[permaculture] Natural hydroponics, aquatic foodweb & quality food

Douglas Hinds cedecor at gmx.net
Mon Apr 8 23:13:13 EDT 2013

On 4/8/2013 8:21 PM, sals3 wrote:

> what I'm trying to say is you can set up a soil-food-web, hydroponically

No Sal, not me, not you, not Toby and not even Lawrence.  You can only 
do here on this list, for discussion sake (and even then only if you 
play Flamenco guitar).

Hydroponics as it is commonly practiced is a lifeless, industrialized 
form of ag production and the results aren't fit to be eaten.  Is anyone 
actually using compost tea as a growing medium?

And if so, what do they grow, Aquatic Plants? (Water Chestnuts, Edible 
Seaweed -algae, & / or Wild Rice, maybe along with carp or catfish), a 
very limited environment, for cultivating the kind of food I eat.

My idea of agriculture is more like what you, Sal Schettino grow, except 
that most of your trees are grafted and you are probably in much worse 
shape than I am.

(My 94 year old mother is in the S.F. Bay Area and if you have any 
seedling fruit on hand, let me know - she can use it).


> ----- Original Message -----

> From: "sals3" <sals3 at cox.net>
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Cc: "Toby Hemenway" <toby at patternliteracy.com>
> Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 4:56 PM
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] Natural hydroponics, aquatic foodweb & quality
> food
>>> Been busy since yesterday and hadn't seen this thread (with three
>>> separate subject headers) until now.  This is how it started (I wrote):
>>>> Wikipedia defines hydroponics as follows:
>>>>       *Hydroponics*  is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of
>>>> growing
>>>>       plants<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant>  using mineral nutrient
>>>>       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrient>  solutions, in water,
>>>> without
>>>>       soil<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil>. Terrestrial plants may be
>>>>       grown with their roots<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root>  in the
>>>>       mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium,
>>>> Which the way I understand hydroponics:  There's no soil, no
>>>> soil-food-web, no soil biology - it's not even agriculture (much less
>>>> permaculture), which helps explain why I become distempered if I eat
>>>> even a little (something which I would not knowingly do).
>>> Lawrence took exception (he said it wasn't true) and cited you, and
>>> wanted me to look for your earlier posts on this subject, (which i did
>>> not intend to do), but then he reposted them, so I read them and must
>>> admit that water (or swamp, or compost tea) can be a (very) biologically
>>> active medium.
>>> In practice (however), in most cases it isn't, because most of those
>>> that implement hydroponic systems aren't thing in biological terms. Be
>>> that as it may, it CAN be built into the equation, if and when:
>>> Whoever doing it wants create an artificial ag production system and use
>>> it for growing food because THAT (dear friends) is what all this is
>>> about (sez me)!
>>> O lives in the Everglades or Okefenoee Swamp (on a house boat or an
>>> island)
>>> And are willing to forget about little things like Soil Tilth and all
>>> that it stands for.
>>> So it's kind of an academic issue, IMO.
>>>   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AlligatorFL2007.JPG
>>>   <cid:part5.09060908.02080201 at gmx.net>
>>> An alligator lounges on a log in the Okefenokee Swamp.
>>> Earlier Today April 07, 2013 at 01:52 PM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
>>>> ... I have mixed feelings about hydroponics, like aquaponics and many
>>>> other tech-heavy forms of food production (which is most of modern ag:
>>>> How much of your food uses a tractor?)
>>> Not a heck of a lot.  This is what I ate today:
>>> Guamuchiles Pithecellobium dulce
>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pithecellobium_dulce>
>>> Mangoes <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangifera_indica> (but not the
>>> ones sent to the USA, which are all grafted varieties)
>>> Mamey Sopote <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pouteria_sapota>
>>> None of these are grafted.
>>>> Hydroponics makes sense to me in limited cases, such as where soils are
>>>> toxic and organic matter, access to land, and the other pieces of
>>>> "natural" agriculture are limited, and where tech resources are easy to
>>>> get. Cities, in other words.
>>> I may live in a city at present (because politics and ag policy is what
>>> I am doing) but my food (what keeps me alive) is brought in from outside
>>> (but nearby).
>>>> Hydroponics and such can't be considered regenerative, so I can see why
>>>> anyone slightly purist would loathe them.
>>> Don't loathe, I just don't eat them.
>>>> I would like to see us all growing food in healthy soil,
>>> <snip>
>>>> In (narrow) terms of nutrition, soil is a delivery medium to get
>>>> minerals into plants.
>>> IMO, soil is the result of a long term evolutionary process and an
>>> environment in which terrestrial organisms have evolved and adapted.
>>> Sure, there are other ways to go, but I myself have a long evolutionary
>>> history and I accept it. I'm not adapted to swamps or cities, flying in
>>> the sky or life in the deep blue sea.
>>> I want to remain close to my source and artifical life support systems
>>> are of little interest to me, personally.  But to each, his (or her) own.
>>> BTW, Coahuayana, Michoacan was a swamp before drainage canals were dug
>>> and now it produces prodigious amounts of excellent tropical fruit .
>>> So Lawrence, I said what I meant and I meant what I said.
>>> I am a soil based critter myself and that's where MY food comes from.
>>> Good luck with your water cress.
>>> Douglas

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