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Introducing the “Aquaponics Explained” Video

June 17, 2010

When I was planning how to launch our new business early last winter I wanted to be sure to include video.  I love this new era of watching video for its content rather than its glitz that YouTube has brought us.  I’ve had a ton of fun producing my own video diary of the progress of my greenhouse over this past winter.  It feels like I’m sharing a casual ongoing conversation with a silent friend – kind of like writing this blog for all of you.

One of my video goals was to capture one of the two 3 ½ hour classes I was signed up to teach this past winter.  Both sold out – no doubt helped by the publicity generated by the NY Times article featuring me and a few others and an article in the local paper here – so they were going to have a nice energy level.  Plus, I believe there is a real dearth of clear information about home based aquaponics in this country.  There are some good workshops on a commercial level, but commercial-focused instruction doesn’t always translate well to home systems.

The Denver Botanic Gardens agreed to let me tape the class I taught there, so I hired a videographer and crossed my fingers.  We figured that if the tape wasn’t very good, we could put parts of it out on YouTube (kind of like the old Life Cereal commercials with Mikie “hey, give it to YouTube.  He’ll stream anything”).  To my delight, however, it turned out pretty darn good.  Ego aside (really!) it is 3 hours and 20 minutes of very solid information about home based aquaponics with an engaged room full of people.  While it has Aquaponics Explained videonone of the flair of Murray Hallam’s aquaponics videos it feels like you are in the class learning right along with us.  So, we decided to professionally package it, call it Aquaponics Explained and offer it for sale for $29.95 (the class cost between $75 and $100) with the hope that it will help to fill some of the gap in home aquaponic education.

As an introductory offer we are paying the shipping until our first batch runs out.  Please check it out and let me know what you think!

(click here for a peek at the entire case sleeve) Aquaponics Explained Case Sleeve

Aquaponics and the Out-of-Season Locavore

June 13, 2010
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Lately I’ve been engaged in a wonderful email exchange with one of the members of the Aquaponics Gardening Community.  Our discussion recently came to the subject of books we are reading.  Currently on her nightstand is, among others, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.  This wonderful book is the account of how Kingsolver and her family spent a year living locally, providing for themselves through food they either grew or purchased from local providers.  The book is filled with stories about how they craved the first lettuce that emerged in the early spring, how overwhelmed they were by their August canning activities, and about other deeply felt experiences of scarcity and abundance.  I found myself gushing over how much I had enjoyed the book, but also about how I disagree with it’s core premise – i.e., that to truly eat locally one must grow according to the seasons.

Allow me to digress (you will see why in a moment).  In laying the marketing foundation at AeroGrow for the AeroGarden I had the pleasure of participating in esoteric discussions about what it is that defines a gardener.  What motivates her?  What does she hope to get from this activity?  I always asserted that a core characteristic of a gardener is a desire to control her outdoor environment.  Think about typical gardening activities.  Weeding is a way of removing plants that naturally grow in a space so as to make way for plants that the gardener prefers to grow.  We sow seeds and plant plants  to arrange nature to suit our needs.  We water when it gets dry, we enhance our native soil with compost and fertilizer, we remove spent flowers, we deploy all matter of methods for ridding our plants of harmful insects, and we scare away the deer and bunnies.  An amazing gardener is one who manages to create an Eden in the desert, feed her family and her neighborhood from her abundant land, grow the rare and bizarre, and harvest the first tomato or the biggest pumpkin.Aquaponic heirloom tomato

So why then is it considered a locavore virtue to flow with the seasonal obstacles that nature hands out? Why should we not strive to amend the air temperature or length of daylight when it is fine to amend the soil?  Why restrict consumption of salads to the coolness of the spring and fall, and tomatoes to August and September?  Why not extend the warmth of the summer through a greenhouse or another indoor setup and the length of daylight through supplemental lighting?  Yes, energy is consumed but unless we are willing to follow the example of Barbara Kingsolver and spend countless hours canning and freezing and foraging during the summer to provide food for the off-season we will be buying our produce from the grocery store.  That produce will have either been grown in a commercial greenhouse, probably under lights, or have been shipped thousands of miles across the country from warmer climates.  I think I’d rather expend the energy myself on delicious heirloom tomatoes and more that have been coming out of our aquaponics greenhouse since January.  Just seems more local.

