iAVS or Sand Ponics....What is it?
Find out about iAVS or Sand Ponics.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of this type of gardening/farming?
I have been experimenting with iAVS now for 2 years.
We have systems operating very successfully using iAVS or Sand Ponics or Sand Gardening depending on whatever name you want to give it. We have had great success, and I am now convinced that we ought to start adopting this technology where appropriate.
The idea of iAVS was first published by a Dr Mark McMurtry some 35 to 40 years ago, so it is not a new idea and certainly not my invention.
Dr Mark McMurtry has a lot of published data on the iAVS system.
In recent times, Mr Gary Donaldson has also published a lot of Dr Mark McMurtry's material and has been promoting iAVS widely.
I first came across Dr Mark McMurtry's papers about 10 years ago when given to me by a friend in the USA, a Mr Bevan Suits. At that time, I thought it was fascinating and had possibilities, but I did not do anything about it until recently.
The single thing that drove me to experiment with my iAVS was the claim or the idea that iAVS systems did not need any nutrient supplementation. It is an ongoing problem with regular Aquaponics, the need for supplementation. The fish waste does not provide all the nutrients necessary in an average aquaponics system. So we have seen develop over the years businesses that do nothing else but diagnose and provide targeted supplementation for aquaponic systems, and that's OK because it's necessary.
I have always adopted an approach to try and make it as simple as possible because food production is so important that we need to do everything we can to make it accessible to as many people as possible. From home systems to schools and ultimately, of course into farms providing clean organically pure food for all people. The idea that a system could provide all necessary plant nutrient was very appealing to me, and I began experimenting.
22 months ago, I built my first iAVS system by converting an existing 1200-hole regular Aquaponics system.
There are additional benefits that are major in my belief, and that is the pumping regime. We only need to pump every 90 minutes or so for about 12 minutes, which represents a massive saving in electricity costs. It really makes aquaponics or this version of it, a real possibility to be run on solar panels and a small battery bank. This has massive benefits for underdeveloped places of the world, where electricity supply is often very unreliable and as well as that, costly. So with two or three solar panels and an appropriate battery bank, we can run a system very successfully.
There are some drawbacks regarding the ammonia built up in the fish tank between pump downs, but we have a simple way to overcome this difficulty.
At this coming Aquaponics Master Class, which will start on the 1st March 2021, we will feature our Sand Bed Systems. You can come and see it for yourself, and we will answer all the questions and demonstrate to you the benefits of Sand Ponics.