Aquaponics, by A.M. in NC

Introduction As a forward to this article, let me tell you a little about myself. I’ve been an avid daily reader of SurvivalBlog for about four years now and an avid prepper since my days as a Boy Scout. I’m 30 years old with a wonderfully supportive wife and two adorable girls. About two years ago, after being introduced to the idea of aquaponics, I started thinking about how much the cost would be to get started, how much more of my time toward prepping this would take up, and then finally how I would convince my wife that this would actually allow me to spend less time in the garden? (Insert an eye roll here.) After researching for about three months, I convinced the Mrs. that this would be cool and she approved $500 of our budget to go towards this endeavor. All in all I’ve spent about $1000, greenhouse included. That may cause a sticker shock, but that was spent over time as my setup got more complex. I’d love to go commercial, but the FDA frowns on any food and manure coming into contact. Under normal applications, this would make sense, but with aquaponics, the fish waste … Continue reading

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Getting Started With Aquaponics- Part 2, by F.B.

Plant Rafts with Sprouting Blocks I utilize six plant rafts, each 4’X6’, for a total of 144 square feet of growing area. Each tank has room for three 2’x4’ polystyrene 1” thick rafts. Each raft has 27 one-inch holes made to accept rock wool sprouting blocks. These are commercially available on Amazon or most hydroponic source stores online. Each block will hold several sprouted plants (if you want to grow multiples on the block) or a single sprout if you prefer. Larger plants, like cabbage, take more room between plants than vertical growers, like tomatoes. Fully planted with (for a new set up) lettuce plants, you can have 487 plants in the system at one per wool cube. This system will produce as much food as one acre planted in northern climates, and it produces all year long and grows plants significantly faster.) Light and Minerals I do keep 1000 watts of LED grow lamps high above each pair of plant raft tanks. This helps during the short winter days and extends the length of day from 5am to 9pm every day of the year when the sun angle is low to the rafters. I do keep all fish tanks … Continue reading

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Getting Started With Aquaponics – Part 1, by F.B.

Aquaponics is a practical skill to learn for prepping now, while the ability to obtain all the pieces and parts exists. The technology of aquaponics combines raising fish with gardening vegetables only in water. (There is no soil used at all). This usually takes a dedicated room that is water resistant, a reliable continuous (read redundant) source of electricity, food safe tanks of various sizes (any material from plastic to glass), and a good source of water. With the drought in California, which is the part of our nation that supplies a major proportion of the vegetables we find in our stores, reaching epic proportions and potentially hitting historic norms (California is a desert historically), it may be very important to be able to supply your family with vegetables. Based on my experience with my system, I think I can grow anything I can get to sprout. Sprouting various vegetables out of the soil is a challenge all by itself that I won’t discuss here. Water usage in Aquaponics is very low at around 3 percent of a regular garden operation. California should convert to all Aquaponic farms immediately. Most set ups are small scale, though very large scale, industrial … Continue reading

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Aquaponics – Guarding the Plant Growth Medium, by J.F.

Introduction The funny thing about growing fish in your backyard (Aquaponics) is everyone thinks about the fish and the right water– temperature, pH, chemical balance, replacement, and so forth– for the fish. No one thinks about the plants and asks questions, such as: * What is the right environment for the plant root system? * What should one do about moving the plant growth medium and pulling up dead plants? * Should water be added to the plant growth medium or should it be added to the fishtank when water needs to be replaced? This lesson addresses both how to correctly add water to the system because of evaporative losses, and how to keep the right temperature of the plant growth medium for the plants (not just the for the fish). Having a handle on these concepts ensures that one can spend more time enjoying the fish as they play in the water, observing the spawning process, and harvesting the fish and vegetables and less time with cultivation, emergencies, and disease. The following two principles are keys that make Aquaponics easier than it already is. One should remember that farming fish and plants within an enclosed system is a fairly … Continue reading

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Hydroponics: An Update, by D.P.

Today I have an update for you on my hydroponics adventures. The system has been up and running all season (April 20 – November 1) so there is a lot of information to be shared. The system currently includes 12 beds – 4 outdoors and 8 in a greenhouse – for a total surface area of 56 sq.ft (~ 5.5 m2). An in-depth description of the system was published last year on Survivalblog. I made only 1 substantial change since then and that is in the way the polyethylene drain pipes are connected to the beds. The connections need to be made with threaded nipples/tees otherwise the system will continually leak. You will need to put a threaded ring on the nipple before you screw it through the bottom of the bed into the tee. This allows proper stabilization of the connection. I made the ring by cutting a slice 1-1.5 threads deep off the tee which has more threads than you need anyway. If you collect the drain water in a gutter underneath the beds, you won’t have this problem but then you have to clean the gutters at least once a month of algae growth. Before I get … Continue reading

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Survival Spearfishing, by Daniel B.

Most people have been fishing at some point in their life and in the event of TEOTWAWKI many people will include this basic survival skill in their portfolio of hunting and gathering activities.  Since the majority of the world lives along coastlines, fishing for survival might become fairly competitive and with so many lines in the water you’ll be better off jumping in and hunting your fish the way God intended.  After all, why else would humans be given the mammalian diving reflex, the set adaptations which occur as soon as your face touches the water that maximize your oxygen efficiency and protect your organs from damage due to water pressure?  So you could spearfish of course.   Spearfishing (often referred to as free diving) provides a wonderful alternative to fishing with a pole but requires a different skill set.  Spearfishing is often a better approach than using a pole for a number of reasons:   Spearfishing requires little to no fishing line that may be hard to come by and easily lost in the water or damaged.  It does not require bait. Spears are not lost as easily as hooks.  And from an ecological point of view spearfishing damages the environment … Continue reading

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MYDS: My Resolution For 2013, by J.L.