Aquaponics and Black Soldier Fly Larva

June 7, 2010
Black Soldier Fly

Black Soldier Fly (credit to Dave's Garden)

Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSF) are the juvenile grub of the BSF, and fish and chickens find them DELICIOUS.  While the notion of cultivating fly larva (uh, don’t you mean maggots?) seems pretty nuts, ends up BSF are very different than your ordinary housefly.  First, they don’t carry diseases, they cannot bite or sting, and, the experts claim, they won’t annoy you at picnics.  They are

voracious eaters of compost scraps (including pet waste), eliminating most food scraps in 24 – 36 hours.

Some very fun guys at a company called ProtaCulture have developed a product that has been specifically designed to attract, grow and harvest BSF and their yummy young.  It is called the BioPod Plus, was over 8 years in development on 3 different continents, and can process up to 5 pounds of kitchen waste and pet feces a day!  Here is a video clip of our friend Murray Hallam from his Aquaponics Made Easy video describing how he uses the BioPod to grow food for his fish.

Last fall when I was starting to think through a product line for The Aquaponic Source, I had a fascinating email exchange with Karl, one of the founders at ProtaCulture.  At one point I asked him about the difference between using red worms for composting and BSF larva.  After assuring me that he has nothing personally against red worms, here was his response:

  • Red wigglers are not efficient for processing meats, dairy products, oily foods or grains. Black soldier fly larvae readily consume all of these food types. Worms also don’t process citrus, and large food needs to be chopped. BSFL do process citrus and chopping isn’t necessary.
  • With worms it’s recommended that you bury the food scraps to avoid odor and pest problems. With BSFL the scraps can be put on top of the pile because they don’t last long enough to spoil and smell bad. BSFL give off an info-chemical that repels other flies and it’s relatively rare to see another species in the container.
  • Worms require periodic harvesting because their castings are toxic to them, and this has to be done manually. BSFL will self harvest when they are mature. In their last stage as larvae their mouth is replaced by an appendage that helps them crawl out of the container. They empty their gut and excrete an antibiotic in preparation for pupation. The container has been designed so that the prepupal larvae drop into a bucket when they exit the container, and they can live in the collection bucket for
    Black Soldier Fly Larva

    Black Soldier Fly Larva (credit Black Soldier Fly

    several days, maybe even weeks before being collected. At this stage they don’t eat.  From here, it is a simple matter to collect them and feed them to your fish.

  • Worms require a fairly specific environment with regards to moisture, ph, and temperature. Different sources recommend keeping worms at a minimum of 54 and up to 70-84 degrees depending on the source of the information. BSFL are much more tolerant. Once a BSFL was tested by being submerged in isopropyl alcohol for two hours and it survived. They can survive between just above freezing and about 100 degrees.
  • Worms process about three times their weight in food scraps per week. I assume five pounds of worms would be a substantial quantity and would consume 15 pounds of food per week. A BSFL colony in a 2 foot diameter container can process 11 pounds of food every day. Even with 10 pounds of worms you would still be limited to 30 pounds of scraps per week.
  • Most kitchen scraps are converted into BSFL at a rate of 5 to 1 so 10 pounds of food scraps would yield about 2 pounds of larvae, i.e. delicious fish food, per day.

Sure convinced me, but tragically we don’t have BSF in Colorado!  Ends up you need to be in zones 7 – 10 (sometimes 6) to have BSF, and because they are winged creatures having a native supply is a requirement.  So there is a plus for the redworms – they won’t fly off on you!

The BioPod Plus

The BioPod Plus

For more information please check out The BioPod Plus at The Aquaponic Source.  If you purchase one before June 15th we will pay the shipping.

Happy grubbing!

From Hydroponics to Aquaponics

June 3, 2010

I am very excited (“tickled pink” as my mother would say) about being invited to write a monthly column on aquaponics for The Growing Edge.  Growing Edge is probably my favorite gardeningThe Growing Edge logo magazine (now turned e-magazine) because it is the only publication I know of that gives serious, but always interesting, treatment to alternative gardening methods without any of the 20-something male, hot-rod look of typical hydroponic publications.  They have agreed to let me reprint my articles here for you.  The introductory installment is below – enjoy!


Over the past year and a half I have morphed from being a Hydroponics Professional to becoming an Aquaponics Evangelist. It’s been a fascinating journey. I’ve learned that in aquaponics, especially in an evangelist role, you must be prepared for all manner of visitors, including the raccoons who think your fish are mature enough to eat, no matter what their size, as well as people who are fascinated by the concept of growing fish and plants together.  There aren’t many of us around, so there is a certain social obligation to share one’s experiences with wide-eyed future aquapons.

