Backyard Farms – Two-for-One – Buy One & Get One Free

The Holidays are approaching!
Share a Portable Farm with a family member or a friend with our Holiday 2020 Two-For-One Sale.

Buy One & Get One Free.

November 16-23, 2020

 

Backyard Farms – Two-for-One Sale –  Buy One & Get One Free.  Split the cost with a friend or family member so you can each own a farm.

Join our BIG SALE – November 16-23, 2020.

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Online Course© includes TWO Portable Farms® Kits and tuition for TWO seats for our self-paced online aquaponics course for the Price of One: $1,599.00.

Each graduate of the online aquaponics course receives a diploma from Aquaponics University and a Portable Farms® Kit.

Generally, it requires students twelve to sixteen hours to complete the online course.  Students have one year to complete the course after initial enrollment.

It’s FALL and Winter is on the way. It’s time to build your Own a Portable Farms®
Aquaponics System  to feed your family year round.

I love to grow butterhead lettuce in the fall. It loves the cool days and nights. So delicious. Add a dash or salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and it’s a meal. 

One module of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System can be sized to feed two people (5’x10′) or sized to feed eight people (6’x32′). This translates as 25 square feet per adult. 

 

Read the outline to our entire Portable Farms® Aquaponics System Course© at Aquaponics University: CLICK HERE.




$100.00 – BOOK SALE DURING FARM SALE – 5 Aquaponics E-Books  by Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

After we receive your payment and your email address, we will personally email you the five eBooks. So, give us a few minutes to prepare the email so you may download these files to your computer.

These 5 books have a retail value of US$194.75

SALE PRICE FOR ALL 5 E-Books: US$100.00

Sale OCTOBER 5-10, 2020

 
Commercial Aquaponics GOLD     $69.95 (normal price)
Solar Aquaponics GOLD     $14.95 (normal price)
Greenhouse Aquaponics GOLD     $ 9.95 (normal price)
Aquaponics GOLD     $39.95 (normal price)
Grow Table Aquaponics GOLD     $59.95 (normal price)

Broccoli that is ‘crowning’ in our Portable Farm as it continues to develop large heads of delicious organic broccoli. The stems are also crisp and edible for salads or juicing.

Backyard Farms – Two-for-One Sale
Buy One & Get One Free

  • Our aquaponics course with Aquaponics University teaches students how to assemble and operate a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.
  • After satisfactory completion of the Aquaponics Course, you will receive one Portable Farms® Kit that can be used to operate our aquaponics system.

These estimates are based on 25 square feet of grow space being able to feed one person based on FDA’s estimates for supply and demand of table vegetables.

  • One 50 square foot module – 5’x10’ – of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System grow table can feed two people.
  • One 200 square foot module – 5’x40’ or 6’x32’ – of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System grow table can feet eight people.
  • Two full sized modules – 5’x40’ or 6’x32’ – of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System grow table can feed sixteen people.
  • Shipping and postage are included in the $1,599.00 fee to postal addresses in the US only, BUT for all order outside the US there is a US$140 shipping and handling charge for each Portable Farms® Kit.
  • To find out what is IN the Portable Farms® Kit and what is NOT in the Portable Farms® Kit, please request the FREE AND INSTANTANEOUS PRICE LIST (second box on top panel on every page of this website).

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Online Course© includes TWO Portable Farms® Kits and tuition for TWO seats for our self-paced online aquaponics course for the Price of One: $1,599.00.

Phyllis Davis harvesting 12-pound GIGANTIC bok choy. Stir fry anyone? Dinner’s at 6:00 pm. Wear a mask, and somebody please bring  garlic bread. Somebody else, bring a guitar, we’ll sing and celebrate life. 

The following estimates are based on 25 square feet of grow space being able to feed one person based on FDA’s estimates for supply and demand of table vegetables.

  • One 50 square foot module – 5’x10’ – of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System grow table can feed two people.
  • One 200 square foot module – 5’x40’ or 6’x32’ – of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System grow table can feet eight people.
  • Two full sized modules – 5’x40’ or 6’x32’ – of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System grow table can feed sixteen people.
  • Shipping and postage are included in the $1,599.00 fee to postal addresses in the US only, BUT for all order outside the US there is a US$140 shipping and handling charge for each Portable Farms® Kit.
  • To find out what is IN the Portable Farms® Kit and what is NOT in the Portable Farms® Kit, please request the FREE AND INSTANTANEOUS PRICE LIST (second box on top panel on every page of this website).

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Online Course© includes TWO Portable Farms® Kits and tuition for TWO seats for our self-paced online aquaponics course for the Price of One: $1,599.00.

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, holding a  HERO-single-head of Bok Choy in this Portable Farms® Aquaponics System that was grown in only 45 DAYS! 



        US $1,599.00.

You may pay with PayPal, Major Credit Cards and Wire Transfers. If you’d prefer, you may call us to give us your credit number over the phone: 800-906-0256 OR 800-952-6224. We also accept checks, wire transfers and money orders.

