You have probably heard it many times before, “lucky you live Hawaii.” One reason to be happy you live in paradise is the perfect climate for year-round gardening. There is nothing better than fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden or fresh flowers to liven up the home.
With land area at a premium, many homes in Hawaii do not have much space to allocate to a big garden. Also, most people do not have extra time in the day to water, weed, and fight the ever present bugs that prevent many people from growing their own food. This is where aquaponics can be a good resource for local families.
So what exactly is aquaponics? Aquaponics incorporates the growing of fish and plants together in a closed system using water rather than soil. Fish are grown in tanks and their waste water is pumped to the plants that are grown in soilless conditions. The plants receive the waste produced by fish for growth and then in turn, the plants purify the water, which is returned to the fish. The two systems actually benefit from each other.
Here are a few of the benefits of aquaponics:
- Healthy Eating/Organic Produce – You know that no pesticides, herbicides or hormones were used to grow the food making it perfect for nutritious baby food and homemade meals.
- Year-Round Growing – Hawaii’s climate is suitable for harvesting fresh food all year long. It can even be grown indoors.
- Convenience – Fresh food is always at your doorstep. There is no need to stop at the store on your way home from work or school activities. Food is always fresh and not sitting for days in the storage bin of the refrigerator.
- Low Maintenance – No weeding is necessary because there is no soil to encourage weed growth. No watering is needed because the system constantly recycles or re-circulates the water. Plus, aquaponics systems are beneficial because they don’t harbor soil pests, therefore no pesticides are necessary.
- Plants Grow Faster – Because plants have access to nutrients 24 hours a day, they grow faster. For example, the aquaponic system speeds up the growth of lettuce from two months to one month.
- Sustainable – The system maintains its own viability by using techniques for continual reuse. Aquaculture is also a sustainable alternative to overfishing.
The cost to install an aquaponic system can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on your needs and how elaborate a system you choose.
Most residential aquaponic growers want to save money by growing their own food. For others, their primary motivation is the ability to grow healthy, nutritious, organic and sustainable food. Aquaponics is also a great way to spend quality time with your children outdoors, providing opportunities for education.
Want a little more help? Check out our eLearning module on BUDGETING.