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Earthan Beds – Integrated Gardening At Its Best

There has been an overwhelming response to publishing some of the details on how the integrated gardens at Basin View were constructed.  Specifically we have received several hundred emails asking how the Earthan Bed are made and how they work from people around the world.  I was a little surprised by the response. [heading] Introduction to Earthan Beds [/heading] While much of the work in aquaponics is related to commercial combinations of recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics, some of which has been roughly translated to the backyard aquaponics system.  Along with that combination came some of the restrictions and beliefs of aquaponics systems at home requiring the sterile growing media environments of commercial aquaculture and hydroponics. More to the point it became clear that many got stuck with the usual suspects of gravel or inert clay media based beds, deep water culture (floating rafts) or nutrient film technique (NFT) but somehow in all that backyard aquaponics the use of soil as a growing medium was forgotten or at least not promoted as a very inexpensive media to use in backyard integrated gardens or aquaponic system. Above is a 60m2 school integrated garden in which all the beds are Earthan Beds that recirculate on the fish pond in the middle. In several of our systems we have introduced a unique combination of pond or extensive aquaculture and soil based gardening and growing techniques.  Out of that came the Earthan Bed.  Call it what you like but the basics of it are, they are raised garden beds with soil/earth and they were designed and created by us as an inexpensive and very flexible option for growing plants on a small scale. Perhaps there is potential to use them at a larger level.  In fact a recent conversation with a broad acre wheat farmer suggested it might be workable on a larger scale.  I have some reservations about this, but a small trial would not hurt.  That could be a bit of pie in the sky…. The reality is, the Earthan beds are extremely effective at growing the complete range of veggies without the restrictions of floating rafts, NFT or the cost of clay media.  When they are integrated into the other growing methods there is scope to remove some of the filtration they need. This post is primarily to introduce our wider audience to the Earthan Bed concept.  We hope to see many backyard gardens including the Earthan Beds in their designs.  In following posts we will describe how they are built. Warm regards Paul…

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