I arrived in Denver on Frontier Airlines Saturday night.. great flight. I found my way to the baggage collection via a driver-less electric train that takes you from one side of the terminal complex to the other.
What a novel idea. I imagined these devices in my home city of Brisbane. A great public transport method.
I had not made definite arrangements with Sylvia Bernstein for a meeting point, so the inevitable happened. Sylvia was waiting for me in one place while I was somewhere else. My mobile (cell) phone, that I had been assured by Telstra would work USA wide, worked well in California but not in Denver.
I was about to catch a cab to a hotel somewhere for the night when Sylvia located me. Good work Sylvia!
Imagine how much that cab ride would have cost, a foreigner at an airport asking to be taken to a hotel somewhere. The cabbie would have thought he had struck gold!
Next morning up early to get to the Denver Botanical Gardens venue for the seminar 9:00am start. A wonderful group of people had assembled from Denver, Boulder and nearby towns. Some folk had travelled in from out of state. I must say that I found everyone I met to be warm and friendly. A very enjoyable experience.
During Q & A the issue of seasonal/climate variations in operating Aquaponics systems was frequently raised.
I have to admit, I had no idea as to the difficulty of year round gardening in climates where there are severe winters and very definite seasonality. (compared to our Australian climate) Only our most southern island state of Tasmania would have similar winter temperatures and climate, as is experienced in much of central and northern USA.
Here in Southern Queensland we can grow all year round, and we can run our Aquaponics systems outdoors if we wish. I must add that better results are obtained when the system is in a greenhouse of some sort. It protects the system from heavy downpours and assists in pest and bug control.
In much of the US gardens need to be protected from deer, raccoons, and even bears.
(I spotted deer wandering the streets of Boulder)
Some participants talked of an inner wire fence around their garden with an electric fence perimeter to keep the animals at bay.
As is always the case, I came away from the seminar having gained much new knowledge from the participants.
In order to have a year round Aquaponics garden Sylvia has designed her AquaBundance
system to be able to be easily moved indoors in winter. The system will wheel through a standard home door, out onto the patio for summer and indoors for winter.
This is a very important design criteria. The cost of building a suitable greenhouse in those colder climes is very high and in many cases put a productive Aquaponics system out of the reach of many folk.
Indoors the system is operated under suitable grow lights. Sylvia gave a very informative lecture on grow lights at our Denver seminar. She demonstrated several types of grow lights even including the latest in LED lighting. Sylvia explained how supplemental lighting can be used to good effect during the transition months of Fall and Spring. The ability of the light type to penetrate and provide the correct light spectrum, are important considerations.
To build a suitable greenhouse that is capable of providing winter grow conditions is a very expensive exercise. This expense limits the entry of many folk into home food production.
The AquaBundance moveable system provides a meaningful entry into Aquaponic
gardening. Sylvia Bernstein has come up with a real winner here. There has been a lot of very thoughtful design in this very functional kit.
In Denver I met with the folk from Colorado Aquaponics. They are putting together a facility in an abandoned warehouse to provide food and employment in some of the less privileged areas o town.
A very enthusiastic group . I really admire people who get involved in this type of community activity. Take a look at the Colorado Aquaponics Blog.
Here is another blog about our seminar in Denver. “The Expensive Tomato“