I’m a Lazy Gardener

I love Aquaponics because I’m a lazy gardener.

What can be easier than an automatically watered and fertilized garden.  Especially where the plants grow at a comfortable level to reach out and pick.  Weeds are generally not a problem in Aquaponics since any wind blown seeds are easy to pull out and the grasses can’t grow up through the ground by their runners into your beds (this is what happens in my dirt garden beds.)

Now I don’t mind a bit of extra work when I initially set up a garden bed but I hate to have to re-do all that work every year so the Aquaponics is much easier.

Some people might ask about combating pests.  Well my Aquaponics system is outside and for the past two years I’ve hardly paid any attention to the pests.  I think perhaps 18 months ago I might have sprayed some Thuriside (it’s a BT product that controls caterpillars biologically and is safe for Aquaponics when used according to the label) on some basil seedlings that were being eaten up by tiny caterpillars.  I’ve noticed a few pests and caterpillars since then but I decided to just leave them be and see what happened.

So what has happened in the past year and a half of ignoring the pests?  My pepper plants, yardlong beans, and Okra still produce even when the ants are farming aphids on them.  I just have to be careful not to get bit by the ants when I touch those plants.  I’ve had some caterpillars on the okra and jicama.  I simply squished a few that were rolled in the jicama leaves but that was like 2 out of 100 and the plants survived fine.  Some that got big on the okra were plucked off and fed to the fish but otherwise ignored, that plant did just fine too.

Probably the worst pests I get here have been the stink bugs, leaf footed bugs, and squash bugs.  There are no Aquaponics Safe sprays to use against these guys as adults that have any effect.  These bugs all suck juices from the plants so even toxic sprays rarely have much effect.  The nymphs of these bugs can be kept from maturing properly by spraying with neem but I still feel uncomfortable using oils around the aquaponics system and neem oil can also have a negative impact on bees so should not be used around flowers or when bees are active.  So, since I don’t feel comfortable with the oil around aquaponics, I’ve ignored the bugs in this group for the past two years also and they don’t seem to have gotten any worse.

I’ve even extended my lazy ways outside of the aquaponics and into the dirt gardens and I didn’t spray anything at all this past year.  The dirt cucumbers did great though caterpillars did eat into more of them near the end of the crop.  I just figured that made them good treats for the chickens with the extra protein bonus.

Instead of getting worked up about what might not be perfect in our garden, we try to make use of what we can to the fullest extent and try new things to see what works best for us.  If one variety of a particular plant doesn’t do well, we try it in another situation or try another variety until we find what does work well for us.

For example, we discovered that bananas grow great in Aquaponics, perhaps too well.  One banana plant that had a really sunny location in a 100 gallon stock tank bed managed to crack the stock tank with it’s roots.  Beware the banana, some perennials have really powerful strong root masses and might not be appropriate for all grow bed situations.

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