Aquaponics expert Ben Pohlner is out to show how much can be achieved in the average Warrnambool backyard.
Mr Pohlner’s garden is home to about 100 kilograms of rainbow trout, whose waste helps keep a large vegetable and herb garden thriving, while also providing the odd fish for the dinner table.
An 8500-litre tank is home to the trout and some gold fish and a wide range of vegetables and herbs are grown on top hydroponically, that is, without any soil.
Once the fish are fed they, of course, produce a waste. That waste then goes through the ammonia cycle, so it’s primarily ammonia, that gets converted through into nitrates and nitrites by bacteria for the plants to feed on,” Mr Pohlner said.
“The plants do a great job at sopping up the excess nutrients and purifying the water for the fish, so it’s a real symbiotic relationship and it works really well in a backyard.”
Mr Pohlner will speak about his backyard set-up at Warrnambool’s Sustainable Living Festival on Saturday. He will host a talk on the Civic Green from 11.25am, before he opens the gate to his garden from 2pm-4pm.
He said those who took a closer look at his garden would realise how achievable it was for the average backyard.
“You don’t need a whole lot of space to get a significant amount of productivity from it,” he said.
“I’m giving an idea of what can be done.”