In cold climates, with aquaponics? In cold weather, even some commercial greenhouses go into hibernation for the winter. Here are some challenges to overcome”
- How do I keep the greenhouse warm enough to grow vegetation?
- How large of a tank do I need to keep the greenhouse warm enough?
- Do I use a tank heater to heat the water and the greenhouse or do I heat the greenhouse to keep the fish tank warm enough.
- What if I am using a pond, can I have a greenhouse on floats similar to a floating dock with power to it?
- When do I start heating my aquaponics system?
Those are a lot of questions. There are multiple answers that are correct for having a greenhouse work with aquaponics. If you go onto the internet and to youtube, you can find all sorts of systems that use both or just one or the other for heating their aquaponics system.
In colder weather, you need to be innovative to get your greenhouse to work with aquaponics.
One innovative way of keeping the greenhouse and the fish tanks warm is the use of an animal barn. People who keep horses, goats, cows and other animals in a barn during the colder months have a great heating system.
Living quarters above a barn in colder climates was a great way to keep the house warm, as well as extra insulation for the animal body heat keeping the warmth in the barn area.
This leads to the following solution:
- The fish tank can be in the upper level of the barn, as long as there is more than adequate support, or, the fish tank can be constructed in an empty stall or a room that has glass to allow sunlight into the fish tank.
- The Greenhouse can be built onto the side of the barn, on the top floor where the greenhouse glass can be installed. The fish tank will then be heated from the barn animals, but kept separated. The water will be pumped up to the grow beds where the rising heat from the first floor will help with heating costs.
- Proper insulation and heat management can be easily attained by preparation, which with open beams is a fairly easy transformation in the barn.
- Automation and tracking can be set up inexpensively with a low cost computer and some help to increase the output of both your vegetable crop as well as providing a healthy environment for your fish.
- Once the proper fish to vegetation ratio is dialed in, it is just a matter of keeping the balance as you go through the cycles of growth and harvest.
Enjoy the challenges
For me, this is the exciting part of the journey of adding a new part of a sustainable living lifestyle to our plan. The choices are only limited by your mindset and your ability to research and ask for help from others that are already in the maintenance stage of their aquaponics system. A greenhouse works with an aquaponics system through following the basics and finishing each step of your plan. Changing things that do not work and replacing those things that do work.
Challenges that are overcome strengthens my desire and has always been an enjoyable part of life. I remember being told once by almost all of my customers and vendors that I could not move the refrigeration equipment around like I wanted to. “That is too heavy, you will never move it.” Another person told me: “you are going to need a forklift to move that thing!”.
My Wife Heather, our Son Jeremy (who was 14 at the time) and myself emptied out the ten foot long cooler of products. We then moved everything away from where we were moving it to, then we proceeded to slide this 600+ pound ancient style Dairy and drinks cooler right to where we had planned. We cleaned up the area and moved everything else right to where we planned our product placement, then we were done for the night.
Three hours and some basic leverage and we were done. The next day, the customers came in so they could tell us about why we would not have been able to move it, but it was completed.
Choosing to Complete Your Plan
In choosing your plan and your journey while getting your greenhouse to work with aquaponics, Mindset should always be the first item on the list. Does what you are doing make sense to you? Are you ready for the challenges for the greenhouse, fish and aquapoinics as well as getting them to work together even in cold weather?
In life, Mindset is the first thing we get to choose everyday. Positive, Powerful and Persistant are the three words that describe the person that is ready to make a difference in the world and in their own lives.
If you need some help to get there, get help from the Miracle Mindshift Month. Your mindset is a way to choose the life of your dreams.
Founder hisfarm.org and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on Purpose.com