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Urban Farmer: More Aquaponics* Passive Solar * Tips
October 01, 2013


The Urban Farmer, Issue #062 * 

October, 2013: 

  ""A garden is a symbol of man's arrogance, perverting nature to human ends ..."
           ~Tim Smit


Indoor Aquaponics in the Cold, Cold North

Photo: David Bowman
Urban Organics’ David Haider stands in front of one of several 13 200-liter tanks that will soon be home to 1000 tilapia, which will in turn help feed thousands of plants.

The old Hamm’s brewery looms over the gritty East Side of St. Paul, Minn., a redbrick citadel of suds that rolled out its last barrel in 1997 and then became a 3-hectare site for urban explorers to shoot trophy pictures and for graffiti artists to showcase their mad skillz.

But beyond the busted windows and spray-painted tags, business partners Chris Ames, Fred Haberman, and David and Kristen Haider of Urban Organics see an indoor farm. Using a hybrid farming method called aquaponics, which combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water), this massive, 4700-square-meter indoor field of greens will feed thousands of fish and be fertilized by the resulting fish poop. Nothing will go to waste.


Photo: David Bowman
The seed of the idea for Urban Organics germinated in this aquaponics setup that David Haider built in his basement two years ago.



Aren't all greenhouses solar? Well, technically yes but there's more to it than that...

After lots of research, some passive solar methods have been developed that work quite well! These techniques include:

  • Siting of the greenhouse to take advantage of the sun's path
  • Strategically placed insulation
  • Using certain colors inside the greenhouse for heat conservation.
  • Using a "Heat Sink" to store heat during the day so it can be released at night.

 Grab all the details here: Passive Solar Greenhouses

Video of the Month:

Remember this oldie but goodie?

Why bother with hydroponics?


Hydro Tip of the Month-  How much space to you need for each crop?


  • Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, beans, peas--
    1 sq foot
  • Cucumbers, cabbage, squash, melons------ 2 sq foot
  • Basil, Bibb and Buttercrunch lettuce--------- 6" x 6"
  • Looseleaf and Oakleaf lettuce----------7" x 7"
  • Herbs------------3" x 3" or 4" x 4"

There is more "food for thought" about choosing what to plant and when, here:  What To Grow?


We hope you have enjoyed this issue of The Urban Farmer Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, gardening quote or idea, plus fresh new hydroponics news, techniques & products.

Insiders tips to get you growing...


~Stella and Simon from Hydroponics-Simplified.

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