We accept PayPal Button OR major credit or debit cards on the PayPal platform. 

India Mustard (a spicy lettuces we call Wasabi Lettuce) after
40 days in the gravel Grow Tray = 19″ tall. 
 

The average family of five consumes one head of lettuce per day for salads, garnish or sandwiches. The lettuce is planted on 8-inch centers in the Grow Tray. For example, the lettuce (example), needs approximately 30 to 40 days from ‘planting to harvesting’ which means there will be 40 lettuce plants in the Grow Tray at all times. 40 lettuce plants require 27 square ft of grow space. Each time a lettuce plant is harvested, a new seedling is placed in the same space to be ready to harvest in 40 days.

Here is the trick that is the hardest for new Portable Farmers to grasp: THINK AHEAD AND PLAN LIKE A FARMER! Refrain from planting all of the space at once.  That is 27 square feet of open space for lettuce will tempt you to fill it up. Don’t do it. Plant a new baby lettuce plant every day into the gravel.

Fall is HERE. Install your Portable Farms® Aquaponics System now so you can enjoy fresh healthy food all winter. Oh YUM.

Quick Read: What Can Portable Farms Grow?

Primarily, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are capable of growing green table vegetables year round if the interior temperature of the greenhouse ranges between 70 degrees F and 100 degrees F and receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day or with the use of grow lights during winter months to extend the grow day (generally from 4:00 PM to 7 PM each day).

Peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes (blossoming plants) grow best in warm months (to avoid blossom drop) when average temperature within the green house is 70 degrees F with extended sunlight by use of grow lights.

Here are a few of the table vegetables that can be grown in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System:

Swiss Chard

Basil

Kale

Mustard Greens (what we call Wasabi Lettuce – hot hot hot)

Dozens of varieties of Lettuce

Dozens of varieties of Asian greens
BoK Choi

A wide variety of herbs

    1. In warm climates or acclimatized greenhouses with extended days of sunlight (grow lights), blooming plants grow well in aquaponics including beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini.
    2. Starting with USDA data for a healthy diet and accepting that most carbohydrates will come from grains and root crops, the table vegetables for one person can be grown in 25 sq. ft of aquaponics grow tray space. So, a family of eight will need 200 square feet of grow tray space or a Grow Tray 5′ wide by 40′ long.
    3. The major food groups that are not recommended for Portable Farms® are root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, etc.) and corn, wheat, soy or rice. Perennial plants (strawberries, blackberries, asparagus, etc.) are not recommended because the plants are dormant 9 months per year and do not produce harvest-able food year-round.
    4. Plus, fish tank-raised fish are vital to aquaponics but unless you are operating a commercial farm with several tanks, they will not supply a steady supply of tilapia fillets for a family of eight. We recommend Oreochromis Mossambicus Tilapia. It’s a mild white fish that we harvest in 7 to 9 months when they weigh 1.25 pounds and produce 2 four-ounce fillets. The fish are a bonus in aquaponics that are primarily used to provide nitrogen to the plants and other nutrients. 

Backyard Farms – Two for One – Buy One & Get One Free

Split the cost with a friend or family member so you can each own a farm.

Join our BIG SALE BIG SALE NOVEMBER 16-23, 2020.


Questions? Please Contact Us!

The Economics of Aquaponics 

The Economics of Aquaponics 
By Colle and Phyllis Davis, Inventors,
Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

The information in this article focuses on the economics of aquaponics. We explore the financial aspects as well as people’s desire to learn about the aquaponics technology that allows them to grow food year-round.

PFAS LLC has offered our Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems
for sale to the public since June 2008.

    • We have sold both backyard farms and commercial farms in 25 countries, all 50 US States and throughout Canada.
    • We have also conducted private tours of our farms to more than 7,000 people who traveled from all over the world to see our technology and the food and fish we grow.

A small backyard aquaponics installation is not a good investment from a business standpoint. For example, if you were interested in growing and selling the food from your aquaponics system, the ROI (Return on Investment) would be 5 to 10 years or even longer. It’s a wise move to invest money where you receive a faster rate of return. On the other hand, the value of your installation increases each year even if you sell none of the productionJun

Backyard Aquaponics Systems

Those who buy a Portable Farms Aquaponics Course and Kit or build their own style system are interested in the following factors.

  • They want to learn about aquaponics growing. [Many have an interest in expanding their backyard farm into a larger operation with the idea of selling their produce and fish. For those, we recommend a minimum of ten Portable Farms® modules 5’x40’ or 6’x32’ to create a reasonable ROI for their time and investment.]
  • They want to involve family members in a hobby that teaches everyone the process of growing vegetables and raising fish.
  • They are interested in growing fresh, healthy and delicious food year-round to become more self-sufficient and sustainable.
  • They want to share their interest in aquaponics with family, neighbors and friends. Did someone mention bragging rights? Yes, they did.

