Jump Start Your Summer Growing with an Aquaponics System

Jump Start Your Summer Growing.
Better YET . . . Grow Food for your Family YEAR ROUND in any Weather!
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis
Small Portable Farms Aquaponics System

Small Portable Farms Aquaponics System

1. Determine the SIZE for your aquaponics system: Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are high intensity food production systems that produce prodigious amounts of food year round in any climate. Here is the formula for correctly sizing your backyard aquaponics system. In a highly effective system with gravel as the medium base, a tray space of 25 to 30 sq. ft. will feed one adult their table vegetables year round – FOREVER. Use the number of people you want to feed times (x) the 25 sq. ft. required for each person and the resulting figure will be the size of grow tray space you will need.
Example 1: You have four people in the house (any child over the age of 11 eats like an adult) times 25 sq. ft. equals 100 sq. ft. of grow tray space. A grow tray that measure 5 ft. x 20 ft. long (6 ft. x 16 ft.) will be the perfect size. This size tray will fit comfortably inside a 10 x 24 ft. (or a 12 x 20 ft.) greenhouse.
Example 2: There are 8 people you wish to feed. 8 people x 25 sq. ft. per person equals – 200 sq. ft. The formula of number of people times the 25 sq. ft. required to feed them can be applied no matter what the number of people you want to feed. A commercial installation with 10,000 sq. feet of enclosed space provides 6,000 sq. ft. of grow space and will feed 240 people.
2. Find the ideal location in your backyard for your Portable Farms® Aquaponics System that has at least six hours of direct sunlight available in the chosen location. If you don’t have an area to receive 6 hours of sunlight, you must supplement the lighting to provide your vegetables with grow lights. Or, can you use an existing building, or extend an existing building to save money and reduce the carbon footprint?
3. Explore the materials that are required for the grow trays and other items that are required for your system to operate at its peak. We supply this list of materials in our course Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course©.
4. Learn the actual operation of your new aquaponics installation regarding ways you can be assured that you will be operating it effectively and not kill fish or plants.

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.


Aquaponics in the Urban Environment  

Aquaponics in the Urban Environment  
By Colle and Phyllis Davis

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.

Fun Fact: In Russia, over half of all produce is grown on small home plots during growing seasons.

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.

Feed 8 People FOREVER in ONE 40′ Grow Tray!

Feed 8 People FOREVER in ONE 40′ Grow Tray!

by Colle and Phyllis Davis

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

One module of Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems feeds a family of eight year round.

— Install twenty to thirty modules and sell the food you grow in a commercial aquaponics operation.

PFAS LLC offers a self-paced online course that teaches users how to assemble and operate a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.  Most students dedicate an hour per day for a week or ten days to complete the course. Upon satisfactory completion of the course, graduates receive a Portable Farms® Kit used in the assembly of the aquaponics module that is capable of feeding eight people table vegetables and fish . . . forever.  
We’ve done all the work for you!
All you need to do plant some seeds, feed some fish and harvest fresh healthy food – FOREVER. A 5′ x 40′ Grow Tray to feed EIGHT people FOREVER (and forever means just that: ALWAYS.)
Enroll in our NEW ONLINE aquaponics course:  Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course© from Aquaponics University. It offers step-by-step instructions with hundreds of photographs that walk you through the entire course. This is a fast and fun way to learn how to build and operate your own aquaponics system. After graduation, you’ll receive a Portable Farms® Kit so you can build your own farm.  Enroll today!


Tomato and cucumber plants growing vertically in one grow tray.

Tomato and cucumber plants growing vertically in one grow tray.

Over 300 varieties of plants grow well in aquaponics. Of all the garden-fresh foods that people enjoy growing in our systems, the favorites are:

  • All varieties of lettuce (romaine, red leaf, butter crunch, etc.
  • Many herbs such as cilantro and mints
  • Most greens such as collard greens, etc.
  • In an acclimatized greenhouse with seasonal grow lights, you can also grow blooming plants year round such as tomatoes (large tomatoes or cherry tomatoes), most varieties of climbing beans – green beans and even peas, cucumbers (large crisp farm-fresh cucumbers), all varieties of peppers (green and red peppers, and all varieties of hot peppers)
  • Basil
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Asian greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Eggplant
  • Plus, don’t forget the HOME GROWN FISH in a tank only steps away from your kitchen.
WOW!!!!!!!!!! LOOK AT THAT KALE! Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems harvesting 8 kale plants with leaves averaging 47" in length. This kale was grown in 42 days in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System

Phyllis Davis, Co-Inventor, Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems harvesting 8 kale plants with leaves averaging 47″ in length. This kale was grown in 42 days in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System

Growing produce in Portable Farms is easy and nutritious and food is grown YEAR ROUND regardless of weather conditions anywhere in the world.

