A very rare treat for us, rack of lamb was marked down $5, and it was local and organic, so I splurged and this was the lovely result. All I did was sprinkle it heavily with Herbs de Provence and put it in the crock pot on high for 4 hours with a 1/2 cup of water. It was the most delicious, succulent rack of lamb I have ever tasted. Made me want to raise lamb. I wonder if goat meat is close to that? They are somewhat related animals. I’ve heard goat is more like venison, but then people say that rabbit tastes like chicken and it really, really does not. I’d rather raise goats as I am allergic to wool, but I do like the lamb so much.
Now on to the aquaponics. I decided after finding out that the shipping on the expandable $5000 aquaponics system I wanted to buy is $2500 that that is not going to happen. Their shipping is only free if you get the $7500 system. But if you’ve only got $6000 to spend… So I dove into finding out just how much it would cost to put together a simple system ourselves from things I can either buy locally or with free shipping off Amazon. Here is what I’ve come up with.
Stock tank $100
4 masonry mixing tubs $51.92
200 L of clay pebbles $139.80
Plumbing and piping parts (just an estimate with plenty of cushion, no exact numbers here) $200
Submersible pump $54.88
Filter bag for pump $14.57
24 cinder blocks $31.68
12 x 8 foot green house $1248
Tax $165.68 (assuming 9% sales tax, which is high but we are 8.4% here)
Total $2006.53 And that is with the green house that would have been on top of the $7500 for the other.
And I can get a 140 watt off-grid solar panel kit to power it for $741.95 including shipping. The kit includes everything but a marine battery, so just put it together, attach the battery, plug in the pump, and you are good to go. A marine battery is around $130. I suppose there is the water testing kit, good bacteria, and fish food, too but that is negligible and an on-going cost, not a one-time cost.
So with the solar kit and battery, with the green house, it is still not even half the amount the other place is charging.
I know that the masonry tubs aren’t necessarily the best choice or food grade, but a $12.98 tub compared to a $249 grow bed…well, there is no comparison. I think I will chance it. My other choice would be kiddie wading pools which would cost less but not be black. Unless I can find something like an industrial sized tub for mixing salads or coleslaw at a restaurant supply house. Even if I did decide to go with the 4 grow beds at $1190 or so…it is still not anywhere near the $7500. It’s just under $4100.
And the thing is, we can wait on the solar kit and battery if we need to and just plug it in to the electric for now. So do it ourselves it will be. The biggest expense will be the green house and this one is made for the elements around here and to make it through our types of winters, so it is worth the cost and not having to build it from scratch. And it can set on an existing pad so no foundation needs to be built. We should be able to take it apart and move it easily later on.
In the meanwhile, I settled on my little aquarium aquaponics set-up. I bought an AquaFarm and I’ll be setting it up in a week or two and getting started with some herbs and lettuces and a beta fish. I did buy a couple of small organic herb starts for the window, rosemary and lemon thyme. I may or may not put them into the little aquaponics system. I am excited to see how it goes.