The Economics of a Family-Sized Aquaponics Greenhouse

  • The highest cost of a backyard yard aquaponics system is the greenhouse structure. If year-round production is the goal, then a climatically adapted structure will be 60% to 70% of the total cost. Building a food-protection facility for your family is expensive, but the payback is worth the investment.
  • The cost of a head or bunch of lettuce in the summer is low because it is readily available from many sources. The cost of that same head/bunch of lettuce in the winter can be up to three times the summer cost.
  • How valuable is having your produce fresh and available year-round? What dollar value is there in knowing the routine is to plant, harvest, and feed the fish—no weeding, no spraying, no insects, no rotting vegetables.
  • The ROI on a backyard family aquaponics farm is difficult to measure in terms of money. It is easy to understand the value of enjoying the best food on the planet readily available. A small solar electrical system and some supplemental heat means you can survive most disasters. There is a satisfaction in knowing you are providing for your family even in hard times.

Commercial Aquaponics Installations

On a larger scale, commercial installations (3,000+ sq. ft / 279 m2) have an ROI’s in the one-to-three-year range depending on these factors:

  • The successful operation of a commercial sized farm is dependent on the skill of managers and operators of the farm.
  • The choice of seeds and crops (vegetables and fish) they grow in their farms.
  • The marketing skills of the manager of the farms to sell and deliver the food to their customers in a timely manner so the food is harvested and delivered at the peak of perfection.
  • The success of the structure (greenhouse) to 1) maintain moderate growing temperatures, 2) provide safety and growing-level conditions within the farm to protect the plants from weather, birds, insects and other predators (squirrels, etc.), 3) a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day, 4) Plants can only utilize approximately 70% of direct sunlight. Shade cloth is vital for crop protection for UV and heat sensitive plants.

The larger the facility, the faster the payback. Several large installations will pay themselves off at a rate that allows the income to fund more installations.

Caveat: This article is not about commercial aquaponics, if you want more information read our definitive book on the subject, Commercial Aquaponics GOLD .

Greenhouses to House Your Backyard Aquaponics System

This 10′ x 16′ greenhouse frame is large enough to hold one 5′ x 12′ grow table
capable of feeding two people table vegetables FOREVER.

Assuming you are ready to build the greenhouse, the next step is where to place it. The building needs 6 hours of direct sunlight each day for the best results. Or you will need supplemental lighting to reach full production levels. Shade cloth is also necessary and made movable to maximize the growing season.

If you’re interested in a lean-to greenhouse on the side or back of your house, we’ve provided a link to a free plan and tutorial at the bottom of this page.

  • South of the 37th parallel latitude, (Mason/Dixon line in the US) the best results are realized using a north/south orientation of the long measurement of the building. This layout spreads the sun over the interior more effectively and makes the use of shade cloth more efficient.
  • North of the 37th parallel, it is best to use an east/west long measurement to build on. This layout allows for more insulated areas and better heating in the winter. It also makes cooling more efficient in the summer because of the prevailing wind direction.

The ROI on backyard aquaponics systems is immeasurable. They have an intrinsic value to you and your family. Knowing food is available, having some long-term storage foods as a backup, and knowing how to fix nutritious meals for loved ones brings peace and satisfaction in these troubled times.

Make Money with Your Own Aquaponics’ Business

Make Money with Your Own Aquaponics’ Business
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics is easier and more productive than organic gardening or traditional agriculture and uses 95% less water. Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems also use less electricity and less labor than any other aquaponics system in the world.

Start somewhere, at some level, now. Modern aquaponics is a brand new field because it encompasses recent technology and innovation along with successful techniques from the past. Aquaponics is evolving rapidly and slowly becoming main stream. The commercial side of aquaponics may take another ten or twenty years to accept on par with hydroponics, but it will happen.

It is the hobbyist, gardener, cook and home owner who are leading the charge on this ‘new’ technology, not the big companies, governments or NGO’s. Aquaponics is up close and personal as only eating can be and it is the opportunity to eat the best food on earth, every day, for a long as you live.

The important part is to get started NOW. Have fun, make mistakes and eat great food.

Another benefit of the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems is their wide range of temperature tolerance. Space at the Grow Table level needs to stay in the range of 45 to 104° F (6 to 40° C). The Fish Tank is heated to a constant temperature and helps maintain the temperature inside through the timing of the water cycles. ­

Heating the space can be as simple as adding a small space heater that is placed on the floor. It can be electrical, propane, city gas or even fuel oil powered. Exhaust from combustion needs to be vented as in living space. There are installations measuring 20’ x 36’ (6 x 11m) in Minnesota that only require a small thermostatically controlled electrical heater to keep the space above 45 degrees. There are larger installations in Wisconsin, Oregon and New York heated with wood-burning stoves. These stoves are a lot more work, but work they do in producing great vegetables.

