If you have visited The Mississauga Food Bank recently, you may have noticed that a strange-looking structure has appeared in our aquaponics farm. This series of PVC pipes and troughs are part of our new Plant Nursery, which now houses up to 360 young seedlings until they are mature enough to move into the main raft system.
How does it work?
The plant nursery uses a form of aquaponics called Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). Often, NFT tables consist of pipes or channels with holes that hold plants. These channels are placed on a slight angle to allow water to flow from one side to the other while watering all the plants in the row as it goes along. The water is collected at the end of the trough and then pumped back up to the top where the process repeats.
Some commercial farms will grow greens to full size using this technique, but our farm only uses it to give the seedlings a “head-start” before they move into the main system.
What are the benefits of a nursery?
The nursery holds a lot more plants and uses less space. This lets us maximize the small footprint of the farm, while still being able to double the yield of our previous design!
If you want to learn more about aquaponics and our new Plant Nursery, sign up for a hands-on look at our farm during one of our monthly tours!