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Welcome to The Fish’s Garden!

“We are responsible for the ethical weight of our choices.”

– M. Malecha

“For every problem there is a solution, but these solutions must be practical, sustainable, and environmentally sound”.

– Anonymous

“Waste not, want not.”

– Anonymous

Three simple ideas, acted upon with honesty, integrity, and a positive attitude combined with the desire to create quality products delivered with excellent service, form the foundation of our company. At its heart is our commitment to create a successful business, that embraces and exemplifies the full measure of these concepts.

To create and run a profitable, sustainable, future forward company that employs sound technology and environmentally responsible solutions. Our objective is not only  to create this sustainable company, but also to contribute positively to the welfare of our community.
The Fishes Garden is an aquaponics farm that produces both fish, vegetables and herbs. Our fish and produce will be sold locally, to ensure the freshness and quality of our product and reduce the impact on the environment. Our targeted markets will be grocery stores, restaurants, resort venues, farmer’s markets and the public, within a 100 mile radius.

Fish will be sold as live whole fish. Should processing be required to facilitate a client’s needs this will be done off-site, by a professional licensed processor.

Vegetable crops will typically be harvested a day or two before sale to ensure freshness.

Aquaponics is a closed loop food production system. Fish and plants are raised together in a controlled environment greenhouse. Fish are grown in rearing tanks and plants are grown on floating rafts housed in raft tanks. The growing fish create water that is rich in nutrients which, after flowing though biological filters, feeds the plants. The plants extract these nutrients and the clarified water is then returned back to the fish rearing tanks and the cycle is repeated. Because the entire operation is greenhouse based, it is able to operate year round. The system is efficient, natural, requires minimal energy input and the water does not co-mingle with local water supplies.

Additives to the system are minimal and completely natural:

Water, is added to the system to make up for natural evaporation and transpiration. Iron, calcium, and potassium are added into the system in small amounts only as needed for the plant production and balancing the water quality.

Wastes produced by the system are completely natural and minimal:

Fish waste solids are separated from the water by the use of clarifiers. These solids are used to fertilize additional terra–grown crops. Plant materials left after harvests are collected and composted.

To give you, the Consumer the confidence to purchase food that is locally grow, produced responsibly with no pesticides or unnatural additives and will be fresh when it reaches your table. We welcome you at any time to visit us and tour our facility, talk to us about our processes and plant selection, and continue to make our community a better place to live.

June 2015 What’s Been Happening at the Garden this year!

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in General, Uncategorized | 3 comments

A lovely box of Breen Romain

A lovely box of Breen Romain

Just a general update as to what we’ve been up to in the Garden!

In December of 2014 we installed LED grow lights over our grow beds to make up for the shorter daylight hours! These fixtures (manufactured by Lumigrow) are wonderful! Our production had seriously dropped off due to the shorter winter days and it was taking twice as long as it normally would for plants to come to maturity. After installing these grow lights, within less than a month our production was back up to within 80% of normal. Within five weeks we were back up to a 100%. These fixtures feature: a small physical foot print, low energy use (325 watts per fixture), and are completely adjustable in respects to the white, red and blue light they emit, allowing the grower to adjust these spectrums to best benefit the plants they are growing. Way to go Lumigrow!

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Snow In Camp Verde?

Snow In Camp Verde?

 

Something that we never envisioned we would be doing here! Having to remove snow from the greenhouse roof.

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In February, The Fish’s Garden hosted its first Nelson and Pade Aquaponics Masters Class at our greenhouse facility in Camp Verde Arizona! The Masters Class had 28 students with some attendees coming from places as far away as Guiana, South America and Lima, Peru.  Classes were taught by 5 instructors from Nelson and Pade, including Rebecca Nelson and John Pade, the founders of Nelson and Pade, and our mentors!

The Masters Class is held over the course of three days. Mornings are spent in a classroom learning environment with handbook lessons, lectures, and discussions sessions. Afternoons sessions are held in the greenhouse for a hands on learning experience with Aquaponics. These classes are geared towards individuals who are exploring the possibility and realities of getting into Aquaponics as either a commercial business or for personal use.

We also wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the staff of the Cliff Castle Hotel and Conference Center here in Camp Verde where the morning classroom sessions for this event were held. All of you were great to work with and really helped to make this event a success.

We will be hosting more Masters Classes with Nelson and Pade in the future! The next Masters Class to be hosted here at our facility is slated to be held in October later this year, a lovely time of the year to be in central Arizona! Stay tuned, as more details become available we will post them here on our site or you can go to Nelson and Pade’s website (aquaponics.com) for more information!

