Asheville man finds new career in ancient art of aquaponics
Cliff Jagger looks at a basil plant growing in his aquaponic greenhouse. He has created a business, Asheville Aquaponics, which sells kits that allow homeowners to raise fresh fish and vegetables in a system that circulates water and nutrients between tanks of fish and plots of mixed greens and vegetables.
Cliff Jagger looks at a basil plant growing in his aquaponic greenhouse. He has created a business, Asheville Aquaponics, which sells kits that allow homeowners to raise fresh fish and vegetables in a system that circulates water and nutrients between tanks of fish and plots of mixed greens and vegetables.
/ John Fletcher/jfletcher@citizen-times.com
Written by Dale Neal
ASHEVILLE — Everyone has heard the adage: Instead of giving a man a fish, it’s better to teach a man to fish.

But Cliff Jagger had a better idea: Why not teach fish and plants to feed each other to then feed humans?
Jagger made a good living as a landscape architect in Florida. Five years ago, he moved to the mountains and started renovating houses, just before that market collapsed in the Great Recession.
In his 50s and needing to reinvent his career, Jagger returned to a teenage interest — the ancient art of aquaponics — a self-sustaining agricultural system for producing protein and fresh vegetables.
“In Asheville, you have to diversify to survive,” Jagger said. “I’d read about aquaponics when I was young and was fascinated by the idea. It’s not anything new. The Chinese were doing this thousands of years ago.”
Last January, he set up Asheville Aquaponics, a business that fits the area’s growing appetite for sustainability. He builds and installs systems to raise tanks of tilapia fish. The fertilized water is pumped up to feed plots of lettuce and other greens, which in turn filter nutrients down to feed the fish below.
People have heard of hydroponics — growing vegetables in water, rather than soil — and trout farms are plentiful throughout the region. Fewer are familiar with aquaponics, which combines the two agricultural approaches.
A homeowner can use an aquaponics system to raise fresh fish and organic greens in a greenhouse, or even inside the home with smaller systems. Kits range in price from $75 to around $500, including installation.
Aquaponics is simple in theory, but it took some trial and error before Jagger perfected the setup. He started with 13 tanks in a small greenhouse behind his South Asheville house.
The tanks are food-grade plastic; currently he’s using containers that were used to ship olive oil. “It takes a while to wash away all the oil,” Jagger said.
He had a pump feeding tubes between the large 250-gallon tanks, until he figured out the water wasn’t circulating properly into the tank at the end of the row. He then had to put small individual pumps in each tank.
It takes about a month to balance out the pH levels in the water and the nitrates and other nutrients that are seeping through the gravel plots for the plants.
“I would recommend people trying to set up larger systems not try to do it by themselves.”
Jagger is selling more than PVC piping and pumps — he’s selling expertise. Along with the kits, he includes pre-seeded gravel and pre-treated water to avoid the toxic buildup that is the plague of aquaculture for trout farmers or hydroponic growers.
Jagger favors the hardy tilapia, which live on the bacteria and algae that naturally grow in the system, but a customer could raise catfish, trout or koi. Breeding the fish can be tricky, so he usually includes a few fingerlings in the setup. It takes about four months for the tilapia to grow large enough for harvest.
Jagger is still tinkering with keeping the greenhouse and the fish and plants at comfortable temperatures during the winter while keeping the electric bills low. He has experimented with composting around the greenhouse and solar fans for proper air ventilation.
But now he can step out back into his greenhouse and harvest fresh mesclun and greens, edible nasturtium flowers, basil, roma tomatoes and other herbs.
“You could grow watermelons in there if you wanted,” Jagger said.
One of his biggest clients so far has been the private Odyssey Community School, which bought two tanks as an ongoing demonstration for the private school’s science classes.
“It’s a new thing for the school, but it fits in with our mission teaching our kids about sustainability and the diversity of life,” said John Johnson, the school’s founder and executive director.
The school has 130 students in preschool through 12th grade.
Odyssey had a high school student build and install the solar panel that actually powers the system, while contracting Jagger to set up the tanks in a small greenhouse on the campus.
“The students are quite interested in the project. They love to see the live animals, and they can relate to the concept with the fertilized water going up to feed the plants, then dripping back down to feed the fish,” Johnson said.
The school’s fourth- and fifth-grade classes have taken on the care of the fish. Bags of the lettuce will be harvested and sold to parents at the school.
“And we’ll be harvesting the fish as well. They’re growing pretty nicely,” Johnson said.
In addition to Asheville Aquaponics, Jagger launched two other online businesses “to see which one would take off.” He started Biltmore Gift Baskets and sells survivalist food and first-aid supplies online.
Jagger says he gets more interest in the aquaponics business, and sells and installs about a system a week. He’s done exhibits at local organic farmers’ fairs and found more buyers, but he expects business to pick up as more people become familiar with aquaponics.
“People like the idea that no matter what happens in the world, they can still be fed with what they’re growing at home,” Jagger said.




全日照  8個小時日照 瓜類、茄果類、豆類、山藥、豆薯(地瓜)。番茄、黃瓜、茄子、辣椒等喜溫中、強光性









菜豆生育過程中,主要吸收鉀和氮較多,還要吸收一定量的磷和鈣,才能良好發育。結莢期吸收磷鉀量較大。磷鉀肥對菜豆植株的生長發育、根瘤菌的發育、花芽分化、開花結莢和種子的發育等均有影響。缺乏磷肥,菜豆嫩莢和種子的品質和產量就會降低。缺鈣,幼葉葉片捲曲,葉緣失綠和生長點死亡。缺硼,則根係不發達,影響根瘤菌固氮,使花和豆莢發育不良。 耐陰半陰(大概3-4小時日照) 應選擇耐陰的蔬菜種植,如萵…


蝶豆花 原產拉丁美洲的蝶豆花是一種典型的熱帶蔓藤植物,全年盛開。
butterfly pea,拉丁語叫:Clitoria ternatea,泰語叫Dok Anchan
營養價值 蝶豆花具有豐富的維他命A,C和E, 而且可以提高免疫力, 幫助和促進皮膚的彈力和骨膠原, 同時還具有補腦,促進腦的活力,防止胃痛,抗憂郁、抗壓力、鎮靜、止驚厥、緩和情緒等天然保健功效。
食用價值 蝶豆花的可食部位是葉、花及嫩莢。較幼嫩的葉片及盛開的花朵,亦可拿來煮湯、油炸等。用嫩芽來炒肉絲或煮熟後食用,都十分可口。蝶豆花的葉及花的萃取液,可當作純天然的食品染料。



◎飼養與管理的重點 只要不是劇烈的變化,錦鯉很容易適應各水溫水質等環境的變化。並不是沒有大庭園就無法飼養,有人甚至在二樓陽台或頂樓陽台造水池飼養。然而我們是欣賞錦鯉雄壯豪邁之氣,因此水池盡量寬闊為宜,以水深1.2m以上為理想。魚池必須有底水排出,過濾循環等設備。用水不一定要取地下水,自來水也可以飼養。
良好的魚餌不會崩壞鯉的體型。餌的量也是在夏天水溫 高的時候,訂定停餌期間,才是整體來說使鯉變胖最重要的秘訣。如果還是想 要給很多餌的話,要增加循還量。錦鯉在水溫超過28度的時候,應給與相當於 鯉全體重量3%的餌。水溫25度時1.5%,水溫20度時0.3%,16度以下則要停止鯉餌,這就是鯉魚長得強壯的要訣。連續不斷地給鯉餌的話,引起內臟障礙, 而影響到鯉不會長壯,甚至導至體型的變歪。