How we make our Soils for use in Aquaponics – Sahib Aquaponics Urban Research Farm
Following my initial article on Nov 19, 2012 and the follow up on Dec 10, 2012 re using soil in Aquaponics, I have received numerous requests for sharing how we make our own soil. We cover this in some detail in our workshops and provide numerous possibilities. In this article, I am going to share with you two of Sahib’s soil mixes, one for seed starting and one for the base potting soil. I have used these mixes for some years now and find that they vastly increase the range of what we can grow in our organic sustainable hybrid Aquaponics systems.
This growing method gives me the possibility of adding side dressing of organic based natural fertilizers (such as Bat Guano and Manganese Sulfate – Epsom salts), from the top for those plants requiring such. This enables me to control the nutrient requirements of the numerous vegetables on an individual basis. I hope that what I am doing and my style of Hybrid Urban Aquaponics will help you grow your own food locally, naturally and without the need of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers
Why make our own soil?
I find that most commercial potting soils contain non-organic synthetic chemical fertilizers and other ingredients that I do not want to use in my Aquaponics systems. Those that are certified organic (ORMI Listed – The Organic Materials Review Institute), usually tend to be pretty expensive. The main components of the potting soils tend to be Coir, Peat Moss, Perlite, Vermiculite and Compost. By purchasing the individual components separately I can make my own soil mix(s), that are Organic and suitable for my Aquaponics systems – soil that will not kill my fish!
Note: All mixes will be for a 5-gallon container – adjust accordingly to your needs. See below for photos of various products.
Sahib’s Seedling Soil Mix:
3.5 gallons Coir
1 gallons coarse Vermiculite
0.5 gallons Worm Castings (Vermicast)
Mix well and use in seedling containers to germinate your seeds. Once you have transplanted the seedlings, empty the remaining used seedling mix into your Worm Compost Bin or Sahib’s Base Soil Mix.
Sahib’s Base Soil Mix:
2 gallons Coir
1 gallon Peat Humus
0.5-gallon coarse Perlite
0.5 gallon aged pine fines
1 gallons Worm Castings (Vermicast)
Soil Amendments & Fertilizers added to this base mix (all organic and where possible, fish based):
1/3 cups – Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Kelp Meal, Azomite, Dolomite, Epsom Salts, Prosperous, Rock Phosphate, Organic All Purpose Fertilizer such as Bio-Organic and Espoma Garden Tone.
Mix well and use in your choice of containers (article to follow). Top dress as required for the specific plants such as Espoma Tomato Tone for tomatoes. At the end of the growing cycle, I will clean the base mix by removing all dead roots (put them in Compost Bins), and then add this to a new mix (about 50 to 60% usually remains). This way, we are building our soil and retaining numerous micronutrients for better growth and increased fruit yields.
Please note that following photos are for illustration purposes only. I do not endorse or am I paid by any company for listing such. You should use organic products available in your area.
So here you have two of Sahib’s soil mixes. I do add some other soil amendments and feeding to maximize plant health and fruit growth – we teach such in our Aquaponics training Workshops. Hopefully, you can attend one of them. You are welcome to share your ideas, designs, experience and comments.
Aquaponics Hybrid Urban Growing Systems by Sahib Aquaponics: “Nano” System
The idea of building the “Sahib Nano Hybrid Aquaponics System” came to me when my son indicated that he wanted to have fresh herbs and lettuce but did not have the space to grow it in his University student room. He said that often he would end up having to throw out the Basil, Parsley or other herbs and green leafy vegetables as he could not use them before they went bad. He loved the aroma and taste of what was growing in our research farm. Well, here is one version of Sahib’s Nano Hybrid Aquaponics System. Now he can grow his own food locally and naturally without the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and he can eliminate waste by only using what he needs for the meal he is cooking.
We will share numerous designs and variations in due course. You are welcome to share your ideas and designs by submitting them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share them on photo gallery and write about them on our Blog. The best two designs in our opinion will be awarded a $100.00 gift certificate each towards cost of any of our future Aquaponics Workshops.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Sahib will share with you the endless possibilities of how to grow your own food locally and naturally without the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers by using these Aquaponics hybrid urban growing systems. These Aquaponics hybrid urban growing systems can be scaled to size and can be replicated. They can be modified to be operated off grid as well as expanded as the need arises. Such systems can be used to have fresh food at home, work or anywhere they are set up. They are excellent tools to use as teaching aids so that we can empower the future generation with the knowledge to grow their own food locally by natural means. Sahib’s Aquaponics hybrid urban growing systems can be the basis of feeding the family, the community as well as provide income to the urban farmer. Sahib will also share how such systems can be used in urban retail economy, both by food establishments as well as food/produce retail outlets to enable the consumer to purchase food that has been grown locally and by natural means. Food that is “live” (a new twist on the label “Fresh”), and the type recommended by most medical and health professionals as what we should be eating.
2012 Aquaponics training workshops by Aquaponics Urban Gurus
Following the successful inaugural Aquaponics training workshops by Aquaponics Urban Gurus, Sahib Aquaponics will be holding numerous Aquaponics Workshops in 2012. These Aquaponics Workshops by Aquaponics Urban Gurus are an excellent place to learn Aquaponics and be empowered to build Aquaponics systems to grow organic food for their family without using harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers, discover the potential to create another income source as well share such knowledge with many more to help provide sustainable solutions to the world hunger epidemic.
Sahib believes that such training should be affordable so as to enable all sectors of the society to educate and empower themselves in this wonderful way of growing organic food. He also believes in smaller class sizes (not to exceed 16 participants), so that the Workshop training can be personalized as much as possible. By being a participant in such Aquaponics workshops, you will really learn and be empowered to grow your own food locally and naturally.
Here is a recent e-mail from one of the Workshop participants…
I really enjoyed your 2 day Aquaponics class. It was very informative and practical. You made what seemed like complicated gardening into a fun learning experience. Your explanations made it easy to comprehend the principles behind Aquaponics. Seeing your Aquaponics garden and your simple systems setup demonstration, removed all doubts. Even though I am a beginner, I am confident that I can do this now. It opened up a whole new world of providing healthy “organic” food for myself and others. An excellent job done! I will recommend you classes to everyone.
Sahib is using the profits from Aquaponics training workshops by Aquaponics Urban Gurus to fund the development of Aquaponics for the poor hungry world villages. He has set up a separate group for this called “Feed Hunger Now” (see link below). Will you help join Sahib…can we work together in this venture? What ideas do you have to help towards this goal?