I entertained such visitors just yesterday.  They were a young couple who found me through a connection with my graphic designer.  The female made the connections, but clearly the male was driving the visit.  He had been involved in LED lighting until recently when “the Japanese took over the market”.  In his explorations with his partners on what to do next he said that “aquaponics just kept coming up.”  He seems to be considering a commercial based aquaponics business of some sort, and is quite experienced in hydroponics, especially aeroponics.  I love talking with hydroponic people because I relish the look of disbelief combined with amazement that sweeps over their faces when I tell them that I don’t worry about nutrient levels…WHAT?!?  No EC meter?  That’s right.  Not only that, pH generally becomes very stable in a mature aquaponic system.  And the best part is that I never, ever flush my tanks to replace the nutrients.  Aquaponics is all about creating a natural ecosystem and standing back while nature takes over.

I am now a self-described Aquaponics Evangelist, but I wasn’t always that way.  My relevant background was first as a long time traditional dirt gardener spanning 4 yards over 4 states.  In 2003 I was hired by the newly forming team at AeroGrow International to do the plant research and development for the soon-to-be-launched AeroGarden.  I stayed at AeroGrow for 6 ½ years, managing the formation and operation of the Grow Lab and Plant Nursery which developed the nutrient, pH buffering, and other seed kit technologies on which many of AeroGrow’s patents are based.  I then became the Director of Plant Products and assumed the responsibilities for the rest of the seed kit product line.  By the time I left AeroGrow in October of 2009 I was the VP of Marketing, Innovation and Product Development.  Why did I leave such an interesting job?  In part, it was time to move on.  AeroGrow had become a very different place than the company I had joined so many years ago.  The main reason, however, was to pursue what had become a true passion – aquaponics.

You see, when I saw my buddy’s basement aquaponics setup about 1 ½ years ago I became instantly convinced that this is going to become a very important growing technology.  It solves the problem of chemical fertilizers in hydroponics.  It solves the problem of waste removal in aquaculture.  It solves the problem of excess water use in traditional agriculture.  And for the backyard gardener, it solves the problems of weeds, under and over watering, fertilizing, and back strain.  And sustainable and organic advocates are drawn to its lack of chemical inputs, mimicry of natural systems, low water use and waste recycling.

Since this epiphany I’ve started a blog, a community site and a company that brings aquaponics education, community and products together under one roof.  My husband and I have designed an aquaponics system we are launching on June 23 and have many ideas for future products.  I teach, I speak, and I have produced a video titled Aquaponics Explained.  My goal is to evangelize aquaponics to any willing audience and to take it from an obscure technique that just a few of us are converted to into a world-wide movement.  Are you with me?

Murray Hallam’s Aquaponics Videos

June 1, 2010

Last night I had the indulgent pleasure of watching Murray Hallam’s most recent aquaponics video – Aquaponics Secrets.  Why “indulgent”, you ask?  I chose that word because it describes what it is to squirrel away by yourself (unless you are lucky enough to have other aquaponic addicts in your house) and spend an afternoon in Australia learning from the master himself.   You dig your hands into his worm filled gravel, gaze in envy at his Sleepy Cod, take notes on how to set up your plumbing or size your pump, and revel in his boundless enthusiasm for the natural system that is aquaponics.

Murray’s first video, Aquaponics Made Easy, is intended for the beginning aquapon.  It starts with a basic explanation of aquaponicsMurray Hallam's Aquaponics Made Easy Video followed by step by step guidance for setting up one of his Practical Aquaponics kit systems.  Don’t be thrown off by this.  These kits are very thoughtfully designed and there is much DIY information to be extracted from his explanation of why he did what he did.  He follows this with an explanation of auto-siphons, how to set up and plant a grow bed, and cycling a system.  He then talks about how to test your system and what to look for, when a system is truly balanced and discusses fish and plant selection and care.  He concludes with a radical departure from how he began by showing us how to build a bathtub aquaponics system.

