Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Beautiful Future of Food

I'm excited to start this project.
This is my first post to establish a place where I can keep my friends updated.

First off I'd like to say I support Open Source and hope to fill these pages with useful information that will benefit others.

Here are a couple pictures of where I am right now.
My 1300 gallon Koi pond is a working aquaponic system that has been established since 2004.  I grow ornamental plants in it.
My wife and grand daughter at the side of the pond

Lush healthy plants keeping the water clean

The pond uses a 3'x3'x7' gravel bio filter and a 3600 GPH pump

This sketch is my vision of the aquaponic system where I will grow food.
I've been researching and learning from those who have gone before me.
This is what I have come up with.
My current plan for a Vermiculture Aquaponic system
SketchUp Link to this drawing

I plan to use one pump and a bell siphon in each growing bed to support a Vermiculite Aquaponic system.
The 12" deep beds will be 15 feet long and 24" wide for a total of 60 sq feet of growing area. It will be  elevated above the sump tank at a comfortable gardening height of about 30".

This is a simple low tech approach of reproducing the natural cycles of life with optimum conditions.  It uses no timers or solenoid valves - only one pump.

The fish tank is slightly higher than the grow beds.  The over flow spills into the growing beds and fills until the bell siphon dumps the solution into the sump tank and is then returned to the fish tank.  As a safety mechanism, I plan to also install a stand pipe above the maximum level of the bell siphon in order to insure that the water will never over flow any of the tanks.  A venturi placed on the plumbing from the pump to the fish tank will help add additional aeration to the water.

Eventually I would like to grow in a controlled environment with grow lights and climate control, but for now I plan to build this outside.  My experience with hydroponics in a green house is that the hydroponic system proved successful, but too much attention and energy was required to maintain a controlled climate in the greenhouse . My dream would be to bring it all into an artificially controlled atmosphere for year around production. Take a look at he 321 video below to see what can be done.

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