Container gardening and hydroponic have been great methods for home vegetable gardening – but a new hybrid called aquaponics, a combination of hydropoics (water-based gardening) and aquaculture (fish cultivation) is possibly the next best thing for year-round sustainable agriculture.Aquaponics uses a number of tanks, heaters, pumps, pipes and gravel beds to cultivate fish, and then the fish waste fertilizes the vegetables. The quantity of produce grown far outnumbers the amount cultivated in container gardening – and with 80 to 90 percent less water. Some of the fish such as tilapia can be used like a composter and will eat table scraps &mdash additionally, some growers are in turn using the fish as food!
While aquaponics has been ideal for areas riddled with continuous droughts, the phenomenon is growing in America. According to the NY Times there are about 800 to 1,200 aquaponics systems in America and perhaps another 1,000 school classrooms.
Read more about the new gardening method over at The New York Times.