Here is a YouTube teaser of the video

Murray HallamHis second video is titled Aquaponic Secrets.  This video adds a library of valuable tips that most any aquaponic gardener will find quite useful.  Highlights from this video include a discussion of grow bed zones and the use of vertical space, growing fruit trees in aquaponic systems, tips on fish care including stress and salt baths, and how to keep your tank clean and well aerated.  He also shows his seed starting technique and discusses additives.  He talks about different system types, including his famous CHOP system (constant height one pump), auto siphon tips, and his new raft system design.  He even has a section on commercial aquaponics.

These two videos deserve a starring role on the video shelf of every aquaponic gardener!

When Murray asked our new company, The Aquaponic Source, to be one of two American retailers for his videos we jumped at the chance.  To celebrate we are offering free shipping on any Murray Hallam video until the initial shipment runs out.

Please note that these videos are in PAL format which will play very well on your PC or Mac and the very latest multi format DVD players.

The Aquaponic Source, Inc. is Born

May 26, 2010

I’m writing this from a picnic table on the bank of the Boulder Creek.  It is a gorgeous spring day, there are kids playing in the creek, Frisbees flying by, and my bigger-than-I-had-intended salad from the salad bar at the nearby Whole Foods is sublime.  Life is good.

I didn’t write my usual Sunday post in part because the weekend was filled with my daughter’s high school graduation and the family and events surrounding that momentous occasion.  The other reason was that I wanted the next post to this blog to be my Big Announcement.

Those of you who know me know that I left a senior (i.e. well paid, stable) position at AeroGrow International in October in order to pursue my dream of earning a living in aquaponics. Over the past 6+ months I’ve been working with my husband (who thought he was retired) to develop a new company.  During that time I’ve also had the great pleasure of starting and developing both this blog and The Aquaponic Gardening Community. The Aquaponic Source logo

What has evolved from this organic process is an internet-based company called The Aquaponic Source.  Our mission is “To be the trusted resource for everything the home or backyard aquaponic gardener needs”.  We will be selling a wide range of products for the aquaponic gardener selected from hydroponics, traditional gardening, and aquaculture. We will be a retailer for other aquaponic products, starting with Murray Hallam’s videos, Rebecca Nelson’s books and curriculums, and Backyard Aquaponics Magazine.  We are in discussions with some other companies, including a manufacturer of a vertical tower product.

We will also be developing, manufacturing, and selling our own products, starting with a 3+ hour video of myself teaching a course on aquaponics at the Denver Botanic Gardens called “Aquaponics Explained”.  This will be followed on June 22 with the launch of our newly-designed indoor/outdoor aquaponic system. In addition, we have plans for a whole range of products for the aquaponic gardener to be launched in the near future.

Our other goal for the new website is to become a hub for both the aquaponic gardening community and for people who aren’t aquaponic gardeners, but want to learn more about this amazing way to garden.  To this end we have included several links from the website to this blog, as well as a portal to the Aquaponic Gardening Community site, and links to the @aquapon twitter feed and videos.

How will my new business change this blog?  Well, instead of simply talking about my aquaponic gardening observations and experiences; I will be relating our experiences setting up our new company, discussing what we learn about useful (and not so useful) products and describing the day-to-day life of an aquaponics evangelist.

Please check out the new website –!  And thanks for being part of this journey.

Aquaponic Tourism in My Home Town

May 16, 2010

Last week a member of the City of Boulder Planning Board (who also happens to be a friend) interviewed me as part of a collection of interviews of “luminaries” in a variety of categories in which Boulder is a national leader. I was categorized into a group representing organic, sustainable agriculture but they were also interviewing “luminaries” (I get a kick out of that title) in sports (running, cycling, rock climbing), alternative medicine, renewable energy, high-tech entrepreneurship, and the national labs (NIST, NCAR, UCAR). The point of the interviews is to gather ideas for what the city should do with a parcel of vacant land located in a prominent place in downtown Boulder. For more information please watch this quick (2:40) video clip titled “Civic Use Task Force”

The ideas will be evaluated using the following criteria:

