Aquaponics is the combination of two food growing methods to make a more sustainable and independent system that has many benefits for a prepper. Hydroponics, or growing plants without soil and aquaculture, or farming aquatic animals, are combined so that the animal waste feeds the plants.
It’s a little more complicated, but first let’s talk about why preppers should learn about aquaponics in the first place. After, all it seems complicated, right? Is it worth it?
Aquaponics is a great solution for producing food in some circumstances where the traditional method of growing food in the soil starting in spring just isn’t going to work for you.
Urban preppers are already familiar with the high risks that their environment places them in during SHTF events. Aquaponics can make up for the lack of available soil, cramped conditions, and even the need for secrecy in the suburbs or city.
Aquaponics can produce a lot of food per square foot, and protein too which is especially difficult to source in the city. Having your own source of food in your home will prevent you from taking a risk by going outside in volatile times. An aquaponics system can also be easily hidden, keeping dangerous folks from being drawn to your property.
Rural and urban preppers can gain other benefits from an aquaponics system. It doesn’t use soil, so in a situation where the soil is tainted with a chemical or other hazard, you can still produce food with aquaponics.
The soil may also be unusable, or less productive, if pests have developed, perhaps as a result of a SHTF event, or perhaps just out of bad luck. Aquaponics protects you from many pests too.
So, perhaps you’re wondering why anyone would use aquaponics over hydroponics in these situations? Well, with the addition of fish and the bacteria that turn their waste into nutrients for your plants, you don’t need the fertilizer that you’d have to use for hydroponics.
So there’s no stockpiling necessary for this system (although you can stockpile aquaponics specific fertilizer and testing materials to help keep the system running, if you wish). You also don’t need a lot of room to make compost.
Aquaponics also has the benefit of providing you protein, where the best vegetables for a hydroponics system are not those that give protein. You could grow beans, for example, in a hydroponics system, but they will need more inputs and won’t do as well as the leafy greens that people normally grow in these systems.
What You Need
The plants still need light to grow, but there are many ways to get them that light. If you have a generator or another source of power you can use lights (specific grow-lights) to sustain your aquaponics system indoors. You can use a skylight or large windows in an urban area. Of course, you can put your system outdoors, but if you do you need to protect the plants and fish from pests and predation.
You’ll be growing the plants in water and keeping the fish in water, of course. You’ll need to have a non-chlorinated method of sterilizing water before you give it to the fish or plants, as the chlorine will harm the bacteria you are relying on to turn the fish waste into plant-ready nutrients.
Aquaponics require a lot of water when you’re starting up, but don’t need to be topped up too often. Research shows that aquaponics uses 90 percent less water than soil gardening.
This article was written by Gaye Levy and the complete article can be viewed here:
Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.
To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.