Crazy idea... Fropbog + Garden = Super Veges?

Thinking about all my plans for this spring/summer and I came up with an idea that just might be crazy enough to work, or could be really stupid. Bear with me as this will take a bit of explaining and I’ll need some good advice from people who know more organic chemistry than I remember. And yes, I know this post is too long.

So, for the past 3 years I’ve tried various experiments to grow our own organic vegetables in summer. Every year I’ve been a failboat of vegetable goodness. The biggest problem comes in late July/August as it gets so darn hot/dry here it’s difficult to water enough AND our water has a shit-ton of chlorine in it which I think has a tendancy to burn our veges when it’s so awful. I also think our location (small subdivison surrounded by a lot of pavement from parking lots/roads) increases the heat/dryness aspect as well.

Now, I’m looking at our wonderful pond which has just turned pea green today (actually to my relief since we can’t feed the fish yet) and remembered how well our Frop Bog flourished which helped filter out the massive overload of nutrients from our fish population.

So I was thinking. What if I changed all our vegetable growing efforts and potted everything. Either in self-watering containers (using something like this but I’d make it myself to save money PLUS ) and/or those topsy-turvey things ?

So here’s the potential benefits:

  • No need for fertilizer period. Every batch of water will contain all the nitrites/nitrates/ammonia necessary.
  • Nutrients will continually conentrate as the water can not leach away.
  • Technically all organic?
  • Possability of having a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids absorbed into the plants since the sole source is from fish? <— prolly not, but would be nice.
  • Already know non-water based plants go crazy on this water too, because when we get overflow from the pond into the surrounding groundcover it grows like gangbusters.
  • No more chlorine burning.
  • Save money using water much more efficiently.

Potential drawbacks?

  • Could vegetables get a fishy taste even if it’s pseudo-purified topwater?
  • We use a UV light to sterilize water of algae, but I wonder if we could still get some kind of bacterial contamination? Or what if the fish have ick or other diseases brough by birds… could we pick something up even if the water never comes into direct contact with the vegetables/fruits/ leaves themselves? We would make sure it goes straight into a resourvoir (so just the roots would have access).
  • We would have to do a lot more topping off of the pond which would increase the cost of dechlorinater… but we need to do this more anyways as July/August the pond water temps get too hot.
  • The food we feed the fish is… well its mass market fish food. Who knows how they make it. We could possibly switch to a feed stock which they use for trout farms.
  • We have used meds in the past to treat fish infections (malachite green). Sure the water has changed a thousand times over since then, but still the warnings on that stuff are pretty scary.

The more I write about this the more it sounds like an iffy idea. But then again, where a lot of the U.S. food supply comes from - pesiticides, insecticiees, cow/pig poop and all manner of wild animals crap ends up on the food we eat. With all things being equal (taking into consideration contamination from all sources) seems the only safer type of food would be that harvested from a greenhouse, and then the method I outlined above would prove healthier than vegetable grown in non-sterile environments?

I could also go 100% hydroponic. Setup our waterfall pump to first pump water through a network of PVC tubes with holes for root clusters and the plant propped up with a wire cage.

At any rate I’ve had no success on the net with my searches on advice for this kind of trial:

I don’t need to read anything you’ve written, jp. The title of this thread made my evening.

Edit: Oh, no. I misread. I thought it said ‘Super Vegas’. I was hoping you were creating a casino for frogs.

I can’t really think of anything that could possibly go wrong, but that just means you’ll get monster ambulatory tomatoes crushing the world beneath their vegetable feet.

So really, no downsides at all.

Additional edit. We’ve already use the pump and UV light mentioned so that would not be an additional investment. This would be the setup (say hello to my mad l33t Photoshop skillz)

Give me back my Ambien! LOL

You may already know this, but just in case, dechlorinator==Sodium thiosulfate, which can be purchased much more cheaply through a chemical supply company. Ten bucks worth will last you a decade.

I didn’t know this, so thanks for mentioning it!

Because “regular Vegas” wouldn’t be good enough.

The plants will also help take additional nutrients out of the water, reducing algal growth and helping water clarity in the pond. And there’s no fear of the veggies tasting like fish, although frankly I think that would be a very marketable product. You’d lose more water to evaporation and absorption though, so you’d need a float valve of sorts to top it up during dry periods (chlorine filter, good idea).

Now I can’t get the idea of goldfish-flavored carrots out of my mind.

I had no clue. How might one figure out the dosing for that?

Found this and I need to find out if our city uses Chloramine instead of Chlorine.

Krazykrok, I’ve often thought about the float valve idea - especially after the scares of waking up and seeing a nearly empty pond because a pipe moved and pumped nearly all the water out… but yes, I would need some kind of chlorine filter attached to the hose. I could always attach one of those shower head things like this?
(would be easy to adapt to hose and flat valve)

Wish it said how many gallons it treats vs. how long it might last.

I misread it that way, too.

Me three. “Super Vegas”…no wait, there’s another e…“Super Vedes”. wut? rubs eyes

You might look into UV dechlorination as well, although I’m not sure what’s available on a domestic scale. A google will give you plenty of material to work with. Alternatively, if you let the tap water sit in a holding tank for a few days the chlorine level will fall to much safer levels for your pond. A rainwater tank is another alternative.

A couple of times I’ve gone out to check on the crocs and found the croc pool about a metre below the water level, the float valve going furiously! Turns out the female loves to sit in front of the outflow with her jaws open, which is great except when it causes all the water to spill over the side.

I would imagine this shouldn’t be a problem unless your frops have grown to gigantic proportions.

You might find this link of interest.

Probably get lots of advice on their forum.

One day when I have a house with a backyard I’d like to try to setup something like this.

Basically the fish provide nutrients for the vegies and then of course when the fish (silver perch and trout are popular here in aus) get big enough you eat them as well. Not sure what the comparable eating fish would be in the USA?

There this guy who lives in Kalgoorlie (fairly hot inland mining town) on another forum I visit who has a great setup so no problems doing it in fairly challenging climates.

I googled up “grey water” and ended up with an interesting piece of advice.

Storage rapidly turns grey water into blackwater. The word “storage” should immediately sound an alarm, as should anything that includes a tank bigger than 55 gallons (for residential systems). If you doubt this, just fill a bucket with grey water and observe it as it progressively darkens and becomes more fetid. Bacteria multiply to blackwater levels as well, at least the indicator bacteria.

Bacteria scares me. If it were me, I would grow algae on the pond, then periodically collect + compost the algae. Composting properly raises temperatures should kills off bacteria, specially since it would be a different enviroment (dry, hot) compared to wet and cool water.

I would also suggest looking into fish farm practices. Surely some of them are responsible enough to try to manage their water waste?

I’m going to get my carrot seeds soon. I will see if I can get a cookie cutter mold and force the carrots into goldfish shapes like Krazycrok likes.

What do you think does the composting? There would be no life as we know it without bacteria. Yes, you want the nonsmelly aerobic kind - which is why you turn your compost pile - but it is bacteria nonetheless.