Aquaponics

Lyfe Gardens LLC. is an agricultural business using a specific unique system called aquaponics to grow all natural produce free from pesticides, herbicides, and manufactured chemical based fertilizers. This produce is grown and processed in a controlled environment greenhouse. Under such conditions, products can be grown year round providing fresh, all natural vegetables separated from pathogens and other elements that risk the quality and safety of the produce. The result is the consistent production of high quality fresh produce through a sustainable all natural process.

Research and development in the area of aquaponics is growing as more Universities around the world and more commercial ventures delve into this agricultural system. Currently, aquaponic systems are successfully growing and marketing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, melons, strawberries, root crops, cold crops and leafy greens. Leafy greens, such as lettuce are the most commonly grown product due to their high demand and adaptability. However, depending on the local market and local interest, many other types of produce can be grown in place of or in combination with lettuce. Lyfe Gardens grows a number of different types of leafy greens and a limited variety of other vegetables including herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and zucchini.

Within the aquaponics agricultural system, fish (Tilapia) are raised in 500-800 gallon tanks inside the greenhouse. 

Over a 6-8 month period, fish grow from 1.5 inch fingerlings to 1.5 pound marketable fillets.The water from the fish tanks is filtered through various grow beds and provides the plants with the necessary nutrients to foster fast, healthy, all natural growth.


Vegetables float on rafts in these grow beds as their roots extend beneath absorbing the nutrient rich water flowing through the beds and back to the fish tanks.
 


A second type of bed is a Natural Flow Through (NFT) system. These are used for the first stage of the vegetables development after germination. The germinated plants are transplanted into 1 inch square holes along the top of flow through tubes. After 8 to 12 days, the plants and roots are large enough to fit into the raft system and finish their growth in approximately 20 days.
 
A third bed system is used to grow those varieties of vegetables too large for raft systems. These beds contain an inert material (e.g. gravel, Perlite, or fired clay pebbles) to stabilize large plants like tomatoes. The nutrient water flows through this medium allowing the plants to absorb the nutrients but hold themselves upright in material similar to soil.

The aquaponics system is a closed loop system allowing the fish to feed the plants and the plants to filter and keep the water clean for the fish. Any adjustment for one part of the system will impact the other. Therefore no pesticides nor herbicides nor manufactured fertilizers can be used or they will negatively affect one side of the system and consequently destroy the whole system. Honest organic growing practices are not just an ethical mandate in aquaponics but a practical and necessary one as well.

 

 
Comments