Since 2003 Sylvia Bernstein is has dedicated herself to connecting people and plants through indoor, soil-less gardening products. She is especially passionate about bringing the super-productive gifts of hydroponics, and now aquaponics, to mainstream families and schools across America. As part of that ongoing journey she founded, and is the President of, The Aquaponic Source and is the award-winning author of “Aquaponic Gardening: A Step by Step Guide to Growing Fish and Vegetables Together”. She also runs the Aquaponic Gardening Community, North America’s largest online community site dedicated to aquaponic gardening and is a feature writer for Maximum Yield magazine.
In her recent past life Sylvia was the VP of Marketing and Product Development for AeroGrow International, the makers of the AeroGarden. She was one of the company’s original founders and was instrumental in developing the plant growth technology.
Sylvia has a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Alan.
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Welcome to Aquaponic Gardening and the fascinating marriage of hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and aquaculture (growing fish in captivity). This course is based on my book, "Aquaponic Gardening: A Step by Step Guide to Growing Fish and Vegetables Together " and is designed to be easy to follow, comprehensive, and fun.
Most of the lectures in this Aquaponic Tutotial are what is called a Video / Presentation Mashup at Udemy. What that means is that you will see a video of myself or Alan (my husband and partner) talking and demonstrating on the left, and PowerPoint slides on the right with details to keep the concepts straight. But you don't need to do anything - the slides will just appear at the correct time!
At the end of this aquaponic gardening course there is a series of articles and blog posts that I've written that I think are particularly relevant to new aquaponic gardeners who are smitten with this growing technique (and I hope that is you!) and want to dive deeper. The first article is called the "Aquaponic Gardening Rules of Thumb" and it is a summary list of many of the concepts, principles and ratios that are elaborated on in the course.
The lectures end with some handy tracking sheets and a list of links to many of the products that are shown in the course. Some other links that will prove useful as you embark on your aquaponic journey are...
· The Aquaponic Source - our company site
· The Aquaponic Store - the shopping site for all your aquaponic gardening needs
· The Aquaponic Gardening Community - a thriving online community of gardeners just like you who help each other learn and grow
· Aquaponic Gardening - the site for the Aquaponic Gardening book
· Aquaponics Association - a wonderful resource for promoting aquaponics. They also put on the annual Aquaponics Association Conference.
Please feel free to comment and ask questions as you take each lesson. I will try to answer all questions within 48 hours. Also I will be scheduling live chats the second and fourth Thursday of every month so please mark your calender!
And if you like this course please be sure and review it here and tell your friends!
Let's get growing!
Information on how this course is going to work and a walk through the course outline.
In this session we define what aquaponic gardening actually is, and what they benefits of this method for growing fish and plants together are both globally and locally.
What to think about in the placement of your aquaponics system. Includes detailed sections on special considerations for indoor and greenhouse growing.
Why you need to think about heating your aquaponics system (even if you are growing trout) and some thoughts on how to do it efficiently and effectively.
What are all the ways that you can grow using aquaponics? What are the pros and cons of each of them?
From simple, single bed system designs to the design principles behind CHiFT PiST, CHOP, and CHOP2 media based systems
How to you select the best grow beds for your aquaponics system? What materials can you use? How big should they be? How do you support them?
What sort of criteria are there for excellent fish tanks? What types of containers make good fish tanks? Do you need to cover fish tanks? How do you seal plumbing holes in the curved surfaces of a round fish tank?
When do we need sump tanks? What considerations are important when sizing a sump tank? How do you connect multiple sump tanks together?
How do the number of fish to the size of the fish tank to the size of the grow bed all interrelate? This lesson summarizes several of the key points from the previous lectures
Why use PVC? What pipe options do you have with PVC? What fitting options are there? How does the nomenclature in PVC work?
How do you efficiently cut and glue PVC? Do you always need to glue pieces together? When might you use a threaded fitting vs a slip fitting? What is a Union fitting?
What types of pumps are there? How do they work? What can go wrong with a pump? How do you clean and maintain them?
What size pump do you need for your timer-based system? How do the requirements differ when you are using siphons? How does gravity, or "head height", affect this calculation?
What is the best way to get water into a grow bed? What methods can I use to drain the grow bed? If I choose a timer-based drain then how to I plumb my grow bed for that?
What are the 7 key elements in the design of your bell siphon that affect its performance?
What purpose does media serve in your system? What criteria should you use for selecting grow media? What are the pros and cons of the media types that are currently available?
This is Part 1 of an updated version of our original grow lighting lecture shot in our Longmont, CO showroom
This is Part 2 of an updated version of our original grow lighting lecture shot in our Longmont, CO showroom
How pure does the water in an aquaponics system need to be? How do you deal with chlorine and chloramine? Is well water safe? How do you measure dissolved oxygen? What are the best ways to get oxygen into your system? How much oxygen do you need?
What kind of fish work best in an aquaponics system? How do I introduce new fish into my system? How do I feed them? What can go wrong?
How do you humanely harvest your fish? How do you prepare it for eating, including cutting off a fillet? What is the best way to cook those fillets?
What is IPM, or Integrated Pest Management? Are there ways that you can prevent insects from harming your plants in the first place? How do you look for insects? What are the "Horrible 4" of the insect world? How do you identify them?
How to kill the little nasties!!
Why are worms important in an media based aquaponics system? How do you introduce them to your grow beds?
What is "cycling"? How does the cycling process work in aquaponics?
How to cycle your aquaponics system both using fish, and without fish ("Fishless Cycling"). Plus tips for speeding up the process.
How do you test the water in your aquaponics system? How often do you need to do it?
Now that you know what levels you system is showing with the test kit, how do you interpret those numbers?
Updated Q1, 2014. What is pH and why is it so important in aquaponics. Then we go into carbonate hardness, and its impact on managing pH in your system. Then we go into measuring and adjusting carbonate hardness.
Updated Q1, 2014 - How to adjust pH up and Down
How to quickly check your system for problems and what to do when you find them.
Great Course guide from un-know topic to implementation. Thanks for prepare this course and have it to an access price. Very Likely.
They event took the trouble to find a skilled camera operator. The standard of presentation is excellent and the content pretty thorough. However the Bell Siphon could be better explained by using a series of drawings to illustrate each stage of the Flood and Drain Cycle. Possibly with indications of the water levels and corresponding pressure differentials that implement the change.
I just ordered the course and watched the first lecture fine. Then I couldn't watch any of the other lectures because the videos wouldn't load. After voicing my concerns and receiving a prompt response. I tried the course again. To my great surprise everything was working fine. Don't know if anything special was done to correct the situation, at this point the online course seems to be fully operational.
Sylvia does a great job of explaining Aquaponics and all the pieces that make up the system. Segment lengths are just right. Perfect course if you are thinking about setting up a small greenhouse IMHO.
Thank you for your "Christmas Gift". I have your book and this is a very helpful addition to it. May your New Year be a blessed one. I do recommend this for anyone interested in exploring aquaponics, especially those who have bought your book.