Four months after filling the pond with water, we have a thriving vegetable and soon, fish producing Aquaponic System in the Towers Earthship at Eathship Biotecture, Taos, NM. For those of you who initially thought that the pond looked like a “kiddy pool” and not really well integrated, take another look. It is beautiful, peaceful and serene, and producing food.
It is a joy to be working with this Aquaponic Prototype every day, as it not only is producing food, but is also aesthetically very pleasing, creating a beautiful serene atmosphere in the Towers greenhouse, making my work there a meditative experience every morning. I feel very blessed and wish I could spend all day there!
The difference between this Aquaponic System and others I have seen, mostly online, is that this one is a garden, a water feature, an Ecosystem, as well as a functioning Aquaponic System. It possibly may not be producing as much food as other “normal” on the grid Aquaponic Systems (it has the potential to), but does a whole lot more. It is off the grid, has a beautiful waterfall and fountain that fills the greenhouse with the serene sound of water, providing a perfect space for meditation and reflection. It is a system that is good for the body AND the soul!
Another difference is that our Aquaponic Prototype is a whole Ecosystem. We have turtles, salamanders/newts, trout, catfish and gold fish in the pond and will be adding blue gill soon. Currently it is producing heirloom “German Queen” tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemongrass, nasturtiums, perpetual spinach, parsley, tons and tons of watercress, kale, spring onions, wild mint, basil and some cayenne peppers. We enjoyed our first very large and delicious, fresher that fresh salad from this system last Friday. It was eaten an hour after harvesting! It does not get better than that, except maybe if you had some grilled blue gill along side the salad! Soon….
Mr Trout is about 12 inches big now, and becomes very lively every morning at feeding time. He dives upon the fish food with such gusto, making big splashes! I have been trying to get a good photo of him, but he is so fast and makes such big splashes, that all one sees is water splashes in the image! I have made it quite clear to everybody around here, that Mr Trout will never find himself on a dinner plate. He is a survivor and anybody who tries to catch him, can consider themselves done for. The issue of “to eat or not to eat”, in this case is not even a question. No one, not even our wonderful boss, Michael Reynolds can touch Mr Trout!
And then there is King Tut, the painted turtle, who owns the pond. He is sunning himself on the rock island every morning when I come in to feed them, and just lazily lifts an eye lid and then falls asleep again. He and Mr Trout rule the pond! The newts are salamanders that have not migrated onto land. They have legs with webbed feet, a tail with a small fin along its length, and fuzzy “fingery” gills coming out the sides of their heads. Very funny looking things.
I haven’t seen the catfish since we put them in the pond, as they stay at the bottom. With them there is not the issue of “to eat, or not to eat.” I guess we will only see how large they have grown, when someone (not me,) catches one for dinner.
The watercress seems to be growing inches everyday, and is very crispy, spicy and nutritious. The parsley leaves are huge, dark green and pungent, great in my morning green drink. And so is the perpetual spinach. It makes a great wrap for raw foodies, and tastes better and has a better texture than raw collard greens.
I could go no and on, but today I just wanted to point out, that the Towers Earthship Aquaponic System is working, producing food, as well as being a beautiful aesthetic serene Ecosystem, a habitat for other cool creatures to share our space. It has potential for producing much more food in the future. In the Spring we will be adding quite a few blue gill and some more trout to the pond, and some vertical grow beds in the 2 story greenhouse space above the pond. We will also be adding the systems own power system, so that it will be running completely independently from the power system of the Towers Earthship.
Check in again for more up-dates.