Picture perfect greens.

Aquaponics Grow Tables GOLD ebook and Automatic Trip Valve 

Aquaponics Grow Tables GOLD ebook and Automatic Trip Valve 
from Portable Farms®

Aquaponics’ Grow Tables raise healthy, fresh table vegetables.

Portable Farms® Grow Tables never overflow and are now fully automatic.

Aquaponics Grow Tables GOLD ebook – US$59.95: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION – The sale of this ebook does NOT include the Automatic Trip Valve (ATV) that regulates the water level in the grow tables, but the ATV is available with the purchase of this book for an additional US$20.00 in offer below.

Aquaponics Grow Tables GOLD ebook and Automatic Trip Valve – US$79.95: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATIONThis sale includes the ebook and the Automatic Trip Valve (ATV) that regulates the water level in the grow tables. The shipping for the ATV is free within the US. The shipping for the ATV is US$12.95 outside the US. You will be contacted to pay shipping charges prior to shipping.


Portable Farms® Grow Tables become more valuable over time because their production increases over the first two years after the operator learns what plants they enjoy growing.

The valuable content in this Aquaponics Grow Table GOLD ebook has emerged from more than ten years of success in the marketplace. We have continued to refine our Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems and are now growing food in twenty-five countries and in all fifty US States.

The design and function of our Grow Tables incorporates our experiences, the feedback from our global customers, engineers, universities and from many of our own odd mistakes and failures.

The true success of an aquaponics system allows its operators to take a weekend off occasionally, and never worry have about watering or feeding the plants to grow delicious, healthy and pesticide-free food.

Here are the many benefits of the Portable Farms® Grow Tables.

  1. They do not leak if constructed properly.
  2. They do not bulge or distort when full of food.
  3. They have adjustable legs to level them on uneven surfaces or for special needs (such as building them to be wheel chair accessible).
  4. The tray depth and water flow can be modified for growing kitchen or medicinal herbs.
  5. The grow trays can be flooded if insect control is required.
  6. Each grow table can be sized in width and length to accommodate your location or the food for family or group needs.
  7. The grow tables are easy to keep clean.
  8. The crushed gravel in the grow tables never needs to be cleaned [if you use a clarifier].
  9. The plants in the grow tables strip out the nutrients as the water flows through the crushed gravel.
  10. As the water flows through the grow tables, it becomes re-oxygenated during each cycle before it returns to the fish tank adding to the health of the fish and fish tank.
  11.  Crushed gravel, the least expensive substrate is used to grow the plants. Think cheap and local.
  12. Growing food from the waist high grow tables makes it easy to plant, care for the plants and harvest the food.

Measure the space you have and use the formulas provided and the near future the world of self-reliance starts.


PLEASE NOTE: A competent carpenter can build the entire grow table in about 6 hours. We make the assumption that whoever is constructing the grow table has several years of construction experience using power tools, hand tools, and common building materials. Even though the construction is very straightforward and uses common building materials, a high level of precision finish work is required for the grow table to function correctly. A hobbyist without construction experience is very seldom capable of building this level of precision without some excellent help and support.



Community Aquaponics is the HOT NEW TREND

Community Aquaponics is the HOT NEW TREND
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

The impact of a single community aquaponics system is much larger than the excellent ROI (Return on Investment) and high monthly income. The impact of multiple units has a profound effect on virtually every aspect of a community.




botswana10,000 Sq ft Portable Farms Aquaponics System Commercial Farm Installed in Botswana, Africa

Commercial and community aquaponics systems have now proven themselves over the last two decades and are becoming more effective and efficient as the technology improves. Many people are contributing to the movement and it now appears that community aquaponics has finally arrived as a viable alternative to the easily disrupted food supply and the huge increase in the demand for locally grown, pesticide free food.

Expanding locally grown food in Capital Region being studied – Learning more may help farmers, those underserved

“As consuming locally grown food soars in popularity, a new two-year study to find ways to increase production and distribution was announced Wednesday at Capital Roots.

The Greater Capital Region Food System Assessment will investigate food consumption and security in the most populous core counties and production throughout the 11-county region. The area is recognized as the local foodshed.”  

For investors looking for an ROI in the two to four year range, a construction company looking for a new arena to expand into over the next decade or two or even a Ministry of Agriculture or an NGO wanting to improve the lives of local people, community aquaponics is a viable option to address their desired outcomes to provide food and work for local people.

The large community installations employ local people on both a temporary (building the systems) and permanent basis (operating, harvesting and planting) and contribute to the local economy. The initial markets are necessarily local markets; resort hotels, high-end restaurants, foodies and specialty markets catering to the wealthy. Within the next few years, community aquaponics systems will contribute to local food supplies on a much broader scale (supermarkets and institutional growing for schools and prisons), but initially they may only contribute to the local economy through job creation.

