For many families COVID-19 has been devastating! Loss of jobs, schools closed and many food items rationed. There’s never been a more important time for super work at home moms to find extra ways to make money from home.
For many of us in our lifetime, we have never experienced these problems, to this extent. For larger families, the food rationing and increased prices for fruit and vegetables really added more stress to an already stressful situation. As demonstrated by the large number of people heading to Bunnings and other plant nurseries, many of us could see that growing produce to help feed our families is now even more important than ever.
A relatively new and increasingly popular growing technique is Aquaponics. An Aquaponics system for the family home is capable of providing fresh food, plus provide an ongoing income.
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable ways to grow food. It involves a combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (plants grown without soil) in one integrated system. Once you’re set up, there’s very little maintenance or effort required. The basic premise of Aquaponics is that the waste produced by your fish feeds the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish, producing one continuous cycle. Because the plants are grown without soil they are much less likely to have problems with pests and diseases.
Aquaponic Systems for the Family Home
Many people start with a very small, indoor Aquaponic system in order to understand how the system works. These small systems are ideal to introduce young children to the concept of keeping fish (usually one or two), and growing plants. Although small, these systems are able to grow herbs or small plants successfully. The size of the fish tank restricts the size of fish they can contain, and so decorative fish such as goldfish are usually kept.
Aquaponic systems, once setup, are easy to maintain, and larger systems can provide fresh vegetables and fish for family consumption. Aquaponic systems are favoured by many growers as they use 85% – 95% less water than conventional farming, and yield up to 50% more produce in one third of the space.
Not a lot of space is required to run an Aquaponic system at home that will produce enough food for the family, with extra food producing an income. This size system can easily be setup and maintained by the family, and is ideal for Mums looking to stay home with the kids and also have an income.
A backyard Aquaponics system can produce fish for eating, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for the table, or to be sold at markets etc. If the system is kept undercover (in a shed or greenhouse), the produce is not affected by weather and can produce high quality food all year long. To save space the system can be stacked, with the growing beds placed over the fish tanks. Find complete instructions for setting up an Aquaponic system at home here.
The Benefits of Aquaponic Systems for Super Work at Home Moms
- Produces both fish and vegetables, and has few problems with pests and diseases, plus gives you two streams of income, rather than just one.
- Uses far less water than growing vegetables in the ground.
- Planting density of four to six times as dense as planting in-ground, giving you far more produce than would be otherwise possible. Greater yield means plenty for the family, plus lots to sell.
- “Cycle Time” of the vegetables is roughly half the time that growing in soil would require.
- Combining the faster production cycle with the increased planting density means aquaponics produces eight to ten times the amount of organic produce that the same area of soil would, in the same time.
- No pesticides are used in the system. Although not officially termed as ‘organic’ in Australia, fruit and vegetables grown in Aquaponic systems are free from any pesticides.
- Because these systems are raised from the ground they are much less labour intensive, and easier on your back.
Making an Income from Aquaponics
Fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, free from additives and chemicals, are highly valued in the market place. Many people are now choosing to produce their own food, and sell the excess in order to gain an income. Produce can be sold to local cafes and restaurants, friends and acquaintances or at the local markets. People are prepared to pay a premium for fresh, locally grown produce that is free of chemicals.
As Aquaponics requires little ongoing maintenance it is an ideal work from home business for super work at home Moms (or Dads). It’s also a perfect way to teach children about growing plants, caring for fish and working together as a family.
You and your family have the joy of producing and eating your own fresh vegetables, fruit and fish, plus the added bonus of an extra income!
Laura Whitton is a passionate gardener, web designer, parent and grandparent. The things in life that give her the greatest pleasure are creating beautiful things, be it web sites for small businesses or growing healthy food for her family to share. She hopes this article inspires Mums to start a small business that enables them to stay at home with their little ones. As we know they grow up way too fast, so enjoy every moment!