Aquaponics is an ideal business opportunity for young adults, men, women, those currently employed full time or part time, older adults, retired people, and those with disabilities. This is NOT a get-rich-scheme; it requires dedication, start-up capital and a sense of humor to grow any entrepreneurial venture to success. 

Portable Farms® customers say to us almost every day,I want to start small with a backyard farm and then grow into a larger system, maybe even to a larger size commercial aquaponics operation fairly quickly. Can I do this using your system?”

QUESTION: Can a person or family or small group start really small (for example, one single Portable Farms Module in a greenhouse) and then grow into a commercial success in a reasonable amount of time?

ANSWER: ABSOLUTELY, YES! Let us teach you what we know.

Launching your own aquaponics business involves leveraging the most efficient aquaponics system in the world into a money-making business plan for personal wealth and security. PLEASE NOTE: aquaponics is NOT a get-rich-quick plan for creating wealth. In fact, it requires a capital outlay and the return on investment is dependent on your ability to grow, market and SELL the food you raise. Growing vegetables and fish is the easy part.
 
There are several distinct steps for making a nice living with aquaponics and maybe even becoming wealthy after a few years of focus and hard work. The best part is that the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems installations are doing most of the work with the owner planting, harvesting and selling their healthy food to eager markets.

Launching your own aquaponics business involves leveraging the most efficient aquaponics system in the world into a money-making  business plan for personal wealth and security.

There are several distinct steps for making a nice living with aquaponics and maybe even becoming wealthy after a few years of focus and hard work. The best part is that the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems installations are doing most of the work with the owner planting, harvesting and selling their healthy food to eager markets.

Origins of Aquaponics

Origins of Aquaponics
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

WATERBLUEFISH2

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are easier and more productive than dirt gardening or traditional agriculture and uses less water, less electricity and less labor than any other aquaponics system in the world.

Please note that aquaponics does not grow ‘field crops’ such as rice, wheat, corn or root vegetables, but it DOES grow table greens and many blooming plants (not all, but some) such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and beans.

Phyllis Davis holding a single head of Bok Choy grown in a Portable Farm.

Aquaponics with Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems 

 — Build, own and operate your own backyard aquaponics system.

— Feed a family of eight year round with one module of Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.

— Start a commercial aquaponics installation by installing twenty to thirty modules and sell the food you grow.

The Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems duplicate what nature has been doing for billions of years. The water, containing the fish waste, is pumped out of the fish tanks to a settling tank, where the solids settle to the bottom of the tank while the nutrient-rich water then flows, by gravity, through a series of trays where the plants are growing, and then back into the fish tanks. The small amount of separated fish-waste water in the settling tank is drained off at regular intervals, and can be used to fertilize crops such as trees, ornamentals or lawns. The cycle of the water flowing through the system repeats itself several times each day. Some make-up water has to be added at regular intervals to compensate for the water used in the settling tank cleaning, and for the water used by the plants for growth (transpiration). And, that’s how the system works. Simple, elegant and with very little energy to produce high quantities of locally grown food.

Learn more about owning your own Portable Farms® Aquaponics System

Aquaponics has been explored for several decades as a possible solution to the foregoing environmental, energy and food shortage problems.  Aquaponics combines the art of growing aquatic animals (fish), known as aquaculture, with the modern technology of hydroponics in which plants are grown without soil. In aquaponics, fish and plants are grown together in an integrated closed loop re-circulating system with a very low rate of water usage or water loss due to evaporation. This symbiotic relationship between the fish and the growing plants is the goal of aquaponics by creating a sustainable ecosystem in which both fish and plants can thrive and as a result, produces safe, fresh protein and healthy vegetables.

Oreochromis Mossambicus Tilapia. This is the male tilapia used in aquaponics systems in the Northern Hemisphere.

To work efficiently, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems require ‘warm water, fresh water fish’ of some kind to provide the essential waste and their nutrients for your plants. Generally, aquaponics systems use warm-water fish instead of cold-water fish (like trout) because the plants don’t like the cold water.

Aquaponics is the growing of fish, or other water-based animals, along with land plants in a controlled environment, to maximize the use of the energy and nutrients in the system in order to harvest the greatest amount of vegetables and fish protein from the system.

The word aquaponics comes from words aquaculture, which is the cultivation of fish or other `water- based animals, and the word hydroponics, where plants are grown in a sterile medium or completely in water.

By combining the fish, water and plants, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems use an integrated environment to produce vegetables and fish in very small space, with very little water.

Aquaponics has its roots in ancient China and parts of the aquaponics system were developed in other areas of the world where high concentrations of people lived who were observant of the relationships that existed naturally in their environment.

