Newest Adventure on the Farm
If you are new to our farm family you may not realize how adventurous, challenging, stimulating it can be to have a farm. Though we do the routine things day after day there is also variety. We are never bored! Add in a sense of drive, independence, curiosity and viola! You have a new hobby. Last year, I planted an orchard with 36 trees and berry patch with 50+ plants. They won’t produce much until their fourth year though so that project is on hold.
This year, as we enter our tenth year we seek to expand and diversifying bit more. We love our cows and chickens but I’ve got a hankering for some fish and veggies.
It started with a call from my brother, Greg. He had been reading about aquaponics, the combining of aquaculture (fish rearing) and hydroponics (raising veggies in water). The fish waste provides a natural source of nutrients for the plants. The plants in turn filter the water for the fish. It is a finely balanced mini ecosystem. Fascinating!
As most of you know I am so very sensitive to the effects of corn. Fish fed a diet with corn would send me into anaphylaxis. So when I learned tilapia can be raised on plants, my curiosity was peaked. Adding in another protein source does sound good! I asked around and most felt tilapia was a yummy mild fish with many cooking options. That sounds good to me!
Additionally, the vegetables would not be waxed or sprayed or placed in an ethylene chamber. Hmm. Safe veggies. Another plus. Year-round vegetables means a bit closer to food independence. Nice! Then when I discovered you can raise some fruits like cantaloupe too, I get nearly giddy. Missouri’s favorable climate will allow greatly extended seasons on so many items.
One thing that has been hard is regulating the organic fruit and organic vegetables we offer now via a wholesaler. Sometimes items are out of stock but we don’t learn of it until the day before delivery. As a result we had to take vegetables and fruits off the delivery options. Now, we will be able to put them back on!
I’m thinking several herbs, lettuces, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries, etc. Oh, the possibilities! I don’t want to bite off more than we can chew, yet I love to dream big.
So for now, it’s a tentative go. We have to level the ground, take down a used greenhouse, put it up again, obtain all the equipment, set it all up, get the seeds started and order fish, plants, and . . . Whew! Getting tired thinking of it all.
Here’s the best part! My brother Greg is so eager and enthusiastic that our farm have fish and veggies that he will be coming here to set it all up and get it running smoothly! I am excited to see and have the opportunity for the kids to spend a whole bunch of time with him. He is the kind of Uncle that is a favorite kind, fun-loving and enthusiastic! I am eager for you all to meet him and catch his infectious excitement.
He is calling me a couple times a day as we discuss different options and try to work out all the decisions. We plan to get started soon so there is a lot of learning going on right now! Should we use deep water culture or grow beds or both? Tilapia, definitely. Perch? Maybe in the future. Which veggies? Which fruits? How many of each? And on and on.
Please feel free to share your comments and questions. We want to cater it to YOUR wants and needs. So please chime in!
- What fruits and vegetables are you wanting to buy?
- What does your family like to eat?
- How much fish would you be interested in?
If you have time and energy I’m sure my brother Greg would appreciate the help with labor. There will be a lot to do.
As always, we are glad to serve you and look forward to the new things we will be able to offer.
I saw this quote as part of an ad for aquaponic interns:
So I hope you all are hungry!