Aquaponic gardening addiction

(Image courtesy of Rick Opersteny)

Aquaponic gardening addiction really starts when your system is cycled and the nitrifying bacteria are converting the fish waste into plant food. But aquaponic gardeners are often more than merely people who set up aquaponic systems. Many exude intensity and an evangelistic spirit about their gardens. They sense that they are on the verge of something new, big and world-changing – and truly addictive.

So are you wondering how you will know when you have truly become an aquaponic gardener? Here is a checklist that may help you pinpoint the moment when you cross the lines from hobby to passion to fanatic. It was inspired by a recent post on the Gardening Jones Blog, and has been seriously augmented by members of the Aquaponic Gardening Community.

You know you are addicted to aquaponic gardening when

Your fish recognize you.

You buy a special home for the BSF maggots you are growing to feed your fish.

You are known throughout the neighborhood as the house that grows the fish.

You know the temperature of your fish tank every single day.

You talk about bacteria aging like others talk about fine wines.

You banish your car to the driveway so you can have more room to grow in the garage.

You stress-out over a tenth of a point move in pH or ammonia.

You buy a bigger truck so that you can haul more gravel.

Your non-gardening spouse becomes conversant in aquaponic terms.

You look forward to a Saturday afternoon spent at the dump looking for old bathtubs and barrels.

You plan vacation trips around visits to other aquaponic gardeners.

You travel 150 miles to pick up 20 tilapia.

On your monthly budget, plants and fish are more important than groceries.

You could swear your fish are on the verge of speaking to you.

The terms “bacteria”, “poop” and “waste” take on entirely new meanings.

You would rather go shopping at an aquarium store than just about any other store.

You take every single person who enters your house on a ‘garden tour.’

You look at cattle trough and think “grow bed.”

You ask for tools for Christmas, Mother’s/Father’s day, your birthday and any other occasion you can think of.

Invasive pond life like algae and duckweed are now treasured fish food.

You know how many bags of Hydroton your car will hold.

Your preferred reading matter is forum threads.

And last but not least:

You know that the four seasons are:
Planning your System
Cycling your System
Maturing your System
Expanding your System

When I posted this on the Aquaponic Gardening Community I got some wonderful additions to the list!

– The local hardware stores think you are a plumber because of all of the PVC pipe and other supplies you constantly buy. – Perry Adkisson, Bakersfield, California

– Your spouse suggests putting a bed in the greenhouse. But you don’t realize they are talking about a bed for you to sleep in. – Wayne, Bladenboro, NC

– Several people say you should convert your 10,000-gallon swimming pool to a fish tank and you actually consider it. – Raychel A Watkins, Waianae, Hawaii

– You find yourself looking around your property and thinking, I could squeeze a small system onto the patio. I wouldn’t have anywhere for company to sit, but that’s okay… -Andrea, Yucaipa, California

-You get up in the middle of the night and go outside in your PJs with a flashlight … just to make sure everything is OK. – David Hart, Saint Cloud, Florida

– You keep a funnel and empty bottles handy to save ‘hummonia’ for system cycling. – TCLynx, Tangerine, Florida

– You start working on your systems at sunrise, skip meals, and at sunset wonder where the day went. – Chris Smith, Kailua Kona, Hawaii

– When walking through the city you imagine the trajectory of the sun to find THE perfect sunny side of any building. – Rainey Sastrowidjojo, Paramaribo, Suriname

– At the sight of any plastic container you wonder, ‘is that food-grade plastic?’ – Jim Reed, Bridgewater, Massachusetts

– When it is time to upgrade your cell phone, you go for a waterproof model because you have your hands in water or duckweed beds so often you lose calls. – Kobus Jooste, Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa

– You take beer out of your fridge to make room for fish food. – RW, Argyle, Texas

– When you have just completed your first system and you can’t wait to start the next one. It’s like aquaholism! – David Waite, Fallon, Neva

– Every time you see a new plant, you are constantly thinking “How can I grow this in my Aquaponics system. Then you start to day dream at odd times “how this will work” or ‘how I can improve this’, being totally oblivious to the world around you…only to be woken up by a jab to your body with someone asking …’so what do you think?”…eh! about what? – Sahib Punjabi, Lake Mary, Florida

– Every time you pass an abandon building or parking lot you imagine a garden. – Earl Ward, Merrillville, Indiana

And my favorite comment by the community:

– Our fish do recognize me, why just yesterday Fred was thanking me for adding a solar panel so he could have aeration all night and Steve, well he’s a real card…do you know he was playing dead the other day…? – Brian Hitchcock, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

If you are nodding your head, smiling and saying, ‘Yep, that’s me!’ then welcome to the community! We are thrilled that you have decided to join us on this adventure of growing your own food using this extraordinary method called aquaponic gardening.