In China, farmers knew that land livestock waste could be added to their fields or ponds to increase production of vegetables and fruit bearing plants. They also noticed that different fish had different tolerances to the level of land-animal waste in their water. For example too much pig or chicken waste caused many fish to die (the modern explanation for this is lack of oxygen) so they were careful about balancing their system for maximum yield and minimum fish loss.These Chinese farmers were able to refine their systems so they could grow chickens in pens above pigs, (with the waste dropping through along with any spilled food) who were in a pen over a pond with carp in it, and then the water flowed to another pond with other less tolerant fish such as catfish, and perhaps other aquatic animals and certainly other water plants were grown and harvested. These systems were so called flow-through systems, meaning that water was used once through the ponds, and then released to the local paddies, streams, lakes or ocean. The sludge from the bottom of the ponds was used on the fields and some of the water was used in the paddies for fertilizer before it was released.

dry-riverbedIn the twenty-first century, the world faces an environmental crisis, issues related to climate change (drought and flooding as well as record-setting heat waves) and an energy crisis. In addition, many parts of the world face severe food shortages. Twentieth century agricultural techniques have harmed the environment and consume an inordinate amount of energy and water. Many countries lack the large amounts of arable land and water needed to sustain growing human populations. Developed nations use large amounts of pesticides and artificial fertilizers to grow their grains, fruits, and vegetables. At the same time, they use huge amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to power their farm machinery, large amounts of electricity to process their food, and enormous amounts of fuel to deliver the processed food to grocery stores. The raising of farm animals, particularly cattle and swine, is notoriously inefficient in terms of the amount of land and energy required to raise corn and other animal

Cost and Operations of An Aquaponics System

Cost and Operations of an Aquaponics System
by Colle and Phyllis Davis

READ THE ENTIRE AQUAPONICS COURSE OUTLINE: CLICK HERE.

The majority of daily tasks include planting, harvesting and feeding the fish.
Repeat the next day.

aug 20 interior2There are two assumptions that will be made here regarding the operations for a backyard aquaponics system:

1) your installation is, or is similar to, a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.

2) You have built a medium/media based (not a raft based) aquaponics system. Operations include the steps that are necessary for you to keep the fish and plants alive and healthy. 


Here are the daily tasks for operating a Portable Farms Aquaponics System,
plant, harvest and feed the fish.

1. PLANT

2. HARVEST

3. FEED THE FISH

A backyard farm that feeds 8 people generally takes about ten to fifteen minutes per day to maintain. This includes feeding the fish, planting seedlings and harvesting. Operations are NOT time consuming but they are DAILY operations that cannot and should NOT be skipped.

When you’re dealing with living aquatic animals, they require daily care, attention and yes, even affection to remain healthy and grow to their full size. If your fish are ‘stressed’ for any reason, they won’t eat – – – – and if they don’t eat – – – – they don’t poop – – – – and if they don’t poop, your plants will not be healthy.  So, if you’re going to be gone for longer than a day or so, ask a friend or neighbor (that you trust) that will take care of your aquaponics system.

Here’s the full cost breakdown of a backyard aquaponics system: READ ON . . . 

  • Greenhouse: Must be able to keep the interior temperature between 40 and 104° F. The costs are dependent on your choice of design
  • Wooden or concrete floor/slab – from $100 to $300
  • Insulated stem wall to set the greenhouse on top of for more height – 2×4’s and plywood – $250 to $350
  • Fish tank – sometimes known of as a livestock watering trough  – $150
  • Lumber for the Grow Tray – 2×4’s, 2×6’s, plywood, etc – between $800 and $1,200
  • PVC pipe and fittings  – $100
  • Misc – $250 

You may even have some of the materials on hand or have access to recycled materials at a reduced cost. Even if you have to pay full retail price for everything, an operating aquaponics farm is a fantastically good deal. Plus, a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System is infinitely expandable because of it modular design. You can expand it and begin selling the excess to create a small income.

tilapia Oreochromis mossambicusOperational tasks include:

1. Maintaining adequate levels of water in the fish tank at all times.

2. Feeding your fish a high protein fish feed each day (singing to your fish is optional but they do enjoy human contact and they do enjoy the sound of talking and singing)

3. Always wear disposable gloves when preforming tasks in the building
4. Keeping the pH balanced in the fish tank

5. Stocking the appropriate number of fish in the fish tank that is in balance with the area of the grow tray

6. 24/7 aeration provided for the fish at all times (bubbles).

 

Is Aquaponics in City Centers in the Future?

Is Aquaponics in City Centers in the Future?
By Colle and Phyllis Davis

According to Food Empowerment Project, Food Deserts in inner-cities make it difficult
for many to source and purchase fresh food.

“Food deserts can be described as geographic areas where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent due to the absence of grocery stores within convenient traveling distance. For instance, according to a report prepared for Congress by the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, about 2.3 million people (or 2.2 percent of all US households) live more than one mile away from a supermarket and do not own a car. [1] In urban areas, access to public transportation may help residents overcome the difficulties posed by distance, but economic forces have driven grocery stores out of many cities in recent years, making them so few and far between that an individual’s food shopping trip may require taking several buses or trains. In suburban and rural areas, public transportation is either very limited or unavailable, with supermarkets often many miles away from people’s homes.”

