My first aquaponic visit was with Sahib at his back-of-office-yard aquaponic farm where he incorporated not just one aquaponic technique but ALL of them. His goal was to show that all growing methods in aquaponics and soil growing need to work together to provide the maximum benefit and NOT ONE SINGLE technique will be a sustainable solution on it’s own. He is very wise and not many people in any technology based field have the patience or mindset to incorporate all possibilities and give them all an honest effort.
Before getting into what I learned at Sahib’s, I have to mention that I ran into my clients and friends Sylvia and Allan of The Aquaponic Source who introduced me to the legendary Murray Hallam! I was so excited to meet him and wondered if he notices how groups of people seem to magnetically congregate around him… maybe we are hoping that some of his fish-poo/plant growing wisdom will radiate outward and enlighten us. He’s awesome and I can’t wait for his speech tomorrow.
Anyway, back to Sahib’s. At this Aquaponic set up there are the following techniques being used:
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
Grow Box Verticle
Sheet Mulched (future)
Sahib has several hundred Tilapia and a few Coy happily swimming around in a large holding tank and 3 converted IBC totes. Each of these tanks is pumped to a different area and all the systems are interconnected. I’m not sure in which order the water flows, but it goes something like this… The water full of fish waste goes to the media based growbeds which are filled with a mixture of hydroton, gravel, and perlite (again trying all the available options). Some of the water is taken upward and onward along the tops of the vertical hanging systems which drip into the media based systems. The water then circulates to an aeration tank and then to the deep water culture area where the floating raft is (middle picture above). The water then flows through the NFT system which is just above the floating raft system.Finally, some of the water can be filtered off into some tanks just outside the main grow area that serve as an irrigation cistern for the soil based plants which extend about 150 yards along the fence out side the main grow area.
Sahib firmly believes that the key to feeding the world in the future will be to not only integrate all forms of Aquaponics but to also integrate Aquaponics with soil based agriculture. In only 4 months sahib has shown incredible growth in his soil based plants which are being fed with Aquaponic water. This is not the only account of this being a successful technique. See below…
He also has demonstrated that it is possible to produce food in areas that normally would be wasted land. Sahib’s place is tucked away behind an office building in a suburb of Orlando. In the future we will need to use every square foot of land if we are going to feed the people of the globe. Sahib really inspired the sustainable gardener me and if you get a chance you should pay him a visit.
So, what do you all think of Sahib’s place?