Growing Tomatoes in Aquaponics

 Growing Tomatoes in Aquaponics
-by Colle and Phyllis Davis

toms may 17 2013

(Photo above) Each of these tomatoes weighs approximately 1/2 pound. We harvested them from a Farms® Aquaponics System. THEY ARE DELICIOUS.

Tomatoes are the single most requested crop to grow in the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems. The expected yields in this article are based on growth from a single Grow Tray (shown below) and are very conservative. They are based on the lowest yield per plant, the shortest harvest cycle and the longest time a plant will remain in the Grow Table of the system. The actual production and yield is often two to four times the stated amounts in most cases especially after the operator becomes more skilled.

tomatoes colle may 3 2013

Colle Davis harvesting tomatoes

Tomatoes that have been planted and raised from a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems can be sold as locally-grown and pesticide free and after certification can also be called ‘organic’ meaning the grower can receive higher prices based on their growing methods and further reducing the ROI than stated in this article.

GFIA Portable Farms® Aquaponics System - Tomatoes 6Tomatoes present an interesting opportunity because of two factors: The first is that all tomatoes must be staked or trellised (vertical growing) to maximize yield. This keeps the plants upright and allows the utilization of the entire column of growing space from the Grow Table’s surface to the area 2m (6 feet) or more above the Grow Tables. Trellising can be seen as a type of natural vertical gardening. Trellising also makes harvesting much easier because the fruit is more readily accessible. Pollination is also easier due to the open access to the blossoms. Circulating fans are very effective in the pollination of most plants and reducing the humidity and heat when the plants’ blossoms are opened up on trellises.

To successfully grow tomatoes and other blooming plants (peppers, cucumbers, beans, etc.) year round requires the use of Grow Lights suspended above the Grow Tables in a climatically adapted environment. The investment in the Grow Lights and electricity for the purpose of growing blooming plants is offset by the increases in both variety and production.

One of the challenges with tomatoes is to determine how long to leave the plants in the gravel before removing them and replanting in the same spot in the gravel. The recommended spacing on tomatoes is 30cm (12 inches) and not to offset the rows for maximum outreach of the plant’s growth. Our research discovered that the plants begin to produce tomatoes at 81 – 89 days (depending on conditions) but after approximately six to eight months of growing in the gravel, the tomato plants develop such a large root ball (the size of a football) that they began to impede the effective flow of water through the Grow Tables. This is especially true when a Grow Table was planted with only tomatoes. This root ball’s large sized necessitates the removal of the mature tomato plant after the sixth to the eighth month. The immature tomatoes can be harvested before the plants are removed to add to the overall production. The gravel in the area is then cleared of root fragments, and a new plant is immediately placed in the same spot. This process is thoroughly and carefully covered in the Operations Manual© provided with each installation.

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, CEO of PFAS LLC, standing in front of a few tomato plants (10' tall) that supply hundreds of tomatoes while they're planted in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. We generally leave the tomatoes in the grow trays about six months and then replant new tomatoes because their root systems grow too large (size of a football) for the grow trays.

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, CEO of PFAS LLC, standing in front of a few tomato plants (10′ tall) that supply hundreds of tomatoes while they’re planted in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. We generally leave the tomatoes in the grow trays about six months and then replant new tomatoes because their root systems grow too large (size of a football) for the grow trays.

 Tomatoes from a single full size 5′ x 40′ (200 sq ft) or 6’ x 32’ [1.5m x 12m (18m2)] Grow Table:

  • Each Grow Table can hold 200 plants (1ft or 30cm centers) and be planted twice per year
  • Production (harvest time) is normally over a 60 to 85 day period
  • The plants require a three month growing period before harvest begins
  • Year round growing is accomplished with the use of grow lights above the Grow Tables and a carefully acclimatized greenhouse or warehouse structure
  • Tomato plants bloom to fruit ratio is increased greatly with the addition of FF Mineral Rock Dust. FF Mineral Rock Dust provides aquaponics growers the perfect balance of many trace elements not consistently available from just plain ordinary fish poop. Now you can grow consistently blooming plants with the addition of FF Mineral Rock Dust, as your plants and your fish poop will now contain adequate levels of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, just to mention four of the vital elements for successful growing in aquaponics.
  • Staking or trellising is required and can be installed permanently
  • No pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilizers are ever used
  • Tomatoes yield is between 5 and 9 lbs. [2 and 4k] per plant depending on variety
  • Yield per plant is 25 to 35 tomatoes per plant, depending on variety
  • Yield 55lbs [25k] per week
  • This level of yield give one 880 lbs. to 1,760lbs [400 to 800k] every six months
  • Or in one year 1,760 to 3,500lbs [800 to 1600k]
  • PLUS 330lbs [150k] of Tilapia per year from the Fish Tank below the Grow Table

