Would you like a side of a algae with that? Although there are people out there who find some aquatic plants appetizing, that's not where this is headed. Feed your roses and/or citrus trees with the algae that you pull out of your pond -- it's great mulch and rich in nutrients (not so sure about the taste). But you CAN feed yourself delicious organic food with an "Aquapondics" system! Never heard of Aquapondics?
Aquaponics or AquaponDics?
Aquapondics is a new term that we're using to describe a system that basically grows food hydroponically, but uses our pond techniques and technology to make it pretty. In other words, we're going to prove that form may follow function, but that function can certainly have form! Many people would love to have a hydroponics system, but they don't want to look at it, especially outside of their kitchen or living room window. Well, neither did we, to be honest, and our kitchen garden area is easily viewed from the main part of the house. But we DO want to grow organic food for our family.
Gardening in Phoenix is tough!
We've tried traditional gardening, but we live on a serious caliche bed, which makes it very difficult to grow pretty much anything that isn't native. We tried raised beds, but they have their own issues. And, well, we're kind of lazy gardeners, so that whole process didn't work out so well for us. It was just easier to hit the grocery store than weed the bloody garden (which gets expensive when buying "organic"). Or put up shade structures so the summer sun wouldn't fry it all. We noticed, however, that our aquatic plants thrived even in 120 degree weather because their feet were nice and comfy in cool flowing water. And since hydroponics has been an acceptable form of growing food for a long time, we thought: why not combine the two!
The Frog Gourmet
The food will be grown in two different ponds: one above-ground made out of wall block, and one dug in-ground, connected by a babbling brook. The food from pond number one, and the decorative stream, will be our vegetables and herbs, utilizing it as a constructed wetland filter for the entire system. The food from pond number two will be Tilapia, our protein source, and won't be a particularly decorative pond, but still not an eyesore. We're using our very small north side yard to demonstrate that feeding your family through hydroponics can be done in a small area, and yet still be attractive. Think of it as a twist on the Square Foot Gardening principles.