The Flatirons - City of Boulder

  • National eminence
    • Stimulates interest and excitement on the national level
    • Attraction for tourists
    • On-going topic matter of relevance to regional/national/global concerns
  • Authenticity
    • Embodies the Boulder Brand: Boulder’s beauty, brains, quality of life and uniqueness
    • Creation of spirit of place and unique energy embodied in Boulder’s culture
  • Interactivity
    • Activities are larger than the space it occupies. Quality vs. Quantity. Space becomes a ‘gem’
    • High level of visitor engagement. Unique experience during repeat visits
    • Opportunities for unique experiential learning vs. purely didactic learning
  • Evolutionary
    • Ability to change and morph over time-relevant issues/topics/experiences
    • Sustainability-financially/environmentally/socially sustainable
  • Entertaining/ Invigorating
    • Inspires repeat visits by locals and tourists-rotation of topic matter and experiences
    • Creates excitement year round even on a “Tuesday night in February”
    • Lengthens visitors’ stays and turns Boulder into ‘base camp’ from which day trips originate
  • Edgy
    • Presents itself creatively and inventively with an entrepreneurial spirit. Pushes the envelope on the use of multi-media and interactive technology
    • Represents the “edge condition” as in ecosystems; the place where diversity flourishes

Well, those of you who are regular readers of this blog can probably guess where I’m heading with this! Can you imagine any scenario that would better fit those criteria than a Center for Urban, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture? I’m picturing a 3 story building. The first floor opens onto a farm stand selling produce and fish that are being grown in the Center, tickets for the exhibit, and perhaps a small gift shop. The rest of the floor is populated with working exhibits of urban farming systems largely featuring aquaponics. I’d place a small scale replica of a Growing Power style system, plus a Deep Water Culture (raft) system, and a few media based systems under lights. I’d grow lettuces, herbs, watercress and a wide variety of vegetables. I’d grow and sell tilapia, perch, and catfish. I’d add a small chicken coop with access to a fenced outdoor area for warm days. I’d have a vermicomposting exhibit. I’d put signs everywhere explaining the future crises we are facing if we don’t get our food production act together, and how these systems can provide a significant part of the answer.

Tulips on Pearl Street - City of Boulder

The second floor would be an homage to the natural products industry in Boulder and presented as a logical extension of the organic produce being grown below. The third floor would contain classrooms for teaching about these concepts and a meeting space for local groups. Perhaps it would even include an urban farm and natural products business incubator. Of course, the rooftop would feature a rooftop garden exhibit with signage about the amazing amount of insulative value such gardens can provide. The goal would be to use renewable energy sources to provide as much of the energy as possible. I’d love to hear your thoughts – perhaps together we can make something like this happen!

Aquaponic Fishy Feeding Frenzy

May 13, 2010

Every morning right after breakfast I look at Luna the dog and say “ok, Luna, time to feed the fishies”. I’m convinced she knows exactly what that means because she rushes to the door to the back deck and forces her way in front of me as I open the door. She then runs down the stairs, banks around the corner and puts on the brakes at the door the greenhouse, often with her paws up on the door. I’m convinced it is one of her favorite times of the day; it is certainly one of mine. Walking through the door of the greenhouse is transformational. Whatever the crazy gods of Colorado weather are dishing up outside is ignored in this lively environment of water sound, warm, moist air, and the subtle earthy smell of thriving life.

Luna’s first stop is the 300 gallon Rubbermaid tank. She puts her paws on the edge and peers in as if to check that everything is ok. Her tail wags furiously. She waits for me to feed that tank a mix of large and small pellets that reflect the multiple sizes and types of fish we have growing in there. She then runs to the tank we refer to as the Crazy Party tank where, for some unknown reason, the fish go wild when they see us in the morning. This is where she makes her daily attempt to catch a fish with her mouth. She’s always hopeful, but never successful – at least not yet.

Here is a quick video of our experience I wanted to share with you. Enjoy!

Aquaponics and Permaculture

May 9, 2010

Yesterday I taught a three hour class on aquaponics at a wonderful permaculture education center called The Farmette in Lyons, CO. There were about 18 people there, many of whom were already full aquaponics converts just looking for a little more information. I love to teach, in part because I think that participating in adult education classes is a very hopeful experience. It is about stretching and evolving yourself and refusing to accept your personal status quo.

I have been involved with this group for a few months now. I helped them setup their own aquaponics system, I’ve attended talks on urban agriculture, and I’ve even had the privilege of seeing their newly born lambs and heard about the fowl tragedy of a fox’s visit. I’ve also taught a brief (1 hr) section of their permaculture certification course. This involvement has pushed me to think about permaculture, and it’s relation to aquaponics, when perhaps I wouldn’t have had a direct reason to otherwise. Not surprisingly to anyone who knows anything about permaculture, I’ve concluded that they are an excellent match.