Each Module contains one Grow Table, one Fish Tank and one Clarifier. The components to make the Module functional include the Portable Farms® Kit with the special pump and valve system, a control panel, air pumps and related hardware and wiring.

Each Module cost approximately US$3,300 completely installed. This does include the growing medium (gravel), but not the seeds or fish because the owner will be in charge of the seed variety and the fish will be procured locally at best prices.  The Modules require being housed in a climatically adapted greenhouse with one or more thermostatically controlled exhaust fans. In cold climates, more insulation is needed and in the tropics, the sides can be screen or netting.

By using the lowest yield with the shortest harvest season and two crops per space per year the Return On Investment will be approximately 55lbs per week at US$1.00 (very low price) or US$55.00 per week x 52 weeks = US$2,860 or a 1.4 year pay back. This does not include the greenhouse. In most cases this number will be much higher and will continue to rise as the operators become more skilled.

Please note: The above numbers are based on the lowest expected yields from field grown crops, using the shortest possible harvest time, plus the longest time from transplant to finish harvest. In other words, the lowest possible output from the Module for this crop is shown. The actual output from each Module can, and probably will be, from two to four times as high resulting in a much shorter ROI.

 


Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

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Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
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Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

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 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

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An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

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Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD – NEW eBook

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Backyard Aquaponics GOLD  (EBOOK)  $9.95

To order: CLICK HERE

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, Harvesting fresh greens from their Portable Farms.

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, Harvesting fresh greens from their Portable Farms.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD by Colle and Phyllis Davis is presented as an overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home for a greater degree of sustainability and food safety for themselves and their family.

The suggestions provided in this ebook cover the topic of year-round growing with aquaponics prior to studying other topics regarding raising healthy fish and vegetables.

We receive hundreds of inquires per month from those who have ‘just discovered’ aquaponics and want answers to their many questions about aquaponics before they move forward and decide to install their own aquaponics system.

After reading this ebook (over 10,000 words with dozens of images), you’ll be able to make the decision about whether aquaponics IS FOR YOU.


Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Aquaponics in Cold Climates Works Well!

Aquaponics in Cold Climates Works Well!
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Winter is coming . . . . Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

READ OUR NEW BOOK: GREENHOUSE & WAREHOUSE AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Now is the time to install your Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems so you can enjoy fresh
and delicious food every day of the year.

When Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are placed inside a climatically adapted greenhouse or other structure especially with supplemental lighting, a year round garden/farm is entirely possible and will eventually/quickly pay for itself in cold climates.

Please note: It is FAR EASIER to heat a greenhouse than it is to cool a greenhouse because the water in the fish tanks is heated to 80 degrees F and that keeps the plants warm all winter. In very cold climates, you may need an oscillating floor heater (the kind you use in a house or office on a cold day), to dump some extra heat in the greenhouse.

greenhouse snowFor a successful Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems installation to be installed in cold climates start by insulating the entire north wall and most of the north roof, insulating most of the east and west walls and insulating the first four feet of the south-facing wall to reduce the heating cost dramatically. Those surfaces do not have to be transparent and can be constructed with several inches of insulation. Supplemental heating can be as simple as several small space heaters placed near the floor. More elaborate gas heaters can also be used and will prevent any area of the structure from dipping below 40°or possibly freezing. We can assist you in designing your cold climate installation or any climate installation.

portable-farms-bib-lettuceCooler temperatures inside the structure favor many kinds of greens so a temperature near human comfort level in ideal for many plants. Tomatoes will not set fruit if the temperature goes below 60° for even a few minutes each day. Some lettuces will not grow at all when temperatures go above 95° at any time.

