Fish and vegies are close pals

WHEN you think of fish and vegetables, you don’t normally associate the two growing and flourishing together.

But that is exactly the basis of a new environmentally-sustainable backyard gardening technique known as aquaponics.

Aquaponics combines aquaculture and hydroponics to get the best use of natural resources, according to former NSW Fisheries veteran Ian Campbell, who will discuss the unique technique at an aquaponics beginners’ course on Sunday as part of the Taste Tamworth festivities.

“If you are growing fish then the by-products are your lettuce, your tomatoes, spinach – all your greens,” Mr Campbell said.

“If somebody likes having a vegetable garden they only get to use that water once, but with aquaponics you grow two crops – a crop of protein and crop of lettuce using the same water.”

An aquaponics system works by using the water from a fish tank to circulate through a grow bed where plants are developed.

Nitrifying bacteria convert fish waste into plant-available nutrients, which the plants then use as their main food supply.

The fish also benefit from the process as the water is filtered by the plants, giving them clean water to live in.

Mr Campbell said anyone interested in sustainability and eating healthy food would benefit from the seminar.

“Creating a system can be as expensive or as little as you would like,” he said.

“We try to help people design something for their lifestyle.”

The complete how to of aquaponics will be held on Sunday from 9am to 5pm at the Tamworth Community College.

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