Backyard Aquaponics Made Easy – Article 1 – Sizing your Aquaponics System
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis
Read our “Six-Part Article Series for Backyard Aquaponics Made Easy
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis
READ THE ENTIRE AQUAPONICS COURSE OUTLINE: CLICK HERE.
- Article 1. Sizing your Aquaponics System to determine how many people you want to feed.
- Article 2. Location for your Aquaponics System in your backyard
- Article 3. The Type of Building for your Aquaponics System – greenhouse, etc.
- Article 4. The Cost and Materials for an Aquaponics System in your backyard
- Article 5. Operations for your Aquaponics System – fast and easy!
- Article 6. Variations for Your Aquaponics System – no two are the same.
- BONUS ARTICLE: Nine Steps for Building a Super Backyard Portable Farm
This series of articles is your guide to installing a backyard aquaponics system and having it produce fresh greens and blooming plants round including fresh home-grown fish.
The topics we’ll cover in this upcoming series of articles will teach you the basic information you’ll need to know if you’re considering owning your own backyard aquaponics system. We won’t divulge the ‘secret ingredients’ that are required to build and operate your system because that information is all covered in our Portable Farms® Aquaponics System Course© which explains everything you’ll need to learn to actually build an aquaponics system, grow your fish and food.
The first step to consider is how to size your installation:
1. Step One – Sizing: Aquaponics is a high intensity food production system that produces prodigious amounts of food year round. Here is the formula for correctly sizing your backyard aquaponics system. In a highly effective system with gravel as the medium base, a tray space of 25 to 30 sq. ft. will feed one adult their table vegetables year round – FOREVER. Use the number of people you want to feed times (x) the 25 sq. ft. required for each person and the resulting figure will be the size of grow tray space you will need.
For example: You have four people in the house (any child over the age of 11 eats like an adult) times 25 sq. ft. equals 100 sq. ft. of grow tray space. A grow tray that measure 5 ft. x 20 ft. long (6 ft. x 16 ft.) will be the perfect size. This size tray will fit comfortably inside a 10 x 24 ft. (or a 12 x 20 ft.) greenhouse.
A second example: There are 8 people you wish to feed. 8 people x 25 sq. ft. per person equals – 200 sq. ft. This creates a logistical dilemma. The required grow tray area can only be 6 ft. wide (people have a tough time reaching over about 3 ft. so with an aisle on each side the maximum width will be limited to 6 ft.) and so do you want to build a long skinny building to house the 6 ft. x 32 ft. tray (a 12 ft. x 36 ft. building) or do you use two grow trays and have a slightly wider and shorter building of 20 ft. x 20 ft.? Again this is up to you, the location and your finances.
The formula of number of people times the 25 sq. ft. required to feed them can be applied no matter what the number of people you want to feed. A commercial installation with 10,000 sq. feet of enclosed space provides 6,000 sq. ft. of grow space and will feed 240 people.
In future articles we will cover:
2. Finding the ideal location. Do you have six hours of direct sunlight available in the chosen location? If not are you willing to supplement the lighting necessary to have the most amazing vegetables on the planet? Can you use an existing building, or extend an existing building to save money and reduce the carbon footprint?
3. Deciding on the type of building you would select to surround your aquaponics system, and learn what is required with each type of construction. We will explore the limitations and how can you utilize the space inside for maximum yield and efficiency. We’ll also explore hoop houses, lean-to’s, commercially available greenhouses and what each type needs to have in order to be climatically adapted for year round operations.
Two frames containing plastic chicken wire suspended above grow trays to support growing blooming plants.
4. Explore the materials that are required for the grow trays and other items that are required for your system to operate at its peak. This article also covers the ratios necessary to maximize production and protect the system and what it actually cost you to build the installation and have it become a high intensity food production facility that operates and produces food, year round.
5. The actual operation of your new aquaponics installation regarding ways you can be assured that you will be operating it effectively and not kill fish or plants. We’ll also explore some basic procedures that need to be followed to keep your system healthy and productive. We’ll explore what fish to use and which plants work the best under different conditions which are all considerations for designing your system to your needs.
6. The sixth and final article of this series of articles will cover the alternatives and additional information available to enhance the installation to help your family be healthier, more secure and less stressed. This includes solar and other alternative power sources, use of catchment for water, seed selection, integration with other growing methods and several other topics to increase the impact your new aquaponics system will have on you, your family and the world.
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