The aim is to have the interior of the structure remain within the range required by the plants being grown. If you are growing only greens, you can allow the temperature to go as low as the high 40’s° at night. If you are growing tomatoes you will need to insure the temperature never goes below 60° at any time. With these very low temperature requirements, the cost of supplemental heating is dramatically lower than in ‘hot’ houses which keep the temperature in the high 70’s.

Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Think Ahead for Winter Growing

Think Ahead for Winter Growing
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Yes, you can grow a variety of crops YEAR ROUND in aquaponics in acclimatized greenhouses and if you install grow lights for use during winter months to extend the light of the day, you can grow both greens and blooming plants (tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers).

However, there is a caveat, the ambient air temperature still determines which crops are easier to grow in cold weather or hot weather. For example, It’s easier to grow fragile greens in cooler weather. Let’s use bib lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce or red leaf lettuce as an example. If the air temperature is too hot, those lettuces will not grow to their maximum size, in fact, they may BOLT before they have even reached their average  growth and are best grown in cooler temperatures. However, in hot seasons, there are far more heat-resistant lettuces available such as Romaine (cos).

Komatsuna summerfest - An Asian Green we prefer over bib lettuce.

Komatsuna summerfest – An Asian Green we prefer over bib lettuce.

Despite the fact that Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are ‘housed’ in acclimatized greenhouses and provide the ideal water temperature for growing lettuces at 78 degrees F, all seedlings and growing plants (of all varieties) still react to climatic conditions:

  • Air temperature
  • How air temperature effects the temperature of the gravel in the grow beds
  • Humidity levels
  • Sunlight exposure levels
  • Day length
  • Root drainage and water flow
  • Appropriate pH balance and appropriate nutrient levels.

 

 

Phyllis Davis harvesting greens for a luncheon. That's was one heck-of-a-salad. Yum.

Phyllis Davis harvesting greens for a luncheon. That’s was one heck-of-a-salad. Yum.

In order to create maximum crop yields, careful consideration is always paramount for seed variety and selection for growing at optimal levels by experimenting with small seed batches until you find a seed that offers maximum production in your farm.

Before deciding on one particular seed or seed variety for your farm, experiment first. Since every area of the world offers a variety of seed choices in that country or region, take your time to speak with local growers and seed suppliers to see which seed will work best for you, in your climate, and then purchase a few different varieties of small packets of seeds to experiment in your aquaponics system until you find the seeds that work best for you and your family or future customers.

All varieties of lettuces grow to harvest between 40 and 75 days and most lettuce seeds available for sale have been developed for growing hearty, healthy heads of lettuce in both cool weather and hot weather conditions. 

 

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, holding ONE HEAD of India Mustard. Wow! That will make one gigantic salad!

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, holding ONE HEAD of India Mustard. Wow! That will make one gigantic salad!

Cool weather lettuces we recommend:

  • Head and Big Lettuces: Arctic King, Buttercrunch, Matchless, North Pole, and Burpee’s Bibb, Red Sails, Prizehead
  • Romaine: Parris Island Cos (the most common)

Heat-tolerant lettuces we recommend:

  • Head lettuces: Gulfstream, Vista, Oak Leaf, Great Lakes, Ithaca, Gator (highly recommended by University of West Virginia). Burpee, Igloo.
  • Leaf Lettuces: Simpson Elite, Burpee’s Heatwave Blend, Black Seeded Simpson
  • Romaine Lettuces (cos): Snappy, Terrapin, Pomulus.
  • Red Lettuces: Redfire and Red Sails.

 

 

 


Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Solar Aquaponics – The Future of Growing

Solar Aquaponics, – The Future of Growing
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

solar system

Heat and light are the heart-and-soul of aquaponics after the water, plants and fish are in place.

Here we have to make a couple of assumptions about your current or planned solar powered aquaponics system: 1) the constant aeration pump and the circulation pump requirements have already been planned for and 2) calibrated against the output of the system.

Now let’s bring the other two CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) elements to your aquaponics system by adding:

  1. Grow lights – not expensive, easily available and need more power than a single deep cycle battery can supply
  2. Heat for the fish tank – less expensive, easy to install and, yes that second battery is necessary.

