“Grasshopper learns very well from the Master,” Steve quipped, borrowing a line from Karate Kid, joking that he had been my gardening teacher. There was some truth to that initially, as I couldn’t keep a house plant alive. In my mind he was indeed “The Expert Gardener”, at least in the area of alternative methods. In his mind also, the competition was over. In his mind he had already constructed a huge aquaponics greenhouse where we could feed the world and eliminate world hunger. But he conceded to start small and just feed our family.
From 2008 to 2011 we created and operated that small experimental aquaponics system in a backyard greenhouse. This was constructed from food grade plastic barrels bought at a flea market somewhere, which were then cut in half lengthways and filled with pea gravel. A complex network of piping carried water from the fish tank to the grow beds and back again, and all of this was housed in a green house, the hoops of which were purchased second hand.
Another business sold us, that is, Steve, several huge fish tanks. “What on Earth are we going to do with ALL those?!” I exclaimed. “Well, honey,” began my husband, “you know how we had talked about building a bigger aquaponics system? These will be perfect.” Yeah, right, I thought cynically. One for every room of the house. For that year and the next and a few after that, they sat in our backyard, along with extra greenhouse hoops, three canoes, numerous window frames (to make a greenhouse, of course), and many other white elephants.