Sharon Johnson of Columbia, S.C., is a passionate gardener, a point that is made obvious by the fact that she lives on a small lot, full of concrete pads, yet she has found a way to have a beautiful garden full of flowers, fruits, vegetable and herbs. Some are in containers, some are not. Her blog will document the adventures of gardening in pots, fending off deer and small animals and the trials of organic gardening.

Recent Blog Posts

May 11
Aquaponics finally flourishing!   (4 comments)

Jan 27
Bok Choi  

Jan 05
Aquaponics Update   (2 comments)

Nov 04
A Taste of Rhubarb  

Aug 04
Miniature Gardens  

Apr 28
Aquaponics - the missing piece  

Apr 15
The Dark Side of Refurbishing your Container Soil  

Apr 01
Aquaponics Big & Small….the next step  




Aquaponics finally flourishing!
by Sharon Johnson - posted 05/11/13

After many struggles, dead fish, dead plants, bug attacks, fish food issues and water heater issues, at last, all our hard work (I should say my HUSBAND'S hard work), has finally paid off.  The system has been up and running for nine months and this is the kind of growth we see:

This picture was taken April 9th of this year, just after we planted the summer garden.

And THIS was taken last weekend, May 5th -  olne month's growth.  All I can say is WOW!  Obviously all biological systems are operating on full steam   ahead.  I'm particularly impressed by the snow peas (we are harvesting every day).  I've also never seen strawberry leaves so big (although the birds seem to be getting most of those).  Our cucmbers are already blooming, the beans are blooming and the watermelons just started growing well this past week when we finally got some sunshine and warmth. 

I'm so excited, remember, this system has no chemicals, no soil and minimal input from the gardener.   We feed the fish several times a day.  The pump circulates the water up to the grow beds.  The grow beds fill with water, then the siphon forms in the bell siphon and the whole bed flushes out, drawing oxygen down to the plant roots as it travels back to the fish tank by gravity.  We also added red worms to the system in September along with a stock tank water heater (when we found out bream don't live in temps below 41 degrees).  Some of the fish are already large enough to eat. but others are still small.  Soon we will have fish for dinner!



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teachingmom123 - 11/12/2014

Hi! I live in NE Columbia and am gathering supplies to start an aquaponics garden. I was wondering if you know of a local place I can get the clay pebbles in bulk? Or where did you get yours? The start up is a little expensive for this type of garden but the payoffs should be great. It is just getting my hubby to see that is the problem. Any help you can give me would be appreciated.
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sc container - 11/16/2014

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. My computer died months ago, and with it, my access to my blog account. There is a wonderful hydroponic shop across from Sesquicentennial State Park where you can find (hopefully) a substitute for the hydroton. It is no longer available in the US. Good luck with your system. I live in the northeast as well...I had MAJOR problems with the neighborhood kids stealing my fish, so I took my system down. I miss it something awful. In my opinion, it is the best way to garden!
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kc - 07/01/2015

It's so sad that you took down your whole system because of theft. Any plans to circumvent the theives and try again? If not would you be interested in selling your set up for someone else to give it a go?
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sc container - 07/02/2015

I plan to install cameras this time and I will try it again...aquaponics is the ultimate in low maintenance gardening. You can easily set up your own system with a trip to Lowes for plumbing pipes, fittings and a pond pump...then another trip to Tractor Supply or your local feed and seed store for a few 50 gallon stock tanks and a big 300 gallon stock tank by Rubbermaid. They are the only stock tanks made from food grade rated plastic. You can reach me for further information at
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