For instance: An investor group planning to install a commercial (10,000 sq ft – 1/4 acre, 1,000m2) Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems next to a restaurant in a major US city. Here is what they are planning to accomplish with their very first installation:

  1. Showcase the use of aquaponics as a LOCAL FOOD SOURCE
  2. Deliver locally grown, pesticide free vegetables to their customers not treated with chemicals
  3. Place locally grown fresh-water healthy fish on the menu that were not treated with chemicals or any kind
  4. Reduce transportation costs for most vegetables to ZERO
  5. Serve food that was harvested on the DAY it was meant to be harvested which enhances both the flavor and the nutritional content of the food
  6. Dramatically reduces their carbon footprint
  7. Reduces storage costs because the food is harvested as needed
  8. Reduces prep time because the crops are harvested only as needed
  9. Supply their patrons with the excess production at regular store prices

Plus the investor group will also reap these benefits:

  1. Realize an ROI of two to four years
  2. Net-net income for 1/4 acre is approximately US$100,000 or more depending on restaurant margins and the selection of crops you grow and sell to them
  3. Become their own supplier for many of the vegetables they now purchase through wholesalers
  4. Have the marketing lead to themselves in their niche for at least two years
  5. Become local spokespersons for using local suppliers and growers
  6. Offers owners ‘bragging rights’ to attract news coverage in the media. Also offers a ‘hook’ for advertising and articles about their aquaponics system to talk about on their website to boast the use of locally grown organic food that was planted, raised and harvested onsite or locally. This alone is worth its price of investment. Word travels fast and people will drive for miles to experience an innovative approach in dining and shopping.

To have the opportunity to invest in anything that has an ROI of less than five years is very tempting and when the investment comes with all of the above benefits, the long term impact for both the investor and the community continues to grow.

Multiple installations add several more benefits to the equation.

  1. The impact on local employment grows in direct proportion to each new installation
  2. The ancillary services to support the aquaponics installations creates jobs and even new businesses
  3. Tax revenue increases to better serve the community’s needs
  4. A stabilized workforce is more resilient to economic disruptions
  5. The less a community depends on imported energy and food, the more stable the community
  6. Eventually, a surplus may be developed and shipping to other areas
  7. The area could even become a net exporter of food.

The question now is, ‘How can an individual or group step into the community aquaponics business?'” The answer is, ‘Be prepared to spend some money to determine the feasibility of your chosen location and to work with our team of engineers and experts to establish the cost and benefits for your project.’ 

Basic Grow Tables Sizes for an Aquaponics System

Basic Grow Tables Sizes for an Aquaponics System

– By Colle and Phyllis Davis















This installation includes the grow tray(s), fish tank(s) and other items necessary for your system to operate at its peak performance. The acceptable ratios of the components to each other to maximize your production and protect the system are covered in this article. Here are some parameters and ratios you will need to keep in mind when sizing and ordering materials:

  1. The maximum comfortable distance for a person to reach across at counter-height is a width of 36 inches (1m), so a grow tray with only one side exposed can only be 36 inches wide. For a grow tray with both sides facing an aisle the maximum width can be six feet (1.85m).
  2. The aisles need to be a minimum of 30 inches (.76m) for comfort and safety
  3. The grow trays are restricted to 200 sq ft due for ease of working with aisles and carrying harvested vegetables out to the building.
  4. Grow trays must be water proof and absolutely level in both directions. The most commonly built grow trays are wooden tray tables with pond liners.a savings of approximately 15 to 20% of the overall cost, but they are normally more work to build. They also have slightly lower operating expenses because they are easier to heat and cool.

 Colle Davis spreading gravel with Juan, his helper. FUN DAY!

SUMMER IS COMING – Install your Shade Cloth Above Your Grow Tables TODAY

SUMMER IS COMING – Install your Shade Cloth Above Your Grow Tables TODAY
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Note shade cloth mounted on the roof and sides of this greenhouse to protect the plants that will be planted in the gravel grow trays.

Note shade cloth mounted on the roof and sides of this greenhouse.

Plants can only utilize approximately 70% of direct sunlight. On the inside of a greenhouse, the temperature will rise very quickly as the sun climbs up into the sky. All greenhouses exhibit this rapid rise in temperature as the angle of the sun decreases. Even in very cold climates, the sun, on a clear day, can drive the temperatures from below freezing to the mid-60’s (15 to 20°C) very quickly. It most greenhouses, the problem is what to do with the heat and how to best utilize it for the good of the plants. Greenhouses are much easier to heat than to cool because the sun is the driving factor with the heat and that is tougher to regulate.