The grow lights require a converter to up the voltage from 12vdc to 110 or 220vac and this step takes power and additional components. (There are 12v florescent lights, but they have a long way to go to be effective.) You may already use a converter to run you water pump and if so make sure you upgrade to enough watts to handle all of the current draw on your system.

sun symbol from color splashes and line brushesThe rule of thumb (green or not) is that plants need to have full spectrum lighting or special growing lights in a density sufficient to grow and be healthy. We have successfully used the guideline of one, four tube 4’ T8 Super-sunlight fixture per 2m or 6’ of grow tray length. These fixtures, including bulbs, are less than US$80 almost everywhere in the world. The 32watt tubes times 4 tubes means each fixture requires 128watts of power per hour for up to 4 hours per day. (Indoor growing has a very different time frame and cost.) To translate this to power usage: There needs to be 128watts x hours of use = watts per hour requirements from your solar electrical system. We started with one deep cycle marine battery and found very quickly that a second matching battery was needed to operate the grow lights for three hours per day over the six months of short days.

 

cover small

Solar Aquaponics GOLD – Ebook
Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

Here are the components you will need (assuming you are using an existing solar electrical system) to ‘go solar’ with your grow lights:

  1. A second matching battery
  2. An 800watt converter – 12vdc to 110 or 220vac (this is for one grow light fixture)
  3. One Super-sunlight T8 four tube fixture or similar per 2m (6’) of grow tray length
  4. Mounting hardware for above the trellises

These will cost in the range of US$300 to US$400.

Now for the heating system:

In most aquaponics systems, the fish tank is or can be plastic or a heavy rubberized food-grade material. (Please do not use galvanized steel because the zinc will leach into the water and is harmful to both fish and plants.) With a fish tank made of these materials you can add a thermostatically controlled heating system for under US$100, extra battery not included. Most warm water, fresh water fish do very well at between 75 and 80° F (25 to 27° C).

solar panelUsing a 12vdc heating element and a thermostat to keep the water in the fish tank within a desired range will contribute both to your production and your peace of mind. In colder climates the fish tank needs to be heavily insulated, especially the bottom and top. Placing the heating element near the aerators also helps to distribute the heat within the tank.

Here is the list of components to ‘go solar’ with the fish tank heater:

  1. 300 watt 12vdc heater element
  2. Thermostat/relay to control the heating element
  3. Adapter to mount heating element into side of fish tank (may not be necessary)

Yes, that is the list of components. Please note the adaptor, if needed, is a multipart component that may require some slight modifications to work in your situation.

The heating element is mounted in a hole you have cut in the side of the fish tank. (please drain the tank to below the hole FIRST.) The components for the adaptor are available at hardware and home centers in the plumbing section.

solar panel and clarThe thermostat is mounted near or on the top of outside of the tank and the sensor is fastened to the OUTSIDE of the tank about half way up the side and covered with insulating material. The sensor does not need to be in the water and fastening it to the outside of the tank reduces its exposure to the water and fish.

Here’s information about the wiring: The positive (+) wiring is from the battery bank (+) terminal to the thermostat then to the heating element. The negative or neutral wire goes from the battery bank (-) terminal to the heating element.

With the lights and/or the heating element(s) in place your solar electric system may or may not carry the load. Keep a close eye on its performance. Suggestion: The solar panel needs to be at least a 100w panel and the MPPT (charge controller) able to handle 20 amp loads. Upgrading either component will increase the cost. If you have not yet purchased your solar panels, opt for a minimum of 100watts and better 200watts.

A solar power system with a 200w panel, an MPPT that can handle 20amps and two deep cycle batteries will normally support a properly constructed and insulated single fish tank system including the grow lights even in extreme climates.

Send us pictures of your installations so we can brag on you.

Owning Your Own Personal Wetlands

Owning Your Own Personal Wetlands
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

wetlands 3The most productive land on Earth is actually wet land, also known as ‘the wetlands.’

What are wetlands? Wetlands offer ecosystem benefits and it is said they are considered the kidneys of the earth because they filter and store water so efficiently in addition to providing habitats to plants and wildlife.

