View Full Version : Ideas - I want to convert existing raised garden bed into AP system
2nd August 2012, 11:45
Just looking for ideas on how to convert raised garden bed into AP system as sick of things dying and crop rotation.
Have added pics of what it looks like now. Has anyone done something similiar in the past? Good or bad idea?
2nd August 2012, 13:01
You could replace the soil with blue metal and create an aquaponics system... by adding a fish tank..
Or line one of the beds with a pond liner... and section off the rest as grow beds...
Or add a fish tank... and just use the existing beds as wicking beds... you'd need some sort of filter arrangement to do this though...
2nd August 2012, 13:05
Hi Paul, it would be great to be able to convert your existing raised garden beds to aquaponics if it was just a simple thing to do.
Unfortunately it might be more difficult to do properly given the low height of your garden beds. If you are proposing to go with a media based AP system with siphons returning water via gravity back to your fishtank you would need to dig a big hole in the ground to house your fish-tank or run a pump in a submerged sump to a standing fish tank.
Maintenance and access to your plumbing in your growbeds will also be difficult if everything is buried underground. What can you do if your system springs a leak underground?
I wont say it be can't be done, but it might be more effective to keep the raised garden beds as they are and maybe convert them to a wicking bed system and judging from your photos, trim a lot of the taller trees that are shading your beds.
If you can lift up your beds to waist level, you'll find it a lot easier to plant out and garden. The bugs wont attack it in summer so much and you can adjust all the plumbing under the beds with ease and sense of security and well being. A lot of people forget that Aquaponics is for the long haul. Use quality fittings. Don't cut corners and you'll run your system trouble free for years.
2nd August 2012, 13:41
... sick of things dying ...
Any idea why your "things" are dying? (Under/over-watering, shade, disease ...?)
AP is not an automatic solution.
The easiest way of getting (at least) some improvement is conversion to wicking beds.
4th August 2012, 00:58
I think Gratilla is asking the key question: Why are your plants dying? Might just be the time of day and/or season, but it looks like you have limited light available?
Raised beds are an excellent way to raise veggies - I have yet to out-produce my previous raised beds and current wicking containers with AP. Don't get me wrong - AP is fun and interesting but if it were me, I'd keep the raised beds (or better convert to wicking as Gratilla suggested) and build the AP system separate, diverting occasional water to the WB's creating an "integrated" system.
4th August 2012, 02:28
For what it's worth (I'm a neophyte gardener myself), I share others' concerns concerning difficulty. I also - again from the beginner's point of view - wonder about what's killing your plants. I suggest building something like a greenhouse over and around them - something not so costly like sun shade screen, clear (corrugated) plastic or PVC) with a PVC, bamboo, or cedar frame. If your industrial pollution is as bad as ours (and the simple fact of living near a street means staggering (for plants, anyway) doses of things like arsenic), the insulation will make a difference. Next, soil tests aren't very expensive - one of our colleges will do them for practice, and agricultural classes the like - and test kits aren't, either. Find out what's in your soil (when I did, I damned near moved away). Try - as I did - buying some good bagged soil from a greenhouse or nursery, and experimenting. I have plant varieties that died again and again in local soil - even that composted and fertilized otherwise - yet luxuriated in fresh loam soil. Lastly, study - get a magazine like our "Mother Earth News," and learn about plants.
And good (i.e., better than mine) luck (gotta go read my latest copy of "Mother"....")
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