We saw an interesting article and set of instructions (look for download link later in this article) about a type of aquaponics called barrelponics, so we decided to add this to our growing list of projects and add a “barrelponics” system to our hoop house. The photo here is representative of what we hope to accomplish over the next few weeks. If we had all the stuff laying around, it would probably only take a day or two to create the whole system. We’re going to have to make a few trips “to town” and we can only haul a barrel or two at a time due to the fact we both have rather small cars. (Yes, we could have them hauled for us, but we live way out in the country, so hauling isn’t cheap.) Also, there is that pesky thing called work – so we have limited time on most days. We’ll give you some of the highlights as we go along.
Aquaponics – A Brief Explanation
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, aquaponics is a combination of hydroponics (growing stuff with only water – no dirt), but with the addition of fish to the system. In the aquaponics system, there is a “perfect circle” that makes the system self-sustaining. The fish swim around in their tank, doing what fish do – eating and producing waste; the fish waste is then used to feed the plants; the plants filter out the fish waste; clean water is returned to the fish tank. Outcome – fish are happy because they live in constantly cleaned water and plants grow like crazy because they are receiving constant feeding from the fish waste.
As previously mentioned, the particular system we are putting in is called barrelponics – because Travis Hughey, the guy who (literally) wrote the booklet – (1) can call it anything he wants, and (2) it’s made with all 55 gallon drums, so that name makes sense.
Mostly what we did over the weekend was remove concrete blocks from a previous project false-start. Our hoop house experience has been an ongoing adventure in learning. Anyway, we cleared a space about 30 feet by 4 feet along one side of our hoop house. We then cleared it off and flattened it out – although we haven’t really leveled it much. We figured out where the supports are going to go and how to line them up. More tomorrow!
Download The Book – FREE
Travis has been kind enough to make his book available for download and we’re passing the link on to you. You can download the 100+ page booklet here.