Aquaponics systems are wetlands at their finest, providing fish and a place for growing crops that humans can consume in a system that duplicates nature; providing ‘wetland’ vegetation, requiring very little energy other than sunlight, can be built almost anywhere, pay for themselves in a few years and can be operated by semi-skilled labor. Win/win/win/win, ad infinitum.

The flow of nutrients and water will support some of the fastest growing and water purifying plants on earth. Until aquaponics system became ‘domesticated’ and available to the public, the problem has always been ‘how to grow ‘crops’ for human or animal consumption in wetlands without destroying the wetland itself.’ In nature, this procedure is not really possible using conventional farming techniques.

wetlands

Distribution of wetlands, US Dept. of Agriculture, NRCS

The real secret to wetlands is their incredible stability as they strip out the nutrients that might easily become pollutants in bodies of water. Even floods, droughts or storms only have a transitory effect on wetlands and they recover very quickly. It is the man-made problems of diverting or removing water or filling the wetlands with soil, or polluting them that the wetlands have a very difficult time coping with and recovering. The destruction of wetlands is one of the most ecologically negative effects that expanding populations have on the earth.

wetlands 4There is a growing awareness of the importance of wetlands and some countries have taken steps to protect these national treasures and repositories of diversity. The destruction of wetlands may be slowing, but the damage is still nearly incomprehensible. There are programs to recreate these high biodiversity environments, but these are very expensive and time consuming.

Now using a new technology (actually an old one) brought up to date, means the wetlands can easily be duplicated inside a controlled environment, high intensity food production facility. The exact same process that natural wetlands perform, cleaning the water of nutrients, can be used to grow vegetables and herbs for human consumption.

farm 8 18 2012 aquaponicsEnter the medium-based aquaponics system or the ‘wetlands in a box’ or even more correctly, a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems. The exact same action that has taken place in wetlands for billions of years can be duplicated in a greenhouse that can be built and operational in less than three months. Now that’s interesting, and these ‘wetlands in a box’ systems are available today.

The main difference between ‘real’ wetlands and a medium-based aquaponics system is the medium (gravel) based system needs to have some help raising the crops being grown as part of the process of cleansing the water to keep the fish healthy. The choice of crops, surface growing greens and blooming plants, is very large and can be tailored to the local food preferences.

Food Grown in a Portable Farm in only 40 days.

Food Grown in a Portable Farm in only 40 days.

These self-contained, modularized and standardized, backyard or commercial aquaponics wetlands require the least amount of energy and water of any controlled environment growing system in use today to filter the water to grow food. The initial investment is rather steep (because of the cost of the greenhouse), but the Return On Investment (ROI) is very reasonable, 3 to 5 years and they create an income within 45 days of becoming operational.

A medium-based aquaponics system provides the bacteria and the plants a substrate to grow on. The bacteria and the plant roots are performing their magic under the surface and the beautiful vegetables and herbs are above the surface where they can be seen, harvested and enjoyed. Plus, the plants need to be harvested, replanted and regrown because they are being provided with a constant food supply nurtured by the water and nutrients from the fish and their waste, see Precision Growing.

The other benefits? They:

  • Are carbon sinks
  • Reduce fuel consumption because they are built near their markets
  • Maximize the utilization of available water
  • Create jobs
  • Add value to the land
  • Create cash flow to a community and
  • Look beautiful.

 

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

 

 

Steam Powered Aquaponics (UGLY)

UGLY . . . BUT IT IS POSSIBLE: Steam Powered Aquaponics
–  By Colle and Phyllis Davis

Few people will EVER TRY Steam Powered Aquaponics, but IT IS POSSIBLE! YES, IT’S ALSO UGLY but it is possible. 

It is the awareness of the possibility that eventually moves us to make our lives more of what we want and less of the fear and insecurity that the media preaches.

basement darkWrap your mind around this scenario: A heavily insulated building in the northern climes where there is plenty of wood to burn nearby. Basements are ideal. The building is equipped with grow lights and has an aquaponics system in place. Now the best part. No sun is necessary, no grid is necessary and no wind is necessary. Got it? How is that possible?

The entire system consists of a wood fired boiler, a steam powered generator, a battery pack and voilà, steam powered aquaponics! The new level of security available to those in cold climates who have wood to burn and at least one neighbor they trust. More on this below.

