Sorry no pictures on this one, Growing Power doesn’t allow it.
First let me say that I think Growing Power is a wonderful organization and I love what they are doing in general. However, I don’t think people new to aquaponics should attempt their Aquaponics System design methods of growing fish.
It isn’t that their methods don’t work, because they are obviously working for Growing Power. However, when one without much experience with Aquaponics tries to mimic their methods and doesn’t get it exactly right, the results tend to be tragic.
Now I did not take one of their Aquaponics Workshops so I don’t know exactly what they teach at one of those sessions.
So since I did not take the class/workshop here is an edit/disclaimer to try and appease those who feel I’m being “Hateful”.
Perhaps their methods are fine if you take the class/workshop to learn the methods, since I have not taken the class/workshop I don’t know how those teachings differ from the publicity statements/advertizing about how those methods work. What I actually find troubling is what their publicity/advertizing says which has, in at least a few occasions, prompted people to build system with far too little filtration and then stock it with way too many fish and then experience huge fish kills due to poor water quality.
All I know is what their tour says and what much of their publicity videos say. Which is 1 fish per gallon and harvest once per year while I look at a tank with brown water (can’t see the fish) with a constant flow through two very shallow troughs of gravel with nursery containers sitting on top of the gravel in the top trough and water cress growing in gravel in the bottom trough. For the most part it looks like the fish tanks are the same footprint as the two troughs above them. The troughs are only about 3 inches deep and the fish tanks look to be around 3 feet deep. There is air pumping into the fish tanks and I expect fish tank water probably gets used to water much of the soil plants so there will be some water change happening as water is topped up to replace the loss.
I think some modified versions of their system could be very good but as far as I’m concerned, there is no where near enough filtration for me to be comfortable with such an aquaponics system design.
Part of the problem is in their heavily stocked Aquaponics system designs they are growing tilapia which can handle terrible water conditions but such water quality is far more likely to kill many other species of fish. I can’t tell for sure but I think the perch were in more lightly stocked systems and I could see into the depths in the Perch tanks but they didn’t really make that distinction clear to the tour.
I have since seen another Aquaponics System that was roughly based on the Growing Power methods of Aquaponic System Design but only roughly. The fish tanks were huge and the filtration totally not enough and that facility did have a pretty major fish kill.
I do wish Growing Power wouldn’t make such a strong voice telling people they can grow 1 fish per gallon with so little filtration without telling them that they need to slowly work up to such a level while learning to monitor water quality and build a strong bio filter. I’m fairly certain that growing power doesn’t stock that many fish into a brand new system that hasn’t been cycled up at all.
Now what Growing Power is good at, worms! They have a huge worm operation going as well as composting. I’m so jealous of their worms and the extent of their composting operations. I think we will be trying to expand our worm operations now after seeing growing power.
They also have goats, ducks, turkeys, and chickens.
Finally, Growing Power grows shoots to sell as salad greens. They have sunflower shoots, pea shoots, and one other variety that I forget. Shoots are bigger than sprouts and are cut above the soil they are seeded in. They seed their shoots in a mix of coir and worm castings and said they are about a one week grow out. Growing times for the shoots I’ve looked up usually show a 10-15 day growing period. Anyway, I expect we will be trying to grow some shoots for ourselves soon.