OK, my slab is down and I am ready to put my ponds in and fill. It took almost 3 cubes of concrete, 6 hours, a concrete mixer, 4 Malawians, my son and I to complete the slab. Here are some action shots of the laying of the slab. I have plumbed inflow, outflow, grow bed, drain and electrical pipes into the slab.
My rain dance has definitely worked and we have had 67mm in the last 24 hours. Both of my 2500L rain water tanks are full to overflowing. This will be enough water to start filling my ponds (2 x 2900L).
Today my grow beds arrive. I have ordered 10 x 200L plastic drums, which when cut in half will give me 20 x 100L grow beds.
While I plan the rest of the pumps, grow bed plumbing and planting work, I thought I’d put together a dream list of what my ideal system could comprise. Nothing on this list is rocket science, and it is all achievable.
It all starts with the Tilapia fish.
One of the first crops to be cultivated in one or two grow beds is Water Hyacinth. This will provide the Tilapias primary food source. The fish is thus cultivating it’s own food.
Secondly sunflowers. These will be no ordinary sunflowers. In an aquaponic system, these will be high-yielding giants producing many times the yield of the their poorer cousins growing in soil. From these seeds I will make sunflower oil, and from the oil, bio-diesel (I am going to show you how in an upcoming blog.) This bio-diesel will fuel the standby diesel generator and possibly a small diesel car (which I have just bought in anticipation.)
A solar panel on the roof of the greenhouse will charge a bank of batteries, which through an inverter will provide enough electricity for the pump, a light in the greenhouse and possibly a blower to aerate the water.
Other crops which will be planted will be leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. The off-cuts from these can also be fed to the Tilapia. Then also brinjal (eggplant), tomatoes, peppers, basil and beans.
I also want to introduce earthworms to the grow beds which also provide a snack for the Tilapia.
Here is an image from Backyard Aquaponics to keep me motivated.
I cannot wait.