I have long been facinated by growing plants on water where fish are present. I started with the floating veggie raft on our fish pond and for over a year I had been looking for a system that was easy, interlocking, and that could obviously float. After many hours of internet research I came up with ZERO.
While looking to sell products for my company, I stumbled across a product that looked very intresting, I had a 5cm slatted (net) pot with me and tried it for size and it fitted like the product was made for it.
49 x 5cm Pots can be fitted into each section, with a total of 208 pots per square metre. It interlocks and can be used as a round or square configiration, in water trays, on furrows, reservoirs, dams and ponds where fish are present to create the waste that the plants need to grow.
The problem was how to float it
Step 1: Floating the GLAIRS (GL Aquaponic Interlocking Raft System
After a month of trial and error, due to the cost, a light, closed cell foam, was cut to size and fitted into the underside of the raft.
Would it float?
With 2 extra rafts on top it floated itself plus the 2 extra rafts (about 2 kilograms)
Step 2: The Plant Collar
Due to weight concerns, I had to come up with an alternative to having substrate in the pots, after researching on the web I came accross plant collars, but as these are not available in South Africa, we made our own for both the 5cm and 7,5cm slatted (net) propagation pots from closed cell foam, using a die that was made especially for them.
And this is what the GL Aquaponic Interlocking RaftSystem looked like with the plant collars inserted into the pots.
Step 3: Loading the Collars
This was the easy part.
Slip the seedling into the collar, fit into the pot and load the raft
Step 4: Float the Raft
Place the raft on your water body, either an open reservoir or water tray and now the waiting starts.
Just wait for your plants to grow and harvest
This system has multiple applications; not only to be used to grow food and herbs, it can be used to grow flowers or plants which can help filter the water.
Due to the number of cells per raft, one can make letters from plants in each raft to advertise your compamy name or guests name.
I have not gone into huge detail as this system is commercially available in South Africa