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About the author


Gary Warden was raised in the Perth Hills. After graduating from the University of Western Australia with a degree in Geology, Gary joined BHP Billiton where he spent 18 years working in a variety of roles in a number of locations around the world. Prior to leaving BHP Billiton in December 2006, Gary was Global Manager for the company's US$1Billion business improvement program.

While he was originally sceptical about the claims relating to climate change, he became convinced of the urgency of the issue in early 2006. He left BHP Billiton primarily to spend more time with his young family, but also to dedicate himself to creating a more sustainable life for himself and his family and to support others in making that change.

In September 2007 he was trained by Al Gore and has delivered the "Inconvenient Truth" lectures to thousands of west australians since then. In November 2007 Gary ran for the senate in the Federal Election representing the Climate Change Coalition.

In addition to his climate change lectures, he has facilitated Living Smart workshops across Perth. Between 2008 and 2009 he was on the Executive Committee of the Conservation Council of Western Australia including one year as Vice President.

Gary co-founded and is Executive Director of the very exciting Days of Change program, one of the largest sustainability programs in Australia and is now General Manager WA for Eco-Kinetics, one of the largest Solar PV companies in Australia and subsidiary of ASX-listed CBD Energy.

Aquaponics Producing a Rich Bounty

by Gary 2/23/2009 8:22:00 PM

Towards the end of 2007, we used Joel Malcom and Faye Arcaro from Backyard Aquaponics to install a large aquaponics system adjacent to our house in Piesse Brook.

The system consists of six large grow beds, a small sump tank and a large 3000 litre fish tank. It took us a while to get the system set up right. For example, initially we stocked the tank with just 25 Silver Perch. We found that this stocking level didn't produce enough effluent from the fish to supply the grow beds with enough fertiliser for the plants to grow effectively.

Since adding an additional 125 Silver Perch, we haven't looked back. The vegetables have been growing like crazy and we've now successfully harvested lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beetroot, spring onions, celery, artichokes and capsicums in the grow beds.

The fish are also now plate size and ready for harvesting. 

The system is large enough to provide a large proportion of our fish and vegetable needs.

One of the great things of this approach, is that it uses just 10% of the water of traditional vegetable growing methods. So in an increasingly dry climate, this is a great way to go. The only downside is that the pumps do require electricity to run, however we have 2kW of solar PV panels being installed tomorrow, so this will help us run those pumps free of emissions.

Backyard Aquaponics

The six grow beds. Celery and spring onion in the foreground.

Backyard Aquaponics

Broccoli and young artichokes doing well.

Backyard Aquaponics

Succulent cos lettuce and spinach.

Backyard Aquaponics

The 3,000 litre fish tank, covered to keep children and predators out.

Backyard Aquaponics

A plate-sized silver perch straight from the system.

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Comments

5/7/2009 3:09:54 PM

Denise King

HI Gary

This is amazing. I have heard about aquaponics before and am quite interested in installing a small system that will fit in a small courtyard area, perhaps even espaliered.

Kind regards


Denise

Denise King au