Aquaponics Gaining Converts Among Gardeners

System of fish and fertilizer is catching on
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2010 3:35 PM CST
An aquaponics fish tank.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – Aquaponics—the word is a blend of hydroponics and aquaculture, the cultivation of fish—is backyard agriculture using only fish droppings as fertilizer. And it's not for everyone, at least yet. One man’s greenhouse “wouldn’t look out of place on a wayward space station where pioneers have gone to escape the cannibal gangs back on Earth,” Michael Tortorello writes. But you can’t argue with the results: He’s pulled 347 tomatoes from a single plant.

In aquaponics, Tortorello writes in the New York Times, “effluent-rich” water flows from the fish-holding tank into a tank that feeds the root systems of your chosen bounty, and then back again. The system uses 80-90% less water than traditional methods, and is huge in drought-stricken Australia. It’s gaining steam in the US, as well, with supply companies reporting growing demand. All it takes is a little “Yankee ingenuity,” one cultivator says. And you can eat the fish.

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