Meditation & Health #21- Aquaponics: Modernized Ancient Gardening
Aquaponics Modernized Ancient Gardening
By Jacqueline Sam
Aquaculture refers to raising aquatic animals in tanks. Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants in water. When the two are combined, the result is aquaponics — an effective, Nature-friendly system of food production that blends conventional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. The waste produced by the aquatic animals is the supply of nutrients needed by the plants, and the plants in turn purify the water.
One of the earliest and most striking examples of the power of aquaponics is the Chinese rice paddy. It is believed that rice paddies have existed in China since 11,000 BC, possibly earlier. They teem with aquatic lifeforms, which provide plenty of fertilizer for the rice to grow in abundance. Aquaponics was also integral to the mighty Aztec civilization, which employed a high-yield network of “floating gardens” now known as the chinampa agricultural system.
Many enthusiastic gardeners are taking up aquaponics as a hobby. A home aquarium combined with a mini-garden can provide both beauty and education on biological cycles. If practiced on a large scale, aquaponics has the potential to nourish our planet and our people. Some of the many benefits of aquaponics include:
1. It is pesticide- and herbicide-free, resulting in healthier and safer food.
2. There is no need to mix up traditional hydroponic nutrients, which saves
money and time.
3. It requires only a fraction of the water used in traditional field production because no water is wasted or consumed by weeds. In light of the global water shortage, aquaponics offers a possible solution.
4. The plants receive a truly organic, natural form of nutrients from aquaculture that would otherwise be a waste product or would necessitate costly filtration.
5. Eliminating the soil in vegetable farming eliminates all soil-borne diseases.
6. Plants can be grown quickly and more abundantly in a given space.
7. It is an ecologically responsible method of producing high-quality food.
8. Crops can be grown throughout the year if in a greenhouse or if the climate permits.
The wisdom of the ancient gardener is beginning to emerge in modern food-production consciousness. Aquaponics is a beautiful example of working in harmony with Mother Nature.