Shade cloth comes is a wide variety of blocking levels.

In installations using elevated medium (gravel in Portable Farms®) filled grow trays, the medium can very quickly heat up to killer temperatures for the plants if not protected from the direct rays of the sun. The advantages of the waist high gravel filled grow trays has to be tempered with the need to keep the gravel relatively cool. In raft systems, this problem is much less important because the light-colored ‘raft’ material does not heat up nearly as much as dark gravel.

Plants growing in a gravel medium in a Grow Tray in a Portable Farm.

Plants growing in a gravel medium in a Grow Tray in a Portable Farm.

Small plants growing in soil do not have much of a problem in full sunlight. The ground absorbs the heat and either passes it back to the air quickly or absorbs it lower into the soil itself. Even the lightest mulch will keep the soil cooler. With the use of gravel, the heat is absorbed and held in the top layer of unprotected gravel and this thin layer continues to heat up to over 140° F on a hot day. The seedlings will start to die if the gravel temperature exceeds 110° F for more than a few minutes.

This seedling stage of growth is the time the shade cloth is the most important in preventing the gravel from heating up faster than the air above it can remove that heat.

The Footsteps of the Farmer are His Best Fertilizer

The Footsteps of the Farmer are His Best Fertilizer
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Old Japanese proverb (modern translation): “The closer you are to your plants and animals each day, the easier it is to observe and respond to their needs.”

If you have raised children or lived on a farm, this wise proverb makes perfect sense.

The moral of the story is that when you are interacting with the food you are raising, you become very attuned to each plant and each animal and you are acutely aware of their needs on a daily basis. Then you can respond by providing them with exactly what they need to provide you with the finest food in the world. When you are in control of their world, you reap the benefits of your efforts.

In today’s modern (fast paced) urban life, the food that arrives at your table has been grown as quickly as possible to meet shipping requirements, then processed, packed, shipped, unpacked and sometimes processed again (repackaged, cooked and canned, or frozen) for your consumption. Many urban dwellers have no conception where their food comes from or how it arrives on their plate. Most don’t care and do not want to be bothered with knowing.



What about growing your own food? Even a tiny lettuce seed or tomato seed planted in sand in a coffee can is a start. The investment costs are negligible and the rewards are enormous. Expanding the idea a tiny bit by planting a window box or even a few seeds in a planter out on your patio. Oh, wait, winter is coming, how about planting some lettuce in a shallow tray placed in the window and turned every day. Do you have an aquarium? Use some of the fish water to water your tiny seedlings to create an open aquaponics system. Fish and plants separated and cared for by a human toting the water. The joy you will feel when you harvest your first plant is hard to describe.

That is a start. Next step is building a tiny aquaponics system using some grow lights. Now you are raising some of your own food. Proud barely covers your feelings when you sit down at your dining table to enjoy food grown by your own hands.


Locally Grown Pesticide-Free Vegetables

Locally Grown, Pesticide-Free Vegetables
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Swimming tilapia.

Ready to harvest Tilapia (11″ – 1.25 pounds) in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System. See how clear the water is in the fish tanks? That’s because of our CAD pump that removes the fish waste from the fish tanks TWICE per day (much like flushing a toilet) and leaves the fish tanks and grow trays free of all waste.

pesticidefreezoneAquaponics systems that grow vegetables and fish together is an automatic guarantee that the food grow in that aquaponics system was grown PESTICIDE FREE or it would have killed the fish in the systems. Aquaponics fish are an excellent indicator that the food in that growing system has been grown without harsh chemicals or pesticides.

Now the real world enters the picture. The number one request from concerned foodies is for ‘locally grown, pesticide free’ produce. Do you see the word ‘organic’ in that request? No. Here is an example that may help illustrate the problem pulled from actual experience. If a Mexican/Israeli farmer can receive $2 per pound for organically labeled tomatoes or $.80 per pound for non organic, which box will they pack first? You have absolutely no assurance the tomato you are purchasing is really organic. You have to trust a whole list of people with your health and your money.

If the local commercial aquaponics company is offering ‘locally grown, pesticide free’ tomatoes, there is a much higher probability that what you are buying is exactly what is advertised because it is locally grown (in many cases you can actually visit the installation) and there are fish in the system to protect their health as well as YOUR health. [Weird to think that fish are protecting you and helping to deliver the best produce you can buy.]

ecosystem2Buying locally grown, pesticide free produce where fish are in the system gives you a much shorter and easily verifiable in the food chain from producer to your table. A local grower has a much greater incentive to provide exactly what they are advertising because the local people will spot a problem or a lie very quickly. Plus, the local producer is a member of the community and in many cases this alone will insure a measure of honesty.


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