This Aquaponic micro-farm was a really inspiring place to visit. I unfortunately arrived a little bit late to the tour and had to stay late to ask more questions.
At TC’s place, I learned a few new things about horticulture including what a luffa is. To my surprise, a luffa is actually a hanging vining plant that grows large pods that look similar to a giant cucumber (see photo). The pod is actually edible, however at TC’s place they are grown for the production of dry luffa which she processes by drying, cleaning, washing and de-seeding. These dry luffas are great for use in the shower and are much more sustainable than your average sea sponge (I admittedly thought that luffa WAS from the sea and thought they were unsustainable) and can also be used to wash dishes or even decoratively. They grow incredibly fast in the aquaponic environment.
Here are a few more interesting things that I noticed at TC’s place:
Firstly, I noticed the common practice of running PVC pipe along the ground to connect multiple Aquaponic systems to eachother without obstructing paths, this is an important factor to consider when designing a mid to large scale Aquaponic system.
I also saw that TC is doing some rain water harvesting. She has configured a system using a refurbished holding tank which has been positioned upright to save space and connected them to two large water harvesting saucers. This system provides extra water for the bluegill aquaponic system (behind the cistern in the photo). In a place like Orlando, rainfall is abundant and it would make no sense NOT to harvest it!
Another thing I liked seeing at this Aquaponic homestead was the soil growing that she was doing. I like when people integrate soil growing with aquaponics, in my opinion, it is not one technology that leads to sustainability but a combination of approaches, this is why I like Sahib’s place so much. NOT ONLY is there soil growing going on, but before you step onto the property you notice that the driveway is of sand. This is impressive considering that TC has been growing sweet potato in the front yard. She seems to be an advocate of wood mulch as a soil building technique and I can see why.
There’s a lot I didn’t cover here, so please ask away if you have questions!
Any thoughts on this Aquaponic homestead?