Microponics

Definition - What does Microponics mean?

Microponics is a term that was coined in 2008 by Gary Donaldson, an Australian urban farmer. Donaldson successfully combined micro-farming with hydroponics to create a new solution that might be better called integrated aquaculture, but on a smaller scale suitable for a residential backyard rather than the industrial food system.

MaximumYield explains Microponics

Microponics sounds a little confusing at first, but it’s actually a very simple gardening system based on how the environment of the planet actually works. In most growing and farming situations, everything is taken out of context, removed from the cyclic rhythm of nature. Chemical fertilizers are used to foster plant growth, rather than organic waste material, for instance.

In microponics, everything is integrated on a small scale. However, according to the urban farmer, Gary Donaldson, who coined the term, it differs from aquaponics, the system on which it is based. Where aquaponics takes a narrow view of growing, using a fish tank and the waste from those fish to fertilize grow beds that act as filters for the water, microponics takes a wider view.

The base system is the same (a recirculating aquatic environment), but with microponics, water is not always recirculated back to the original tank holding the fish – it can sometimes be used in an open loop system, or in a combination of open and closed loops. There are also non-traditional growing mediums found in microponics, such as vermiculite.

However, perhaps the most interesting difference is that microponics can be combined with other “water-wise” growing systems, such as square foot gardening and permaculture, in ways that aquaponics cannot. Because of the ability to connect to open loop systems, where fish waste fertilizes the grow media and the water is not recycled to the tank, it is adaptable to fit virtually anyone's growing needs or yard size.

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