Greenhouse Design and Aquaponics Basics and Build Course

October 15, 2016 to October 16, 2016

Location: The Aquaponic Source - View Map

Start Time: 9:00 am - End Time: 5:00 pm

Event Details:


Join us in Denver for a day of Aquaponics Basics and Build followed by a day of Greenhouse Design in Longmont. Or choose either!

Aquaponics Basics and Build – Saturday, October 15th 

Want to build your own system, but don’t know where to start?

Get inspired to grow your own food by building your own aquaponic system and learn what you need to make it a success.

This workshop will help participants understand the key principles and components necessary for growing fish and plants together in a recirculating soil-less system. It is geared toward people who want to build their own aquaponic system but don’t know where to begin. We will provide in-depth coverage of the system components and activities necessary to start building an aquaponics system, successfully cycle it and optimize growing. The course will include detailed discussions about:

  • Benefits of Aquaponics
  • Fish and Plant selection and health
  • System cycling, bacteria and the nitrification cycle
  • System Design Ratios
  • Different system designs: flood and drain, deep water culture, and vertical systems
  • Growbed styles, media, pumps, aerators, plumbing fittings and all other components
  • Planning your location
  • System management and optimization

Participants will also be able to tour Flourish Farm, our 3,200 sf aquaponics farm, and see one of the most successful and highly productive urban aquaponic farms in the US. 



Course Schedule

8:30am – Student Check-in

9:00am – Meet in Growasis – CA & GrowHaus mission, student goals, aquaponic benefits

9:30am – Morning lecture – Aquaponic fundamentals, system types, components, fish and plant health, system cycling

12:00pm – Group Lunch – Student introductions and open discussion (lunch not included)

1:00pm – Tour Flourish Farm – Discuss basics of farm scale aquaponics

2:00pm – Small group 1 hour workshops. The students split into two smaller and rotate through each workshop.

  • Build it workshop – Space planning, system build, plumbing and bell siphon dynamics, design ratios, adding sump tanks and expanding your food production.
  • Run it workshop – Water testing, fish feeding, pest management, plant health, nutrient additions, troubleshooting and optimization

4:00pm – Wrap-up – Open Q and A session, Final thoughts



Location: The GrowHaus – 4751 York St, Denver



How to Design an Energy-Efficient, Year-Round Solar Greenhouse – Sunday, October 16th 


Instructors – Marc Plinke & Josh Holleb of Ceres, JD Sawyer of The Aquaponic Source


Want to grow your own fresh, nutrient dense vegetables year-round? How about growing your own bananas, lemons and guava? Learn how to do this, and much more by creating an energy-efficient, self-sustaining growing environment that feeds you and your family all year.


This full-day greenhouse immersion course will delve into smart greenhouse design. Topics include how to design a super-efficient greenhouse using passive solar strategies, tailoring your greenhouse for an aquaponics system, growing year-round in hard-to-grow climates, powering your greenhouse off-grid, growing advice and greenhouse building plans.


The course will include lunch and a tour of a commercial solar greenhouse located at The Golden Hoof Farm (designed by architect Alice Starek) pictured above. Participants will also receive building designs and plans for a backyard energy-efficient greenhouse that can be combined with an aquaponic system.



9:00 AM to 12:00: Greenhouse Design
*Classroom instruction at The Aquaponic Source location
• Essential elements of solar greenhouse design
• Siting and orienting your greenhouse
• Choosing the glazing and building materials
• Insulating your greenhouse for year-round growth
• Naturally heating, cooling and ventilating your greenhouse
• Making a greenhouse ‘self-heating’ by using thermal mass and storing heat underground

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch (included)

1:00 – 3:30 PM: How to Build Your Greenhouse; Aquaponic Greenhouse Design
• Building the greenhouse (review of building plans)
• Powering your greenhouse: standard and off-grid options
• Aquaponic system planning and design considerations
• Growing tips and recommendations for your greenhouse

3:30 – 4:30: Tour of an off-grid commercial greenhouse. We will car pool to a nearby farm.


Ceres Greenhouse Solutions designs and builds solar greenhouses nationwide, ranging from sustainable backyard models to several thousand sq. ft. commercial greenhouses. Over the past several years, Ceres has enabled people to grow bananas year-round in the Colorado Rockies, and specialized in aquaponic greenhouses.


Prior to Ceres, Marc started his career with a PhD in chemical engineering, and worked as a chemical and process engineer for Gore Technologies and other companies. His second career began when he retrofitted his 1950’s ranch home into a net-zero-energy home, ranking it as one of the most energy-efficient homes in the US. This led him to apply his engineering mindset to green building design and  developing the next generation of smart greenhouses.

Josh has a wealth of experience growing and managing farms, both indoor and outdoor. He has operated a 10,000 gallon solar heated aquaponic greenhouse at 8,000 ft in elevation, as well as a 5,000 sq. ft. indoor growing operation, and multiple organic farms. In addition, he has worked extensively in the construction industry, doing hand-ons work and project management. Josh’s combination of horticulture and construction experience has made him an indispensable part of the team at Ceres Greenhouse Solutions. Currently, Josh manages communication between greenhouse clients and Ceres’ design and installation team, ensuring greenhouses are built efficiently and cost-effectively. Josh has works with a wide range of greenhouse clients, from back-yard growers, commercial cannabis operations, small-scale farms, and schools.


  • The Aquaponic Source, 1860 Lefthand Circle, Suite E, Longmont, CO 80501


  • Airport – Denver International (DIA)
  • Hotel – We are partnered with the Best Western Plus Plaza Hotelat 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, CO 80501. They are offering course registrants discounted rates (dependent upon occupancy levels) which include a free hot breakfast. Call 800-843-8240 to make reservations and mention The Aquaponic Source to receive the discounted rate.
  • Transportation – If you don’t have a car and are flying in we recommend taking Super Shuttleto and from the airport. We will arrange transportation from the hotel to our Learning Center, so there is no need to rent a car.


The closest campsites to our location are:

Other campsites can be found at Be sure to call the campsite in advance to make reservations, and check up on the latest conditions.

Cancellation Policy

  • Up to 30 days prior to the first day of the workshop – complete refund
  • 30 days to 1 week prior to the first day of the workshop – 50% refund
  • Less than one week prior to the first day of the workshop – no refund

Register HERE! 


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