středa 23. dubna 2014

Little Something About Choice of Vegetable for Home Aquaponic Farm

Recently, I have got a lot of questions about the production potential of the aquaponic system. What exactly can such a farm produce? What are you going to harvest? Tomatoes? Cucumbers?
While planning the farm, I had an experimental project in my mind that was run in 2005 in Alberta, Canada. James Rakocy and his team made very detailed documentation of the experiment and they published the materials online.(PDF download).
The experiment helped to define production abilities of different plants. However, almost every type of vegetable grown in the aquaponic system exceeded the production of the same vegetable that was grown in regular way in dirt.
This plant is a favorite delicacy in the Asia and is used as a green basis for many meals in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. The ipomoea can produce incredible 50kg of biomass on square meter per year.
I realized, during my study of other suitable plants, that our daily menu and vision of how vegetable should look like is highly affected by what we see in the supermarket's shelves. However, vegetables in the supermarkets is a product of the centralized commercial agriculture. The choice of crops is determined by totally different criteria than the ones we should prefer for home conditions.
I tried to define the differences in criteria on few parameters. First and the most important of all is the dynamics of production. Ideally, commercial farmers need to harvest the maximum amount of vegetable at once and sell it as fast as possible. 
Tomatoes can serve as a great example – you spend half a year growing them only to spend another two weeks figuring out what to with overload of it. Continual harvest is much more convenient for home conditions and plants such is Ipomoea, which grows constantly, can provide you with it.
Lot of types of vegetable also require hard work – for example potatoes. If you had a machine to help you harvesting it you sure would not mind growing it. But I am not going to injure my back because of potatoes.  Also good health of me and my family comes before the great ability of absorbing loads artificial fertilizers. After a short consideration I came to a conclusion that the usual crops found in supermarket can be used  rather as warning than an inspiration.

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