An Innovative Way of Growing Food

Aquaponics: The next big thing in agriculture - AgFunderNews

In today’s blog, I wanted to reiterate what we learned in our most recent learning unit, and that is innovative ways of growing food in different environments. I would like to start of by referencing a video called What is Aquaponics? How it Works & Why an Aquaponic Setup Can Fail.The word, Hydroponic, comes from Latin roots and means working water. Simply put, it is an alternate agriculture system that allows growing plants without soil.When most people think of hydroponics, they think of plants grown with their roots suspended directly into water. This is just one type of hydroponic gardening known as N.F.T. (nutrient film technique). There are several variations of N.F.T. used around the world and is probably the most used method of growing hydroponically. What most people don’t realize is that there are countless methods and variations of hydroponic gardening.With hydroponics, the plants are grown in a growing medium and a perfectly balanced pH level that can be adjusted through nutrient solution and is delivered to the roots in a highly soluble form. This allows the plant to uptake its food with very little input of extra fertilizers and having to deal other elements that are in the soil. When plants are grown in soil, they have to find available nutrients throughout the soil, this energy spent by the roots in this process is energy better spent on vegetative growth as well as fruit and flower production.If you grow two genetically identical plants using soil for one and hydroponics for the other, you will almost immediately see the difference this factor makes. Faster, better growth and much greater yields are just some of the many reasons that hydroponics is being adapted around the world for commercial food production as well as a growing number of home  gardeners .On the other hand, aquaponics has a symbiotic relationship with aquaculture (raising fish) because that growth of fish and plants together are one in this integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. There is also one more factor in this system, the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing medium. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that that are food for the plants. In combining both systems aquaponics capitalizes on the benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of each.

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