Over the last few days, I’ve touched upon the idea of aquaponics. And as you will be aware if you’re read my other posts, forest gardening is another idea I am passionate about. When it comes to a successful garden, one of the most important things to remember is that what works well for others might not be the best possible option for you.
Personally, I garden in two distinct but related ways. I have a lower-maintenance forest garden, and polyculture annual beds (outside and in a polytunnel) that are more intensively managed. I don’t have an aquaponics system – at least – not yet.
But what I want to talk about briefly in this post is how you might go about choosing the right type of growing system for you.
Firstly, of course, you need to think about where you live, and the conditions to be found there. Things to consider include:
- The climate (and microclimate) in your garden.
- Soil type and conditions.
- How much space is available.
You also need to think about other limitations of your situation. One crucial one, for example, is how much time you have available to tend your garden. If you are looking for a low maintenance solution – forest gardening is a great choice. Our biggest ‘limitation’ is time. Which is why forest gardening and perennial planting are a big part of our strategy.
Optimal Growing Systems For Different Situations
|Temperate Climate||Arid/ Desert Climate||Sub Tropical/Tropical Climate|
|Energy Restrictions(Or financial restrictions)||Outside growing (forest garden/ polycultures)/ unheated greenhouse/ polytunnel growing.||Careful land management to enable ‘re-greening’ of desert areas (forest garden)||Outdoors forest gardening/ polycultures/ shade house growing/ polycultures under shade netting.|
|Water in Short Supply||Aquaponics system/ drought-tolerant polycultures||(Usually the main restricting factor in such climate zones.) Aquaponics system/ drought-tolerant polycultures||Aquaponics system/ drought-tolerant polycultures during dry seasons.|
|Land Availability Restricted||Indoors growing/ vertical gardening/aquaponics||Indoors growing/ vertical gardening/aquaponics||Indoors growing/ vertical gardening/aquaponics|
|Human Time/ Labor in Short Supply||Low-maintenance forest garden/ perennial polycultures||Native watershed management & land restoration efforts initially, to create self-sustaining food producing system.||Tropical forest garden -initial time and effort to establish, but ultimately low maintenance.|
Thinking about which factors might potentially restrict growing efforts where you live and in your situation can often help develop the right strategies.