Small-Scale Aquaponic Food Production Book

smallscaleaquaponics

Excellent free ebook (technical paper) I found when searching around yesterday, looks like a wealth of info to tap into for those wishing to test out the benifits of Aquaponics. For those who don’t know is a symbiotic integration of two disciplines: aquaculture and hydroponics. A symbiotic relationship between plant and fish, the waste from the fish feeds the plants and the plants in turn clean the water for the fish.

The growing technique is excellent for those hoping to avoid lots of expensive chemicals, it’s also a labour-saving technique too. In times of dwindling supplies of water and arable land worldwide this production system can really help us reduce water consumption on food production and enhance our food security.

The book discusses three groups of living organisms (bacteria, plants and fish) that make up the aquaponic ecosystem. It presents management strategies and troubleshooting practices, as well as related topics, specifically highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of this method of food production. The publication discusses the main theoretical concepts of aquaponics, including the nitrogen cycle, the role of bacteria, and the concept of balancing an aquaponic unit. It considers water quality, testing and sourcing for aquaponics, as well as methods and theories of unit design, including the three main methods of aquaponic systems: media beds, nutrient film technique, and deep water culture.

LINK: http://www.fao.org/3/contents/1dea3c92-1faa-47bb-a374-0cf4d9874544/i4021e00.htm
PDF BOOK: http://www.fao.org/3/contents/362f364a-b0d1-4b3b-8aa6-a725dac6515e/i4021e.pdf
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/aquaponics_guide_pdf1.pdf

Study Says Allotment Soil Is Better Than Conventional Farm Land For Food Growing

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Soil report shows we should all grow more of our own – New research confirms that soil in allotments and back gardens is richer – and more productive – than on farms

Soil is one of the great failures of modern intensive agriculture. Healthy soils, beneath natural grasslands and – especially – woodlands, contain lots of organic matter. This organic matter holds onto nutrients and gives the soil structural stability, allowing it to resist damage by, for example, heavy rain, thus preventing erosion. There’s also plenty of life in a healthy soil, lots of burrowing earthworms, and so lots of pore space too. A healthy soil is basically a giant sponge, which fills up with water after rain, gradually releasing that water to plants in dry weather.

When land is cleared for agriculture, and especially for arable crops, all that goes out of the window. The organic matter in arable soils is lost to the atmosphere as CO2, and the soil loses its structure and strength, leading to compaction and erosion. Arable soils also lose their ability to hold onto water, nutrients and pollutants, leaking nutrients into groundwater and lakes and rivers, causing eutrophication and, if the water is for human use, the need for expensive water treatment.

Although this is all depressingly well-known, the conventional view is that all this soil degradation is the price we have to pay for the high yields of arable crops on which we all depend. But, says new research just published in the Journal of Applied Ecology [Urban cultivation in allotments maintains soil qualities adversely affected by conventional agriculture], gardening proves the conventional view to be completely wrong. The researchers looked at the properties of soils on allotments in Leicester, along with those from other urban sites, and compared them with soils beneath arable fields and pasture in the countryside around Leicester.

The arable soils showed all the usual symptoms: compacted, lifeless and low in organic matter. Allotment soils, by contrast, were more open, more fertile, and higher in organic matter, in fact they weren’t all that different from soils beneath woodland. The reason isn’t hard to find: composting of allotment waste is virtually universal among allotment holders, most also import household green waste as well, and use of manure and other kinds of commercial compost is widespread. In short, soils on allotments are healthy because allotment holders go to a lot of trouble to keep them that way.

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