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Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together Paperback – October 11, 2011
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This isn't just another book for dummies; this is a comprehensive handbook on how to grow real food...so meticulously documented, that failure is not an option. --Jeff Edwards – President, Progressive Gardening Trade Association (PGTA)
I have always wanted to put my money where my mouth is and figure out how to do sustainable aquaculture in the context of my home garden. Finally I’ve got the book to help me do it. --Paul Greenberg - Best Selling Author, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food
This is a delightful book to read! ... I’ve been involved with hydroponics and aquaculture for 30 years and still learned from reading this very thorough how-to book. --Henry A. Robitaille, PhD - Former General Manager, The Land Exhibit, Epcot Center
Learning how to garden through the creation of a completely balanced ecosystem is now clearly understandable, even to inexperienced gardeners. -- Michael C. Metallo, President and CEO, National Gardening Association
Sylvia Bernstein has provided the "aquapons of the world" with a clear, impassioned, and elegant "Bible" to spread the good news about aquaponics. --James J. Godsil, co-founder Sweet Water Organics Sweet Water Foundation
Aquaponic Gardening is an excellent primer for anyone considering home-scale aquaculture. Whatever your location or methods, the information should prove invaluable. Fish are within reach! --Peter Bane, Publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine
Now the thousands of people who are discovering aquaponics every day have a resource for moving from the dream to the step-by-step reality of raising fish and food in their homes, yards, and even businesses. --John Thompson Sr. VP Sales and Marketing (and Basement and Backyard Aquaponist) AeroGrow International, Inc.
This book is a vital resource for urban homesteaders. --Sundari Kraft, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading"
The science is so well explained, it is easily understood. I am ready to start. I love this book! --Jeff Lowenfels, Author, "Teaming With Microbes"
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Turns out, if you're really into aquaponics the author is more than happy to recommend over-priced courses in aquaponics. These courses I can only assume include what the book should have been. Oddly enough, the author herself sells some of these courses on her website. Making this whole book all that much more disappointing.
I would say the book could use a re-write but I believe the author's purpose was to be intentionally cutesy and barely informative. So my final conclusion of this book puts it in-between a weak diy instructional manual and an infomercial. Pathetic.
In a few cases, it would be nice to have a little more depth. For example, some fluorescent lights come in different 'color temperatures,' but the author doesn't get into blue vs. red spectrum until the section on HID lights, and then only briefly. My 'grow light' seems to have a different spectrum (and works better) than my 'daylight spectrum' T8 fixture, but I wouldn't have expected that from the book. Also, many different strains of tilapia are available with different traits, but the book doesn't go further than differentiating 'tilapia' from 'koi,' 'pacu,' etc. Most of the missing information is readily available on the web, so this shortcoming isn't a huge drawback. I should note here, however, that since I wanted to build a small-scale edible fish system, the hardest thing for me was locating a source that would sell me just five tilapia and didn't charge $80-100 for shipping. I finally found a local tropical fish (pet) store that was willing to order them specially.
The author's personal experiences with aquaponics are helpful and make the book very readable. The "10 dumbest mistakes I've made in aquaponics" is a good list of things that novices like me should watch out for, and the "rules of thumb" at the end of every chapter are a great reference when designing your own system. I can't count the number of times I went back and looked at those guidelines, especially when cycling the system. In sum, this book is an excellent resource for anyone just getting started in aquaponics.
Previously, I've had interest in building hydroponic systems. However, the hassle of concocting the proper nutrient solution, the procurement of the multiple raw chemicals needed to do so (specially in a country in economic and industrial turmoil like mine), and the disposing of the old, mineral laden water kept me off.
Now comes this concept of using fish to provide the plants' nutrients... pure genius! not to mention the fact that you add another crop to your system, the fish themselves. Hardly a new concept, actually, the Aztecs (and probably other indigenous peoples of the Americas) had "chinampas", and rice growers in Asia have been sort of doing this for a long time, but the modern way reflects a deeper knowledge of what makes the whole cycle work.
Mrs. Bernstein's writing paints a clear picture on the whys and hows of the whole system, plus her design, after scouring the web for testimonials and experiences to corroborate, seems to be the way to go in order to successfully start in aquaponics
This book gives a fantastic explanation of what you'll need to set up your own aquaponics system, including the benefits and drawbacks of various materials, size ratios, etc. The information is comprehensive and extremely useful - everything from what size tanks one should use to the pros and cons of using lava rocks, gravel, etc. as a medium, to what you can grow to feed the fish.
There weren't any major drawbacks to the book, but it seemed like the first third of it was a discussion of the environmental and food sustainability issues facing the world. While this is related to aquaponics, this section was old and common sense information that should have taken a couple paragraphs, not 33% of the book. Regardless, the other 67% was invaluable.
about concepts without sounding dull or uninspired.
At some point in life I will pursue aquaponics as a hobby and will be referring to this book consistently. I highly recommend this book as a starter guide to aquaponics as well as a point of reference.