 

Growing up in a cold climate and living in a house heated only with wood for many years gave me a deep understanding of the power of wood. Today the technology to convert wood to electricity is available, inexpensive and safe for home use. The trick is to size the components to the expected demand of the household and the aquaponics system.

Guidelines: The entire ‘load’ of the home during the daylight hours, plus the grow lights load, again this is daylight time, plus the tiny load required by the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems. (Helpful hint here, the entire load for a single PFAS Module that can feed 8 people is an 18 watt small air pump that runs 24 hours a day and a 35 watt air pump that runs one to four hours per day.) Add up the figures and then size the battery pack to carry the house for two days.

Some of the most advanced systems are continuous feed and require only occasional attention. Some systems on YouTube are scary and dangerous

Some of the most advanced systems are continuous feed and require only occasional attention. Some systems on YouTube are scary and dangerous

The more advanced and safe the system the easier it is to use and the more expensive it becomes. Choose wisely and live.

One of the most fascinating advantages of the steam powered aquaponics is you can go away for the weekend and not worry about it. The lights are on a timer and the main pump is on a timer, plus both can be 12volt components. Imagine the excitement of getting a trusted neighbor to stoke up the wood power every other day for an hour or so and to feed your fish so you can take a two-week vacation! That’s even better than solar powered aquaponics because your neighbor HAS to show up or they don’t get any veggies. LOL

Now the downside: You have the time, effort and energy required to build the system, then the cutting, hauling, splitting and storing the wood and convincing the spouse that your idea will actually work. The order presented here is probably backwards, but these all can be considered a downside at some level.

The upside: The most fantastic, unending array of locally grown, pesticide free food near your kitchen! The joy of knowing that no matter what happens, you will be warm, fed and can weather any storm. Very few people will indulge themselves in steam powered aquaponics, but lots of people will dream about it and how it COULD impact their lives.

 

 

 


 

Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Warehouse Aquaponics? Yes, Here’s How . . .

Warehouse Aquaponics with Portable Farms®? Yes, Here’s How . . .
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

READ OUR NEW BOOK Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLD

We cracked the code so you make money faster and easier and with LOWER ELECTRICAL COSTS to increase your ROI for warehouse aquaponics! You’re welcome.

Those huge empty warehouses seem to be begging to be repurposed again in some productive and sustainable way. The enclosed space runs from tens of thousands to millions of square feet of usable space. There must be some way to turn that empty space into a money maker.

How about making this available warehouse space into a huge aquaponics setup using some special grow lights to grow plants? It sounds so reasonable and straightforward. Every week PFAS LLC receives requests from all over the world from those interested in making use of abandoned warehouses in their area. They dream of converting the interior space of warehouses into a high-intensity food production facility to grow, sell and distribute food locally and make lots of money. 

Below is the process that nearly all warehouses must go through in order to be ready for Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems:

  1. Obtain the use of the building through leasing or purchase or whatever means of legal transfer is required to secure the right to use the space.
  2. Obtain the necessary permits to make changes to the electrical, HVAC, surface water diversion, sewage hook ups and security systems. This may also require a zoning change.
  3. Permission from Fish and Wildlife Department in the local jurisdiction.
  4. Permission from the electrical utility to ‘up the load coverage’ to keep the grow lights on.
  5. A thorough cleaning. Steam cleaning and even sand blasting walls and floors may be necessary to make the space clean and usable for growing plants and fish.
  6. Painting all surfaces and using an epoxy coating on the floors.
  7. Replacing or updating the entire HVAC system.
  8. Installing an effective grow light system first before installing the aquaponics’ Modules.

 

Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Aquaponics in Domes? NO! NO! NO!

Aquaponics in Domes? No! No! No!
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

If you decide to send us an angry note telling us we’re wrong, please attach YOUR photograph of a green, lush, thriving aquaponics system within a dome and we’ll post it on our website along with your information.

geo domeSeveral times a week we receive inquiries from potential customers asking us if our Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems can be placed within a geodesic dome. We take a deep breath and shatter their dreams by saying, “No. Portable Farms are designed to be placed within a rectangular building. We’ve never seen our farms work successfully within a geodesic dome, but if you can do it, please send us pictures and we’ll tell the world.” Then, they wipe a tear from their eyes and we never hear from them again.

