For about 18 years or so I have been fascinated with what I call soil independent systems. These are systems that if you happen to live in a place where you have nutrient deficient soil, no soil, or are in a condition where digging soil and harder labor isn't an option, that you can still produce AMAZING food. And LOTS of it.
My love for these systems started when, before the internet had word one about it, a friend of mine who was a fish nut (meaning he loved making big reef systems, hatching fish, etc) told me about an idea that he had heard when attending an aquaculture conference in Altanta.
The idea was using fish to feed plants and plants to clean and filter the fish's water source, or what we now know as Aquaponics. 6 months later we stood up the first (to our knowledge at the time) aquaponics system in North Carolina.
And it was not easy. We ran into all sorts of problems with pH, with fish selection, figuring out how to manage eb and flow beds (as they are called now) and we had lots of failures with pumps and filtration. I will say that the day that we figured out a consistent siphon and fill system we actually jumped up and down. (really... we did.)
This friggen system grew SOOOOOOOO much food LOL. I mean I just couldn't believe it.
Next I discovered hydroponics. And to be truthful at that time getting nutrient compounds was very expensive and difficult. I kinda lost interest in it until Dr. Kratky's work on non powered hydroponics.
Then I meshed my ideas with a booklet (.pdf) that Dr. Joel Karsten authored on his Strawbale Growing System (SBG) and discovered an excellent auto composting and growing method that once broken down after a season or two directly to soil fertility and biomass. Both very good things.
Once I moved to the desert of Arizona I began really focusing on Soil Independent Sytems but also on concise water management.
I have many years of testing and results that I am happy to share with you. Send me an email and I will be sure to respond.