Urbanization of the world is continuing and over half the people on Earth now live in cities. The countryside is depopulating, and the skills of growing food for local consumption is being shifted away from large country farms to small or even tiny urban plots. There are urban or suburban farmers with less than half an acre now producing over US$100,000 annual income. The technologies they have embraced are the use of cold frames, hoop greenhouse covers, greenhouses, and high intensive cultivation methods.

In the days before massive food distribution in refrigerated trucks, many of our grandparents had family gardens that grew food to be canned or pickled for winter months. Today, urban farmers have learned to extend harsh winter climates thirty to ninety days, urban farmers gain a twenty to fifty percent increase in their incomes. Anchoring a small plot or even a rooftop (as many in Asia have done, with a greenhouse and surrounding it with high-intensity gardening) has freed these urban farmers from the need to work for others.

Do you have a deck, a patio, a small back or front yard? [Greenhouses in the front yard are a red flag to certain types of neighborhoods’ home-owner associations, be forewarned.] Perhaps a balcony, flat roof or a parking space, can be converted into urban gardens. YouTube is a fantastic resource for information and how-to videos in the area of intense farming. The newest planting equipment is expensive, but the payback is less than one season.

Producing protein on tiny plots presents exciting challenges. Chickens, rabbits, and fish are the top choices because they are easy and cheap to raise and there is a ready local market for them. There are US jurisdictions where restrictions apply, and urban farmers are learning how to pressure for changes in the zoning and livestock regulations. Chickens are sometimes noisy and hard to hide from neighbors. Rabbits and fish are quiet and less apt to draw attention.

The fish raised in aquaponics are a bonus and provide a fantastic fertilizer for the rest of your intensive garden plot. Applying the fish waste, a nontoxic, no burn fertilizer, encourages the growth of most plants. A garden plot of three by ten feet can utilize the waste load from an aquaponics system of fifty square feet of Grow Table space. Other plants on the property or nearby will benefit from its magic.

Alternatively, as a last resort, the liquid can be sold as a natural, pesticide-free fertilizer that will not burn or harm plants. The price can be as high as US$15 a gallon. Oh, another income source. A one-hundred-gallon fish tank system supporting a fifty square foot Grow Table will produce thirty gallons of ‘waste’ every three months. Let’s see, if we sell half, that is 60 gallons times US$15 or US$900 per year. That money adds extra money for paying bills or for luxuries.

Sign up today for the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© and lead the way to a safer, happier and more secure urban living.

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

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

How to keep a warehouse clean in four steps

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.

Greenhouse & Warehouse Aquaponics GOLD

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

The main advantage for using greenhouses is to modify the microclimate and to extend the growing season for a wider variety of crops. The protection from the weather has a huge positive effect on the plant growth and is very cost effective. The main disadvantage, in most cases, is that the greenhouse is being used in the same-old-ways of intensive farming methods that are used in regular growing. The water is applied to the plants and the excess water flows into the ground and is lost forever. Even if watering is done with careful irrigation even drip irrigation systems, the water is lost forever and, in some climates, increases the humidity inside the structure. 

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.

Greenhouse advantages:

  1. Controls pests, diseases and predators (birds, small animals, etc.) from the natural surrounding environments

  2. Protects plants and fish from extreme weather conditions (except for tornado, hurricane or major flooding)

  3. Enables ability to provide shade cloth to protect from too much sun for maximum production

  4. Extends growing season

  5. Provides pleasant, comfortable, quiet work environment for workers

  6. Offers ideal conditions for growing plants and fish

  7. Creates a space for the option of installing Grow Lights above grow trays for year-round maximum growing conditions.\The physical building needs to enclose as much air space as possible to help regulate the temperature. Buildings with taller roofs are much easier to keep cool and interestingly, they are easier to keep warm when using the PFAS Technology

 

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.

MAKE BIG MONEY Selling Cucumbers Grown in Portable Farms

Portable Farm Cucumbers Harvested February 9, 2012 

MAKE BIG MONEY Selling Cucumbers Grown in Portable Farms
by Colle and Phyllis Davis

MAKE BIG MONEY Selling Cucumbers Grown in Portable Farms. Cucumbers are delicious in salads, as a side dish garnished with vinegar and spices, as part of a refreshing addition to a relish tray or even sliced and served on a sandwich!

The cucumber has long been known as a summer ‘fruit.’ Yes, the cucumber is considered a fruit but used as a vegetable. When cucumbers are grown in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System, they can be grown YEAR ROUND and sold to local customers as organic food for top prices. In fact, (this surprised us as well) cucumbers grown in our Portable Farms are a better cash crop than even basil!

Since cucumbers are ‘blooming’ plants, they require:

— Warm temperatures in the greenhouse ranging from 70 to 95 degrees F

— Six to seven hour of direct light per day and LED or fluorescent grow lights from September to April (Northern Hemisphere) for another five hours per day. If direct sun is unavailable, the grow lights must be utilized 18 hours per day. 

