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An introduction to aquaponics

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It has been a while since I have written a proper article, and for all my readers, I do apologize. Life has been rough and, as you can imagine, Texas doesn’t really tout environmental news on the front page. So it has been tough finding new topics to research and report on. However, chance sometimes does work for one’s favor, and over the course of the July 4th weekend, I was exposed to a special technology that not only has been around since ancient times, but can save a family hundreds every year on grocery costs while also providing for a self-sustaining environment.

I’m talking about aquaponics, and this thing has triggered my imagination once again. Not since Solar Freakin’ Roadways (which, I was pleased to find out, had more than doubled its goals from the Indigogo campaign. I will be reporting on it again when the company releases its cost estimates for converting our asphalt highways to solar panels later this month. Check out my earlier article on the project here) have I been so excited to make a new discovery.

What is aquaponics, however? I asked this same question when I heard about it from a cop friend who had invited me to his July 4th celebration, and I almost immediately got started seeking out reliable information.

According to an article written in the Napa Valley Register by “Master Gardener” Juanita Boutwelluc, the system was originally used by the Aztecs of Central America, who built floating islands on lake shallows. The premise involved exposing plant roots to nutrient-rich fertilizer produced by local fish. The fish, in turn, would benefit from insect prey that falls off the produce. Not only did this save a great deal of land for the ancient Mexican tribe, but it gave the farmers a twofold system for producing quality food.

Obviously, we can’t build floating islands in the local aquifer nowadays. But people still use this system that they oftentimes build themselves to provide for a wide variety of fresh produce that you know is not packed with steroids and didn’t cost precious gas for shipping. In the particular system I saw, the owner was growing tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and herbs for the summer, with the fall reserved for cabbage and carrots. He told me that “any produce which uses a lot of water will do well with this system,” so I do encourage you to do your research as far as suitable plants are concerned. If you want to do more research into aquaponics, stay tuned for my next article or check this out to do the reading yourself from the helpful people at Backyard Aquaponics.

This is Ian Nafziger, reminding you to stay clean, go green, and don’t mess with Texas!