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Aqua+Hydro Farming at Hannaleigh Farms

by evh on May 14, 2013

There are so many exciting things happening in the Austin food world. During a recent conversation with fellow food-lover, and all-around-easy-going-cool-person, Laura McCarley, from Way Out West and I were discussing that very thing. Over the course of our conversation, she suggested going out to meet farmer Rob Nash of HannaLeigh Farms located at his new location in Spicewood, TX. Rob Nash is a pioneer leading the way in happy merriment of the world of aquaponics and hydroponics and he was one of the first people to combine the ideas together for a no-waste initiative resulting in growing great produce. Over the years, through much trial and error, he began paving the way for this once unique way of farming to become more mainstream and started teaching his findings to those looking to learn. Upon meeting him you can sense his strong love and passion for his farm, way of farming and produce. Beautiful basil, Japanese eggplant, Swiss chard, tomatoes, strawberries and perhaps the best lettuce and spinach I’ve ever tasted in my life – full of flavor and sweetness unlike any other I have tasted – AMAZING, really.

The two large greenhouses, on his property, have the sounds of trickling water and the occasional fish coming to the surface with a ripple giving it a very calm and tranquil feel. After talking with Rob – VIEW THE VIDEO HERE – about the process and steps used to create a hydro/aquaponics garden it seems very doable and actually makes water-wise sense in our drought-ful state. The basic idea is to become self-sufficient (hello, apocalypse!) by using Tilapia fish (or Koi) to help feed and fertilize your crops by adding good bacteria to your plants based in rock beds containing red wiggler worms which help turn the process out and then the water is cleaned and sent back to the fish tanks to start the process over again. The water is very controlled and there isn’t the use of regular soil or dirt to cause any unnecessary leakage or drainage and “steal away” the water supply — it’s so efficient you can even grow plants vertically. Plants are protected from many of the outside elements; deer, bugs, high-heat and winds, as they remain in the fairly open-aired greenhouse. If you are interested in starting your own little aquaponics set up, Rob Nash is your guy, he teaches workshop and training seminars here. If your just looking for some of the best lettuce and produce you’ve ever tasted then be sure to check him out at the Lone Star Farmer’s Market every Sunday at Bee Cave Shops of the Galleria from 10am–2pm.

Swiss Chard from HannaLeigh Farms

Swiss Chard from HannaLeigh Farms

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HannaLeigh Farms Greenhouse

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HannaLeigh Farms Talapia

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HannaLeigh Farms and Austin Aquaponics Growing Together

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