Wikipedia defines permaculture as “an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.” As an aquaponic gardener I can certainly endorse that idea. Aquaponics in many ways is the “discovery” that when you raise fish with plants in a way that most closely mimics nature your system will become a natural, balanced ecology. As often happens when we work with nature, rather than battle her, a balanced aquaponic system becomes a simpler, more successful system that either of it’s parent technologies of recirculating aquaculture or hydroponics.

They synergy becomes even more pronounced with you consider this excerpt from the Key Concepts page on the Permaculture Institute’s website “Animals are a critical component of any sustainable system, as without their participation and contribution the ecological balance cannot be achieved. Everything gardens in permaculture, and animals are in the leadership position.” Don’t you love how that is said? I truly think of my fish as being in a leadership position in my garden.

The only rub in this otherwise perfect relationship is that permaculture is extremely soil focused and I certainly felt some tension in the room when I began my diatribe about the benefits of soil-less gardening (“imagine gardening waist-high with no weeds, no deer and no mess!”) in my first talk there. Oops. I was better prepared the second time and tried to preempt the offense by reassuring the group that I am not anti-soil, but rather I truly believe that our food-producing future requires that we embrace the right production system for the circumstance. I’ve said before in this blog that aquaponics is not about displacing fertile farmland with greenhouses but rather about growing in places that aren’t fertile, or by people who are looking for an alternative, or addition to traditional soil-based gardening. And aquaponics should always be used with recirculating fish production systems everywhere – there is no good alternative for processing fish waste.  I really believe this and the class seemed convinced, but then again they weren’t part of a two week certification intensive so it was an easier crowd to convince.

Aquaponic Strawberries

May 3, 2010

original AeroGarden control panel

When I was in charge of plant R&D at AeroGrow International we used to say that our holy grail was being able to offer a strawberry kit for customers of the AeroGarden.  We were so confident that we would be able to achieve this goal that we actually printed “Strawberry” as a setting option on the control panels of the initial gardens (to the right of the green Select button in the image).  Strawberries grew well in the AeroGarden, so it was just a matter of figuring out how to source the seeds and/ or ship live plants.  Companies do that every day, right?  That was the naiveté that launched our odyssey into trying to deliver strawberries to our customers in a way that was reasonably priced, reliably delivered, and disease and insect free.

We started by trying to find a strawberry plant seed variety.  We were already set up to manufacture seed kits, so this would be by far the easiest solution.  Problem was that these seeds were unreliable germinators, and those that did germinate did so very slowly and then the plants required 4 – 5 more months of growth before a strawberry was produced.  The strawberries that were produced were always of the small, tart, alpine varieties.  Not an option.

Shipping live plants from normal nursery sources was also not an option as we were growing in a soilless environment in baskets of a specific and unusually small size.  We needed a source that would start the plants for us without soil.  We eventually contracted with a couple professors at the University of Maryland, one of whom is a worldwide specialist in strawberries and raspberries.  Their mandate was to clone strawberries from tissue culture and ship them directly to our customers once they had roots and a few true leaves.  All seemed to be working out well until we started getting calls from our customers about mysteriously dying plants, followed by insect infestations.  After a month of analysis we figured out that although the plants appeared clean when they were shipped, the Maryland site was actually sending out plants with the beginnings of a hydroponic disease called pythium as well as with spider mite eggs.  After a couple more months of trying to solve the problems (not to mention managing customers and management within AeroGrow) we declared the problem unsolvable without a completely sterile greenhouse environment.  Back to the drawing board.

Our next attempt was to create our own sterile hydroponic greenhouse within our manufacturing facility at AeroGrow to grow strawberries, then pluck off the runners (AKA “daughter plants”) and get them to root in our grow pods.  We had quite a setup, and were on the verge of success after a couple months of

strawberry runners

Strawberry mother and daughter plants

trial and error, when a new CEO took over and declared that we shouldn’t be in the live plant business.  Probably the right business decision, but a huge disappointment to me and my team none the less.  Mention “strawberries” to me and it still carries a certain emotional weight.

So why am I telling you all this?  Perhaps as therapy.  Perhaps to give background to segue into my new life as an aquaponic gardener who is now growing strawberries in her aquaponic greenhouse without concern of shipping catastrophes or corporate decisions.  Strawberries typically grow very well in soilless environments, and mine is no exception.  Once again, aquaponics seems to be providing an excellent nutrient environment as witnessed by my thriving plants. Check out the video below about my planting experience and the first few weeks of growth.  This time is going to be different…