Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 28th 2015 Contents A31
Saturday, March 28, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
feeding fish in
Water rich in
pumped from a
fish tank into
filter out the
Who needs soil to sow a sustainable
garden? You can cultivate plants in
midair, float them in mineral-enriched
water or add nutrients for an organic
harvest by using your own fish for
All of these methods can be done
indoors and year-round.
Hydroponics may be the most famil-
iar soil-less gardening technology. It
involves growing plants by floating their
roots in chemically enhanced water.
The operation can be automated with
a timer. Some systems are portable.
Aquaponics blends aquaculture
(feeding fish in tanks) with hydroponics.
Water heavy in organic animal waste
is pumped from a fish tank into grow
beds where plants filter out the nutri-
ents. The purified water is then recycled
back into the fish tank, where the
nitrate-production sequence is renewed.
Aeroponics uses no growing medium.
Instead, plants are strung over con-
tainers and their roots are misted with
a nutrient-heavy solution.
"The technology that is accelerating
this (soil-less) trend is the proliferation
of extremely effective and increasingly
energy-efficient grow lights," said Sylvia
Bernstein, owner of The Aquaponic
Source in Longmont, Colorado.
"With today's grow lights, any space
can become a year-round garden. I've
worked with people who are growing
in basements, garages, laundry rooms,
warehouses and classrooms," she said.
The systems are easy to learn and to
maintain, Bernstein said.
"First, there is no weeding involved.
And because you can set your grow
beds at whatever height works best for
you, stooping and bending can also be
minimised," she said.
Watering also is easier, especially
with aquaponics. "You simply top off
your tanks once every week to ten days,
versus the nearly daily watering that
an outdoor garden requires," Bernstein
said. Hydroponics is an uncomplicated
way to raise vegetables, said Richard
Tyson, Orange County (Florida) Exten-
"The floating system is one of the
most inexpensive, low-tech systems
around, and as long as you stick with
leafy salad crops and herbs, it is one
of the best for beginners," Tyson said.
As for aeroponic gardens, they need
little space, making them popular with
apartment dwellers. Their moist envi-
ronment is vulnerable to bacteria
growth and disease, though, so they
must be kept clean.
Nearly any freshwater fish that
thrives in captivity can be used for
aquaponic gardening, from goldfish to
catfish, trout to crayfish. The fish can
be purchased from licensed hatcheries,
while aquaponic, hydroponic and aero-
ponic kits are available at specialised
supply stores and online.
"The best fish to grow in aquaponics
are the fish that best suit your needs,
whether those be for food or fun or
both, and that are conducive to growing
the plants you are interested in grow-
ing," Bernstein said.
Fast-growing tilapia are the most
commonly used. Bernstein has trained
her tilapia to eat from a baby bottle.
soil easy, fun
We re not entirely sure what the
difference is between a classic open-
faced sandwich and the suddenly hip
world of toast with toppings.
Then again, maybe it doesn't much
matter. A thick slab of lightly toasted
good quality bread topped with deli-
cious ingredients is an almost unbeat-
able comfort food no matter what you
call it. Maybe it's because it reminds
us of when we were kids and Mom
would make toast for breakfast or to
have in bed when we were sick. Or
maybe it reminds us of late night snacks
Call it what you will, eat it when you
will. No matter what, gussied up toast
can be a great indulgence.
Jazz up your toast
Humble toast doesn't have to be
so humble. Here are 10 ways to mix
up your toast routine, from super
simple to almost a sandwich. Having
a party? Make miniature versions
and serve as appetizers.
• Blue lime: Spread multigrain
toast with lime marmalade, then
sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese
and cracked black pepper.
• Avocado-walnut: Top toasted
herbed bread with slices of avocado.
Drizzle with honey, then top with
fresh chives and toasted walnuts.
• Tomato butter and salami: Stir
together 1 tablespoon softened
butter with 1 tablespoon tomato
paste and 1 teaspoon capers. Spread
over ciabatta toast, then top with
shredded salami and torn fresh basil.
• Pesto chicken: Slice a baguette
in half lengthwise. Spread each piece
with pesto. Top each with shredded
rotisserie chicken, lemon zest, and
fresh mozzarella. Broil until golden
and melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
• Hawaiian: Spread a toasted
sweet roll or English muffin with
pineapple or mango jam. Top with
sliced ham, roasted red peppers and
• Dates and goat: Spread soft
goat cheese over toasted multigrain
bread, then drizzle with toasted
pumpkin seed oil and top with
chopped dates, black pepper and
• Tarragon-beet: Stir 2
tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
and 1 teaspoon lemon zest into 2
tablespoons softened cream cheese.
Spread over toasted rye and top with
thinly sliced cooked beets. Sprinkle
with toasted caraway seeds.
IDEAS FOR BETTER TOAST TOPPINGS
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