Aquaponics in your Home
The food demand is higher than ever, but large scale agriculture is not the solution. Aquaponics offers a safe, natural alternative that eliminates problems with fertilizers and pesticides. Aquaponics also produces larger crop yields, making it possible to grow food for you and your family right in your home!
A growing population means that the demand for food is higher than ever. While large scale agriculture help to meet this need, its negative effects inspire the need for a better system. Aquaponics alleviates a lot of these issues, and can be used for large scale harvests or in an individual home. Let’s take a look at what you can grow in your own home with an aquaponics system!
Issues with Large Scale Agriculture:
While it is helpful with feeding the masses, large scale agriculture has many drawbacks with both the food produced and effects on the surrounding environment. Harsh chemicals are used in fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides to maximize productivity. These chemicals end up in runoff water that leads to lakes and rivers. Fertilizers are responsible for excessive algae growth in Florida’s waterways. These growths kill fish and vegetation, harming the ecosystem. Pesticide poisoning affects many people who consume produce from these farms as well. It is estimated that 20,000 Americans are affected by pesticide poisoning each year, and one to five million are affected worldwide .
Large scale agriculture is also not sustainable. Growing the same crops in the same location repeatedly can drain the soil of minerals and nutrients, making fertilizer necessary. Then once plants are harvested, transportation is required to ship them to stores and restaurants across the country. Pollution, damage to the environment, and health problems are all side effects of industrial farming. Working towards sustainable, safe processes that can support the masses is the future of agriculture.
Benefits of Aquaponics:
Aquaponics is an amazing alternative to traditional farming! Fertilizers are not necessary in order to produce large yields. Nutrients in the system come from fish waste, which is always being produced. Therefore, there are no challenges associated with depleting nutrients. It is also naturally less susceptible to pests, so pesticides and insecticides are not required to maintain high quality crops. Plants grown in aquaponic systems have constant access to nutrients, so they mature quicker than plants grown in soil. For example, lettuce normally matures in about two months when grown in soil, but has been grown in one month in an aquaponic system!
Aquaponics actually produces higher yield per square foot than traditional farming. This is again due to the abundance of natural nutrients available. Traditional farming requires six square feet of space to match the production of one square foot of aquaponic space. That is a lot of saved space! The reduction in space and time required to produce crops makes aquaponics a super efficient system.
Growing your own produce at home is great for you, as it eliminates the harmful chemicals discussed above from your diet. It also encourages more vegetable consumption, since it tastes fresher than store bought food and is readily available. Vegetables grown with aquaponics, usually leafy greens, contain vitamins C, K and A, as well as calcium. This provides benefits to the immune system, bone health, and vision. It also helps to improve cell growth. Tomatoes are also commonly grown in aquaponic systems. They contain lycopene, a compound that helps fight cancer. Enjoying these health benefits is so much easier with readily available fresh food!
What can you grow in your home?
Aquaponic systems can grow a large variety of crops. Leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, and arugula are perfect for growing in an aquaponic system. They can also be used to grow tomatoes and a variety of herbs. Not much space is needed to grow vegetables in an aquaponic system. To put aquaponic yield into perspective, consider five square feet of space. In a space that size, one can grow seven heads of lettuce, five tomato plants, or 18 basil plants. That is a lot of food! The size of the grow bed for the SGS Home Grower is 2.5 square feet. A unit this size comfortably fits inside any home and can produce four lettuce plants, three tomato plants, or nine basil plants. That’s enough fresh food for you to enjoy with your family!
Not only is aquaponics an effective alternative to buying produce from the store. It also makes growing your own food easy and fun! An aquaponic system is a beautiful addition to any home, and it can be used as an educational tool to teach children about food growth. Aquaponic systems are simple to maintain. Just feed the fish and adjust the lighting. The fish take care of the rest! With so many benefits, aquaponics is the future of food growth. Check out our aquaponics page for more information on how it works, and learn how to get started with a system of your own today!
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- Vegetable production guidelines for 12 common aquaponic plants. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2018, from http://www.aquasol.org/uploads/7/0/7/0/70700977/guidelines_for_12_common_aquaponic_plants
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