Marketing Pond Plants

marc at aculink.net marc at aculink.net
Sat Sep 1 00:21:26 EDT 2001


We use modified Aquaponics for aquatic plants in 750 gallon
galvanized livestock water tanks with gold fish. Fish
convert fish food into plant food. Our operation is a COLD
WATER one. Warm water in summer and more sunlight grow
everything faster. Tanks gather heat in winter and help warm
at night.

Filter is a gravel grow bed to clean solids, ammonia and
nitrates from the water AND grows herbs, lettuce, tomatoes
and such. Like an under gravel filter on legs.

See:

http://www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/

for those details. (Good site!)

Ponds work well but messy unless under a greenhouse.
Attractive nuisance. Caution about children drowning and
throwing their bicycles and each other into them. 

Get utilities' locates prior to excavating. You are liable
for what you shovel or pick into EVEN IF IT'S IN YOUR YARD!

My first GROWING experiment was based on a small pond and it
grew HEAVILY under the summer sun. If memory serves me
correctly I was harvesting 10 gallons of aquatic plants per
week during peak sun conditions out of 800 gallon pond. 
Pond needs cleaning due to being outside and predator
problems with snakes, birds and furry things that liked fish
and each other. Three batches of Comet babies that year of
approx. 30 each out of a parent population of 4 Comets.

Pond had sufficient depth to over winter fish WITHOUT
supplemental heat. There were a few deaths, no growth and
size loss. Original parents lived for 3 to 5 years.

Pond can have a greenhouse over it which will simulate a
latitude south of yours. Put a trombe wall toward the back
and it will radiate free heat after sunset.

Grow lights a possible loser unless you can get electricity
for free or profit on the plants to pay for it. Generator is
efficient in the winter due to heating the greenhouse with
it's waste heat. (NO, don't empty the exhaust into the
greenhouse as the carbon monoxide will kill you.) Generators
can be converted to alcohol, propane, natural gas, etc.

Algae causes plants to look crummy. Have thick plant cover
to stop light from penetrating into the water.

If you want fish then you need fish that can tolerate
nutrient rich water for best plant growth.  Bait and food
fish also can be grown.

Sales is like ALL farm operations- don't mess with it unless
you HAVE A MARKET or don't quit your day job if you don't
have markets.

At markets use Rubber Maid or similar containers for the
various plants and the fish. Ice made with the same water as
you bring for the displays which is the same water you raise
them in (different water may kill your fish) cool off
containers on hot days. Plants and fish look best under the
sun but water heats faster.

Regulatory: prohibited, restricted, licensed plants and
fish. Possible waste water discharge permit.

Wholesale requests for quotations come in the fall prior to
next years need. Greenhouses, hardware stores, nurseries,
fish/aquatics shops.

High end pond contractors rarely advertise. Used by people
with bucks who go with word of mouth. Ask a landscaper for
contacts.

I own my own general water services business so have
advantage over straight growers as I do ponds and associated
water support systems also.

Some useful books that address water gardens and pond
construction without calculus: 

Gardening in the Mountain West, Barbara Hyde   chapter 19

Water Gardens, Peter Stadelmann Lots of structure and
pictures.


> Marc  --  Could you tell us/me more about your 'goldfish and non-food plant
> part of your operation?'  Thanks.  --  Tom



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