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This spring in Camp Verde was cooler and wetter than usual but it was also very windy! Because of the winds we experienced damage to the greenhouse roof. However that has been repaired and we are now back to operating as normal.

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Greenhouse tours, in the past we have always tried to accommodate individual tours of the greenhouse on any given day with a 24 hour notice. However, as more people find out about our facility these types of tours are becoming more difficult to accommodate. As I’m sure you can imagine, there is quite a bit of work that goes into maintaining a food production greenhouse and meeting our clients needs. So as of June 2015 we will now only host tours of the greenhouse on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month with prior notice. Group tours can be accommodated on other days with a reservation made in advance. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that all who want to see our facility will understand and bear with us.

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This year we decided to phase out catfish from our system. After working with Catfish and Bluegill  for over a year we have come to the conclusion that we prefer to work with the Bluegill.

Journal Entries 6/2012 thru 8/2014 Construction – 1

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A good number of people who have visited our greenhouse have asked us about the experience of constructing a greenhouse and Aquaponics system such as ours.  Our greenhouse is a 30’W x 96’L (roughly 3,000 sq. ft.) Poly Tex XA300 series greenhouse with a 8’D x 21’L attached vestibule also by Poly Tex which aids in providing bio-security within the actual greenhouse. Our Aquaponics system is a Nelson & Pade Clear Flow C500.

External view of greenhouse looking South/East

External view of greenhouse looking South/East

 

Please understand that these journal entries are not technical journals about the construction of a greenhouse or an aquaponics system. They are simply our personal journals that were kept during the construction of our greenhouse and system. They simply reflect my/our personal experiences, some insight and possibly some amusement. Some are from the actual time of construction while other entries take place after the actual construction was done because we simply could not keep up with it all!

Enjoy!

Early to rise…If only we had really known what that was going to come to mean to us in respects to our new endeavor! Not to be taken wrong or misunderstood its just that as I write this it is 5 am. and I have been up since 4 am. doing research on all kinds of different things. Most days we love it (being up this early) but it would be wrong to not note that it is also essential that we start our days this early. Especially now, as we are starting up construction of the phase one greenhouse. Its only June but still it simply gets to hot too work past 10 or 11 am on our wonderful property here in Camp Verde AZ!!!

Yea, we’re in construction…What a lot of work to be done! Our running joke with BJ is, he just had to go and order the worlds largest tinker toy set! Our barn right now is filled with boxes of various types/sizes of screws, carriage bolts, clips, clamps, nuts, sheet metal, structural metal, assorted thingies (yes that is a technical term) large/medium/small sheets of poly-carb, large rolls of plastic….Well you get the idea.

Off loading the delivery truck

Off loading the delivery truck

 

Parts n Pieces 1

Parts n Pieces 1

Parts n Pieces 2

Parts n Pieces 2

Parts n Pieces 3

Parts n Pieces 3

Parts n Pieces4

Parts n Pieces4

There are plenty more of these packages inside of the barn keeping those assorted boxes of thingies company!

Site plan, what site plan…Our first step is figuring out the exact location for the greenhouse on our property. Once this is done then we need to figure out the grade, clear the site and do our trenching for the under slab plumbing we need. While that’s going on we will also be getting our system consultants and the greenhouse manufacturer on board with providing us with technical details and information for an on slab installation of the greenhouse and aquaponics system. Then we can create the final set of plans that will be submitted to the city and county for our building permits.

 

Raw Site

Raw Site

 

The happy crew.

The happy crew.

Let the trenching begin!

Let the trenching begin!

Install underground plumbing.

Install underground plumbing.

More trenching, please!

More trenching, please!

Enough with the trenching we're done!

Enough with the trenching we’re done!

It took some time to get the concrete slab installed but well worth it!

Finally we are able to get Sonny (our neighbor who is in the concrete business) and his crew scheduled for the slab pour. Though a concrete slab is an expense that would cause some to hesitate due to the cost of putting it in place, it is well worth the effort and expense because constructing the greenhouse and system will be made all the easier by being able to work on a square and level surface. Our only alternative to working off of a slab is doing an on soil installation with post holes. As it is primarily B.J., Bobbie, and myself who will be doing most of the work, the thought of us getting some 50 postholes dug down at least three feet, perfectly aligned ‘n square etc., for setting the associated posts so that they too are square and aligned is more than we’re interested in taking on.  So a big Thank-you to B.J. and Sonny & his crew for the concrete slab!

Ready to begin slab installation.

Ready to begin slab installation.

Concrete on site!

Concrete on site!

The work begins.

The work begins.

Te work progresses.

The work progresses.

Some finishing touches.

Some finishing touches.

So there it is! One square and level concrete slab!