WHY do we not recommend installing aquaponics systems within domes?

  • The domes do not provide enough air flow and the food rots before it matures.
  • The domes receive too much sunlight and the intensity of the rays of sun burn the plants.
  • It is very difficult to both evenly heat and cool the interior of the dome to grow healthy food year round.

bucky with domeBuckminster Fuller – 1895-1983, a 20th Century inventor, gifted the world the geodesic dome and all of its amazing attributes. A geodesic dome is a domed structure that is shaped like a half a ball and is created by equally sized triangles that are evenly spaced.

Fuller has been called a ‘practical philosopher’ who experimented with ideas to simplify them and make them functional and easy to assemble. Fuller held 28 patents, wrote 28 books, and received 47 honorary degrees from universities around the world. His true aim was to create ideas that encouraged sustainability on the planet. (To read the amazing biography of Buckminster Fuller: CLICK HERE.)

Domes became popular for ‘homes’ from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, but the shape of a dome house makes it difficult to build and to live in1:

  • Air stratification and moisture distribution within a dome are unusual, and these conditions tend to quickly degrade wooden framing or interior paneling.
  • Privacy is difficult to guarantee because a dome is difficult to partition satisfactorily.
  • The interior space functions as a single space and sound travels and is amplified as it moves to the outside edge and then along the interior skin, so sound is all over. This makes every noise everywhere noticeable and annoying. It is nearly impossible to get away from any sound inside a dome. Unless, you break up the interior with solid linear walls.
  • Smells, and even reflected light tend to be conveyed through the entire structure.
  • Restricted use due to lack of headroom.
  • Design for basic furniture did not fit within a circular plan.
  • To heat a dome is an interesting exercise in fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Window coverings are not enough, there needs to be a fan to circulate the hot air down to the floor running most of the time when the dome is closed up.

domeauTo sum up domes. They really look neat and they were/are futuristic.

Domes are fantastic for enclosing space. They are not fun to live in because the sound and smell is all over the place and the heat all goes to the top and you have to find some way to push it down to the floor.

However, there must be a new ‘dome-wind blowing’ because we are receiving at least three to five requests per week on, ‘How large of a PFAS Module can I put into this size dome?

If you are an incredibly adept carpenter and can make a curved grow table that is level in all directions, you may want to build a 3 ft wide tray around the outside edge of the dome or make a nice rectangular tray that take up the middle of the entire floor space. If not, please consider a rectangular building to house your farm, they are much easier to build, easier to heat and an easier space to install an aquaponics system.

Portable Farms’ suggestion is to build a rectangular building that will house a grow tray Module of sufficient size to feed your family. This shape has many advantages over a dome. It will be cheaper, easier to build, easier to control the interior environment and far easier to plant and harvest the bounty produced by your aquaponics system.


 

 

Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

Investors Who Become Farmers

Investors Who Become Farmers
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

ancient farmingFarming is a relatively recent profession. Yes, some form of farming has been around for around 15,000 years (early farming was called protofarming) and then our ancestors learned to plant, nurture and harvest fresh food and as well as care for animals as the step beyond basic ‘hunting/gathering’ forms of survival methods.

The concept of developed agriculture changed all of our lives and has a ‘long tradition of success’ and catastrophic failures. Farmers, by nature, tend to be conservative, hard working, slightly superstitious and frugal people. They are willing to try new ideas and techniques if it can be demonstrated to them, in monetary returns that their work is successful and can be duplicated over time. There are always a group of forward-thinking farmers who are willing to try the latest methods for raising food and fiber. These front-edge-innovators are the pioneers that bring new technology to the main-stream marketplace and are responsible for the level of production that modern farms have achieved in recent years.