What is MYDS? It’s not prepping, it’s not hoarding, it’s not a disease or even a mental condition and it certainly isn’t unpatriotic or terrorism.  What is it about, then? It is about being provident. Actually, MYDS stands for Make it Your Darn Self!  That is my Philosophy and Motto for 2013! Provident means to prepare for the future.  Why?  Why take the time, the effort, or the expense to be provident?  Look around us.  Look at the world we live in.  Look at the economic and political climate.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to anything.  Everything from the top down – From our God to the sand beneath our feet – Everything is being questioned and demonized.  Right is wrong and wrong is right.  The freedom that we once knew as children of playing and frolicking on the streets in our community only to worry about making it home before dark or when we were hungry has given way to the fear of our children playing in front of our homes.  Progressives, Agenda 21, Socialism, Communism, Failing Schools, and having to sign up on a registry to know where sex offenders and predators live just to … Continue reading

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The Complete Cycle Of Life, by Terry I.

Imagine a market place in your back yard for fresh homegrown fish, herbs, fruits and vegetables.  Best part of this is that you grew it and know what’s in it.  No pesticides or unwanted hormones and additives.  Plus the market is open 24/7. My Hawaii Experience  Living on an island  and having everything shipped into it makes for the worst case disaster when mother nature or human nature turns bad.  From total communications failure to coastal ports devastation, Hawaii would suffer the worst of all the states in the shortest amount of time.  A large population on island Oahu would mean all meaningful supplies would be consumed in two weeks.  If nothing else the multi-cultural mix of the islands make-up may prolong the inhumanity a month. After no resupply of goods and fuel, then the insanity begins.  But when it comes down to family needs, your best friend may become your competitor for what you may have. Water is not far away, but clean water can still be a problem.  I have water filters for the times when questionable sources are the only available supply.  Drought in Hawaii, you betcha.  Clean water source can at time be hard to find.  … Continue reading

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Aquaponic Gardening, by D.P.

Aquaponic Gardening, by D.P. This submission is about gardening (tips on what to grow and why) and how and why I am switching from outdoor to indoor gardening. I have been gardening since age 3 – much to the chagrin of my parents who, once they realized what was going on, quickly gave me my own 10 square feet with some lettuce and radish seeds and told me to tend to that in the future. I did get to take care of their garden as I grew older though. I also have had gardens on various soil types as my family moved about and so in many respects I am better prepped to grow (part of) my own food than most. For many generations my ancestors, who lived in Europe, had small businesses and/or farms. In those days the grocery stores didn’t sell vegetables but just what we would call ‘dry goods’ today. People didn’t have much money so whatever they could grow themselves, they did in their own garden. They also didn’t have much in the way of weather forecasts beyond the type of clouds they happened to see and whether air pressure was rising or falling. To be … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Subsistence Fishing After TEOTWAWKI

James Wesley: In reference to CentOre’s recent article, “Subsistence Fishing After TEOTWAWKI”, one method not mentioned which works very well (speaking from experience) is to kill a non-edible animal like a prairie dog and hang it over a bank. After a couple of days maggots begin to fall off of the decaying carcass and the fish learn to come to that bank to get a free meal. Then using yo-yo fishing lines you bait whatever hooks you use with scraps and pretty much I’ve never gone without a pan full of fish a day to eat. The other method is to use 12 volt DC current.  This is the same trick that the fish and wildlife guys use to do fish counts.  Place a couple of copper rods several feet apart in the water — driven into the ground.  Hook up your jumper cables from your vehicle and let it run for a bit.  The 12 volt DC current acts as a fish magnet and you can pick and choose which ones you want to eat. – Hugh D.

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Subsistence Fishing After TEOTWAWKI by, CentOre

Introductory Disclaimer: Many ideas expressed within this article may not be legal in all jurisdictions.  Items covered and methods discussed are strictly theoretical in nature unless otherwise stated. Many people have a love of fishing.  Take a pole, and maybe a youngster, down to the shore, or a dock, baiting up, casting out, and waiting for a bite.  It’s a great time to just sit, talk, and enjoy nature.  Right? Not after TEOTWAWKI!  There will not be many ‘restful’ days, or nights for that matter.  Our group has a saying that: “Sportsman-ship goes out the window when Survival-ship comes in the door.”  Catching as many fish as you can properly make use of with a minimum of effort will become the rule.  It is wasteful to catch more of any game than you can make use of.  If you can dry and/or smoke ten pounds of fish per day don’t go out and catch a hundred pounds unless you have the means to keep the unprocessed fish from spoiling. Looking back at the Native Americans and their ways is a good place to start. In the Columbia River Drainage they fished with both nets and spears.  They still do, where … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Inexpensive Building and Gardening Techniques

Sir:   In many states, it is illegal to transport fish from public waters to private waters [or vice versa].  You might be okay going from private waters to private waters.  The concern is that you might introduce disease from one area to another and thus contaminate another area.  He should probably look into stocking his pond from a legal supplier. – Alan W.

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