Saturday 19 April 2014

Watercress and Aquaponics

I was clearing out the experimental aquaponics set up we tried over the pond last year
Aquaponics experiment 2013
we mainly grew lots of water cress in it, well it sort of grew and thrived itself, there was only 6 little plants that I grew from seed, so in reality the aquaponics experiment was a success

Aquaponic trays first planted

As you can see when it was first set up we planted some lettuce and the 6 watercress plants went into the middle tray. Anyway I digress I was clearing out the trays the other day and the watercress had survived the winter so i gave the big clump to a friend to grow on and I fiddled about with some little seedlings that had self seeded amongst the clay pebbles and the pond.
I have left the ones in the pond they can grow there but some of the seedlings from the trays I am trying to bring on.
Rescued watercress seedlings.
At the moment they are sitting in a bowl of water but I need to sort out some running water for them, otherwise the water will go stagnant and that wont be good, so I am looking for a solar pump I have seen a couple of small ones on the Internet but I am still undecided on the set up.
Watercress is expensive to buy so growing my own and over wintering it is a bonus.
The idea of aquaponics is growing stuff in a soil less environment and using water to carry nutrients to the plants, the nutrients come from fish waste, so the water is pumped from the fish holding tank into a filter box were friendly bacteria clean some of water, the water is then moved by gravity from the filter box through the plant growing area were it is returned to fish all clean, the set up can be run with fish for the table and that is the path we hope to take, so last year was very much just trying it out so we could see how the whole thing works, it is very easy to set up, I hope to have a larger set up in a poly tunnel and use it grow salads tomatoes and cucumbers and of course have the fish to eat with them.
Best of both worlds. 

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