 

farmicon2The challenges for today’s agriculture includes the need to grow enough food to feed 9 billion people by 2050 with limited resources (water, farmable regions, and the ability to transport food long distances and still make a profit). New innovations always come at a price. Seed selection, fertilizer, pesticides, watering techniques, harvesting methods and other factors all have a price tag that must be folded into the final price of the farm output. Each new technology must also add complexity to the process of bring the products to market. Farmers adapt to the new requirements as fast as the market will allow them OR as quickly as their government subsidized income make economic sense to them.

irrigation farmlandEnter the new investors who see ‘food’ as the next vital need for healthy survival; after all, food is not a fad nor a trend, its value is ever increasing. The most productive farmland in the world is becoming increasingly expensive. There are farms being purchased in the central US today that can never pay back their investment. The land has become the new tulip mania or the latest tech bubble. The buyers are investors and not farmers. Local farmers have been priced out of the market for land in most cases and the ‘farms’ are now being run by farm managers, not land owners. The new ‘farmer/investors’ have joined with the league of lobbyist to press for more and more government guarantees and subsidies to keep their cash flow high enough to warrant continuing to own the land in hopes of selling it in a few years.

Someday, the problems will begin to manifest when the inflation rate increases or the subsidies dry up, or the drought continues in areas that were once considered rich farmland, and these investors will be required to continue to fund a huge multimillion dollar operation at a loss . . . but not for long. Somewhere, someday, the numbers will simply not continue to pencil out and they will walk away from ‘their’ farms. That’s how investors work. If they are making money, they love it and they will stay in the game. If not, they pack it up and find a new game that generates faster, easier profits.

investorsThis is not a condemnation of investors who are the lifeblood of the industrialized world and we really do need them. They put capital to work making things happen. What non-investors need to be aware of is that investors play a deadly serious game, and they are in it to win. The bet/risk has to pay out on a high enough percentage of their deals, or they will simply walk away from the losers. Don’t be too hard on them; if you’re smart, you do the exact same thing on a smaller scale all the time. It is smart business to be profitable, and to walk away from losers.

Enter the new investors who are non-farm investors coming into a completely new arena that is not farming and not dependent on farming in any way. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) more closely resembles a food assembly line than traditional dirt farming.. Controlled food production more closely resembles a food assembly line than traditional dirt farming. Lettuce has been raised this way for over half a century and more and more tomatoes are raised in controlled environments as are peppers, greens, cucumbers and a growing variety of other vegetables.

ACRES GRENHOUSESWhen plants are housed inside a climatically adapted structure and provided with all of the requirements for maximum growth, it equals the most productive food production facilities ever built. All of the technology is available today and because these installations do not need dirt, they can be placed almost anywhere there is a flat and level area. Vacant lots, roof tops, parking lots and even worn out farmland can be used. Even warehouses are being used, though with slightly reduced returns because of the cost of energy required. The closer to the local market the installations are located the better, because reducing the food miles increases the profits and enhances quality of the vegetables.

SHAKINGHANDSWITHWhat is currently lacking to attract investor into this truly amazing money-making space? These new investors do not understand how to operate these fantastic new food production facilities, nor do they want to learn. They are business people who are in the business of investing and making money with that activity. They have the funds or access to the funds that can build thousands of acres of climatically adapted greenhouses, but they need someone to supervise, operate and maintain these installations. There are very few qualified people in the world that can actually operate one of these new businesses based on the new technology.

Enter Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems, the aquaponics people. The staff at PFAS LLC have documented the steps required for starting a commercial aquaponics business; they can provide consulting services and even provide a business plant template based on their aquaponics technology. More importantly they can help investors find that qualified Captain of Operations or COO to manage and grow their new installations. Their Aquaponics University Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course© also trains the Operators at the rate of one new Operator for each ten PFAS Modules installed. 

 

 


 

Read Five New Ebooks About Aquaponics-Related Topics
Written by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and Published in 2015

For more detailed information about these books: CLICK HERE.

ebookdownload

Commercial Aquaponics GOLD
COVER1

 

Listen to an important message from Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics GOLD

aquaponics gold High Resolution WEB

 Listen to Phyllis Davis tell you about AQUAPONICS GOLD.

Backyard Aquaponics GOLD

cover 3

An overview for those considering the option of installing an aquaponics system near their home.

 

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLDgreenhouse book cover

This ebook discloses the facts, figures and formulas necessary for successful greenhouse and warehouse aquaponics growing. 

 

 Solar Aquaponics GOLD

cover 1

Let us show you HOW, WHY, WHAT, WHERE and HOW MUCH it costs to install your own solar powered system for YOUR aquaponics system.

 

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