I was in for a surprise this week when my husband suddenly expressed an interest in aquaponics. The vegetable garden has always been my sole domain, and though he's been happy to assist now and then, he has always considered it my little realm. But he saw a documentary about growing vegetables aquaponically, and now he's intrigued. Today we went to a store specializing in aquaponic systems, and we were fascinated by the slowly revolving towers of lettuce on display, the buckets of tomatoes, the six-foot-tall rosemary bush. But all the white plastic columns and tubing looked a bit clinical, like an operating room, and the costs were sky high. My handy hubby studied the systems a while, and then we went to the Home Depot and he figured out he could build his own system for under $100. We're going to start with a small unit, just some tomatoes and lettuce, to see how the experiment goes. We can expand later as we work out the quirks.
The idea appeals to me on a few levels. No weeding. No bending and crawling on hands and knees. No mud. Fewer bugs. The water units can tend themselves for a little while if we go out of town. Intensive vertical gardening allows for more food produced per square foot. And fewer squirrels, if we do at least some of this indoors. But best of all, it's a project my husband and I can do together.