So there it is! One square and level concrete slab!

Let the fun begin!

Let the fun begin!

Things are starting to look pretty serious here!

What’s Next….

Aquaponics Open House Events at The Fish’s Garden Greenhouse!

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

 

Cat and I will be hosting two days of Open Houses at The Fish’s Garden Greenhouse. Both Tuesday, July 15th and Saturday, July 19th from 8:00 AM thru 2:00 PM, we will will have tours, great music, snacks and lots of discussion about aquaponics.

Come, see and learn about the largest commercial aquaponics facility currently in Central Arizona. Our system lives in a controlled environment Greenhouse which will allow us to produce fish, leafy greens and herbs all year long. This is a very sustainable and water efficient way to produce both protein and greens in a symbiotic, closed loop system. The processes are all natural using no herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics or hormones. Cat and B.J. will give the tours and explain the system we have put into place. Tours will occur at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 1:00 PM on both days.

Music will be provided by our good friends Rick Cyge and Lynn Trombetta. Together they perform professionally as Meadowlark and Rick also performs exceptional solo guitar. They play a wide variety of beautiful original music and covers of many of our favorite songs. Their music will add a wonderful flavor to the day. Come enjoy their music and please visit them at  www.earthsongmusic.com, or see them locally at one of the many fine venues at which they perform.

We will provide plenty of information and links to the companies that have helped us make this project a reality. Small snacks from local producers and water will be provided. So please join for an informative and fun time down on West Grippen Road. Directions are in the attached flyer.

Hope to see you there,

Cheers,

Cat and B.J.

 

Open House Invite Singular

New Additions to The Fish’s Garden

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in General, Products, System, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We recently made two new additions to the greenhouse.

We added a small ebb and flow hydroponic system to be able to grow Tomatoes, Peppers and possibly Cucumbers. It is a Flo-n-Gro Oceanus 1 system with 55 gallon reservoir and twelve 2 gallon buckets filled mostly with clay pebble media although we are trying 2 buckets with Growstones’ Hydroponic media made of recycled glass. As you can see from the pictures we have 8 tomatoes and 4 peppers in a number of varieties and sizes. All of these were started from seed in our germination table and grown out in the NFT system.

Flo 'n Gro 1

Flo 'n Gro 2

 

We added this system to be able to have a separate system in which we could adjust pH and nutrients to these fruiting plants needs and not affect our main system.  The system seems to be doing well but it is a daily battle to keep the pH down to around 6. We are seeing our first tomato fruit on the first plant and will add some plant supports tomorrow. A quick initial reaction on the clay pebbles vs the Growstone media. When planting the plants I found the Growstone to be very abrasive and not much fun to deal with using bare hands. The clay pebbles were much easier to work with.

The second addition is even more exciting, our second batch of fish. We received a new batch of Bluegill and Catfish from Osage Catfisheries last Thursday and they are healthy and doing well in our purge system right now. They are small (3 grams for the Bluegill and about 5 grams for the Cats) but we know they will grow quickly. Our fish in tank one were this size when we got them at the end of January and the Bluegill are now almost 25 grams and the Cats are at 50 grams average. We are hoping to see some real increase in nutrients with the second batch of fish growing.

All for now. ‘Til next time.

Cheers,

B.J.

Welcome!

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in General, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Welcome!

Welcome to The Fish’s Garden website!

We are finally ready to share our site and passion with you. We hope you enjoy the content and find it informative. We have been working at the actual construction of this new aquaponics business for over a year and a half. But we’ve been dreaming of this, researching it, designing it and building the business for over 5 years.

The system has been up and running for about 4 months and we have some initial produce that our family and friends have been enjoying. We just got our second batch of fish (Bluegill and Catfish) and put them into Main Tank 1 a few weeks ago! We’ll slowly build the system up to full capacity over the next 12 months and hope to start retail sales by April 1st, in and around Camp Verde.

We couldn’t have gotten this far without some really great help from wonderful, knowledgeable professionals. They are listed on the Trusted Partners page and we can whole-heartedly recommend  each and every one of them. Foremost among them and key to our success to date is Nelson and Pade, Inc. We can’t say enough positive about John Pade and Rebecca Nelson. They are honest, straightforward people who will always give you a clear answer, backed up by common sense and their years of science-based aquaponic experience.

Explore to your heart’s content and feel free to contact Cat or me with any comments or questions you have. Cat and I will be posting regularly and we will be adding much more information to the site as many of the pages are at an introductory level right now.

Cheers and best to you all,

Cat and B. J. Davis                                                                                                                                                      The Fish’s Garden, LLC                                                                                                                                        Camp Verde, AZ