— Adequate circulation to assure the blossoms set.

If cucumbers grown in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are raised and sold as ‘locally grown and pesticide free,’ the grower can receive higher prices further reducing the ROI than stated in this article.

Cucumber production begins 60 to 70 days after seeding.  For good production, a temperature range of 75 degrees to 80 degrees F during the day is desirable.  While peak daytime temperatures of 85 degrees to 95 degrees F are tolerable, prolonged periods of high temperatures may adversely affect fruit quality.  Night temperatures no lower than 65 degrees F will allow a rapid growth rate and earliest fruit production.  At 55 degrees to 60 degrees F, savings in fuel costs will be significant, but growth rate will be slower and harvest will be delayed.

This is a simple diagram of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System

This is a simple diagram of one module a Portable Farms Aquaponics System

Fruit generally grows to market maturity 12 to 15 days after the flower opens.

Considering these variables, yields range from 1 – 1 ½ to 3 pounds of fruit per plant per week, during mid-harvest on an umbrella trained crop.  Twenty to twenty-five fruit may be expected over a 10 to 12 week harvest period.

Cucumber production from a single full size 5′ x 40′ (200sq ft) [1.5m x 12m (18m2) Grow Tray:

  • Each Grow Tray can hold 106 plants 18in x 12in (45cm x 30cm) centers and are planted twice a year
  • Production is normally over a 10 to 12 week period
  • Because the plants spread out so much they need to be trained in a V shape or directly vertical
  • Plants may require some pruning
  • The staking or trellising can be installed permanently
  • Cucumbers yield is between 1.5 and 3 lbs [0.7 and 1.3k] per plant per week depending on variety
  • Yield per plant is 20 to 25 cucumbers per plant depending on variety
  • No pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilizers are ever used
  • Cucumbers can be harvested and used the same day for peak flavor and texture plus they store well
  • Yields 4,000 lbs to 4,500 lbs [1,800 to 2045kg] per year per Grow Tray
  • 85lbs [38kg] per week
  • 11.7lbs [5kg] per day

Colle Davis, Inventor, with fresh cucumbers from Portable Farms

Each Module contains one Grow Tray, one Fish Tank and one Clarifier. The components to make the Module functional also include a special pump and valve system, a control panel, air pumps and related hardware and wiring.

Labor costs are higher than with lettuce because of the training and harvesting of cucumbers. This is true for tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and any plant that requires extra time after planting. Lettuces does not, plant it and then a few weeks later harvest it and plant the same place again. Two people can operate a 10,000 sq ft PFAS if they are only growing lettuce. With other bush or vine crops two to four additional personnel are required.

Grow and Sell Food with Commercial Aquaponics

Grow and Sell Food with Commercial Aquaponics 

by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Becoming a commercial aquaponics farmer requires the technology information, plans, the permits, site preparation, the inspections, the ordering of the greenhouse and the thousands of small and large steps all of which are necessary. But once started on the site development and the assembling of the greenhouse everything becomes REAL and moves all the plans into actions. This is always a very exciting time for our new customers and brings a sense of ‘this is real’ for everyone involved.

All construction projects (large and small) require planning and careful execution to build that dream to completion. Every new building is surrounded with a glow and an energy that is very difficult to describe and yet everyone knows the feeling of accomplishment and the energy that result when carefully executive plans come together and begin to materialize.

Lettuce grown in Portable Farms uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture and grows in HALF the time as soil-grown lettuces.

Aquaponics 
Dan Burden, AgMRC Content Specialist

D. Allen Pattillo, Department of Natural Resources Ecology & Management,
Iowa State University; North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC)

This closed-loop system has many advantages over conventional “open-loop” crop production systems:

  • It uses approximately 10% of the land area and 5% of the water volume required by conventional vegetable crops.
  • Due to less water and land use, aquaponics is perfect for highly efficient use of existing space or for special applications like intensive urban gardening.
  • Crop production time can be accelerated.  For example, butterhead lettuce varieties can be produced in about 30 days, instead of the typical 60-day growing period needed for conventional production.
  • Production can occur year-round under a greenhouse or in a temperature-controlled enclosure.  This allows producers to market fresh produce during seasons when trucked-in produce is at their highest seasonal prices.
  • Aquaponics is an adaptable process that allows for a diversification of income streams.  High-value herbs, vegetables, and leafy greens, as well as fish, crayfish, worms, mushrooms, and a number of other crops may be produced, depending upon local market interest and the interests of the grower.
  • These systems allow agriculture to take large innovative steps toward environmental sustainability.  Because these are mostly-closed-loop systems, nutrient effluent leaving the facility is virtually nonexistent.  Additionally, fish, plant, and other waste solids may be captured and converted into value-added fertilizer products for wholesale or retail sale.
  • Growers can start small, with minimal investment, perhaps using scrounged materials to see if the venture is “right for me,” then scale-up as markets and expertise develops.

