properly involved. But once it was up and running and the fish were in, it became a bit of an obsession and was really fascinating and very, very productive.
Lots of people have asked what was grown in the grow box, so here's a list and how.
Firstly the box is filled with clay pellets, with a few red worms added which have multiplied over the year. The majority of the plants were grown from seed in modules and then planted into the grow box when they had 2/3 sets of true leaves. The only exception to this was watercress which we added as seed and which went completely crazy. It's fair to say we have been self sufficient in basil, watercress and parsley from the box alone all over the summer.
Now the fish were a slightly different matter. They came along and were popped into the tank and we quickly realised that they probably weren't the ideal fish for the tank. They were mirror carp, a deep river fish, so the tank was far too shallow for them, and we had several incidents of them jumping, flying out and across the wooden floor!! As someone who's slightly fish phobic, thus wasn't ideal to say the least. However, they tasted absolutely delicious. Carp is often described as muddy but as we had maintained the water well, keeping it clean and changing it a couple of times, they tasted clean and sweet. We did lose 3 of the fish during an algal bloom, which was awful and really upsetting, it made me realise that water quality is key so we began doing regular partial water changes.

The tank and grow box are definitely staying as part of our home growing story, but we have goldfish now, and we're overwintering the grow box with strawberry plants. In the spring we're going to add some aquatic plants to the tank to help maintain the water quality, but so far it's doing really well.
Several folk have asked me yo blog about how we grew the tomatoes so I'll do separate piece with pics!!
Would I do it again? Yes!!


  1. Sounds fascinating, Sara, and your post made me want to find out more information. Being a fellow fish phobic, the thought of fish jumping out (with their horrible gaping mouths and gills!) has traumatised me completely!!

  2. Sorry!! It's a fascinating way of growing though and one that I am very keen to continue with and learn more about!