Aquaponics in Cold Climates? How Does That Work?
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis
When Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are placed inside a climatically adapted greenhouse or other structure especially with supplemental lighting, a year round garden/farm is entirely possible and will eventually/quickly pay for itself in cold climates.
For a successful Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems installation to be installed in cold climates start by insulating the entire north wall and most of the north roof, insulating most of the east and west walls and insulating the first four feet of the south-facing wall to reduce the heating cost dramatically. Those surfaces do not have to be transparent and can be constructed with several inches of insulation. Supplemental heating can be as simple as several small space heaters placed near the floor. More elaborate gas heaters can also be used and will prevent any area of the structure from dipping below 40°or possibly freezing. We can assist you in designing your cold climate installation or any climate installation.
The water in the fish tanks and the gravel in the Grow Trays are huge ‘heat sinks’ and they can be used effectively to bring the heat up in the structure to a minimum operating temperature by simply cycling the system at the coldest time of the night. This is added protection for the system. It does require either electrical power for the heaters or some type of heat to keep the fish tanks warm.
The fish are going to be delighted at all times because they have heated water in their insulated fish tanks. Each Fish Tank is insulated and heated to a balmy 78° to 80° F no matter what the outside or inside temperature happens to be at any moment.
Cooler temperatures inside the structure favor many kinds of greens so a temperature near human comfort level in ideal for many plants. Tomatoes will not set fruit if the temperature goes below 60° for even a few minutes each day. Some lettuces will not grow at all when temperatures go above 95° at any time.
The aim is to have the interior of the structure remain within the range required by the plants being grown. If you are growing only greens, you can allow the temperature to go as low as the high 40’s° at night. If you are growing tomatoes you will need to insure the temperature never goes below 60° at any time. With these very low temperature requirements, the cost of supplemental heating is dramatically lower than in ‘hot’ houses which keep the temperature in the high 70’s.
Supplemental lighting is also highly recommended. Extending the day length four hours will increase the yield from 20 to 30% and speed up harvest times.
The Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems can be successfully operated in any climate. The plants do require being inside a climatically adapted structure and that is determined by the greenhouse manufacturer or the consulting company in charge of the site.
Really cold climates require much more attention to the details of keeping the interior warm enough for the plants, but the rewards to the operator are the best food available anywhere in the world and grown right there on location in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.
Contact PFAS LLC today to see how you can now have that year round food supply at your doorstep. LEARN FROM US: CLICK HERE.
LEARN FROM US: CLICK HERE.