Read our book, Commercial Aquaponics GOLD.

  • This comprehensive information about commercial aquaponics provides you will all the facts you’ll need to make an informed business decision about commercial aquaponics growing in controlled environment agricultural (CEA).
  • We’re also offering TWO FREE BONUSES with the purchase of Commercial Aquaponics GOLD: 1) A formal ten-step strategy business plan template designed specifically for commercial aquaponics growing to present to funders and, 2) PFAS LLC’s Executive Summary showing production and operating costs, profits and best-produce choices to achieve the shortest Return on Investment.

CLICK ON our fun video by the Crazy Professor, aka, Colle Davis, Inventor of Portable Farms, talk about commercial aquaponics and explain what his book Commercial Aquaponics Gold offers.

12-Month Aquaponics Gardening in a Lean-to Greenhouse

Building an Attached Greenhouse Aquaponic System
By Colle and Phyllis Davis

Portable Farms Aquaponics System in Playa Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico

Portable Farms Aquaponics System installed in this lean to greenhouse next  to a house in  Baja California, Mexico.

More and more people are contacting us regarding year-round aquaponics gardening in a lean-to greenhouse built next to their house.

The ideal location to for your aquaponics installation may or may not be where you want to build it. We do not recommend areas that are shaded or in driveways or next to tall fences. Here is a list of requirements and suggestions for maximizing the location of your aquaponics system, so it receives the maximum level of sunlight to grow your food.

Here is a short list of considerations and suggestions to help you create an ideal place to install your greenhouse and build your aquaponics system inside that greenhouse.

  1. Find a place that provides your greenhouse six to seven hours of direct sunlight each day that shines directly over your Grow Table.
  2. The greenhouse should be orientated to maximize the sunlight and to minimize cold infiltration.
  3. Your greenhouse must have access to water and power.
  4. There must be proper floor drainage inside the greenhouse to keep floor dry.
  5. If possible, place your greenhouse on a concrete floor.

FREE DO IT YOURSELF PLAN: How to build a lean-to greenhouse

(*Link to this website at the bottom of this page. This website offers step-by-step instructions with great graphics that are easy to follow.)

Another possibility is to build a greenhouse along the side of your house or garage. We recommend consulting someone with an understanding of moisture flow before building a greenhouse attached to your house.

The requirements of an attached greenhouse need to have the following considerations to be effective:

  1. The greenhouse should have a south or southwest exposure.
  2. There should be no trees or large shrubbery nearby.
  3. It must have good drainage within the greenhouse. This is vital.
  4. While building your greenhouse, build a stem wall (short concrete or insulated wall on the wall of the greenhouse).
  5. Build your greenhouse on a concrete slab.
  6. Optional: Consider venting the greenhouse into your house in the winter as an inexpensive and pleasant addition to the air inside both the house and the greenhouse. The added moisture is welcomed but needs to be monitored to insure it does not promote mold. Venting the greenhouse into the house demands you keep your fish tanks and clarifiers clean to avoid a gamey smell.

Aluminum Lean-to Greenhouse kits – Top-quality Gable style greenhouse for the serious gardener, clubs, schools or any group that requires a larger growing area. Complete your greenhouse with our Greenhouse Equipment Kit.  (*Link to the Gothic Arc Greenhouse’s website at the bottom of this page.)

Additional advantages of building mounted greenhouses next to your house or garage:

  1. They require less insulation.
  2. They are much easier to build than a traditional greenhouse.
  3. They are faster to build.
  4. You will get your aquaponics system up and running sooner.
  5. By building a door between the house and the greenhouse, you can have access in-and-out of the greenhouse.
  6. With an access door, you don’t have to go outside in extreme weather conditions.

Now, here are the disadvantages:

  1. Noise. The air pump can be noisy and may to be need to be installed in an enclosed box to quiet the sound.
  2. The fish waste can smell bad or at least be noticeable when being removed from the settling tank. This may or may not be a problem.
  3. There needs to be two separate exhaust fans. One fan for winter that blows into the house and the other to exhaust to the outside in summer.
  4. The height of the lean-to greenhouse may not be tall enough for good circulation and shading.
  5. Supplemental lighting will (most likely) be necessary in any kind of growing structure.

In most cases the advantages far out-weigh the disadvantages, however, please take the time to consult family members to get their input before proceeding.

The ideal situation includes:

  • A door (it may already be there) between the house and the greenhouse.
  • Water and power must be available without running new pipes or lines.
  • If possible, install your greenhouse in front of a large window to the house so you can admire your garden. Plan on installing the door and window (if they are not there) for best results.

Having the aquaponics system next to the house is smart, convenient, and creates both a unique awareness of growing things and a fabulous place to chill out. Spending quiet moments inside in a warm, moist greenhouse in cold weather is a perfect way to beat the winter blues.

If you have questions of how to build the aquaponics systems, please read the curriculum for Aquaponics University and sign up for the course. We will help you size your installation.