Off season produce anyone? Try Aquaponics!

Tomato harvest... In December

Like the rest of the country, Santa Barbara has seen some below freezing temperatures lately. While this freak weather for a place famous for its absolutely stunning weather puts us in a chill while we’re working, our produce just keeps humming along. Air temperature the other morning at 7:30- 35 F, water temperature 60 F. Thank you solar hot water!

Here at Santa Barbara Aquaponics, we advocate for sustainable solutions to societies problems with food. We will readily admit that we’ve got a long way to go but one of the great parts about what we’re doing is working with solutions that try to reduce our impact on, well, everything. Since early this spring, we’ve had a solar hot water system installed that has done a great job of keeping our water temperature up so the metabolism of our catfish stays high, so they want to eat a lot, so they poop a lot, so a lot of nutrients are generated, so…. you get the picture. We could have installed electric heaters and gotten the temp up higher. Natural gas heaters weren’t really an option with no gas line nearby but we could have also looked into propane but we really don’t need it. The solar does a great job in keeping our water temperatures above ambient most of the time, and since channel catfish can survive low temperatures, unlike Tilapia, we’re ok either way. But since we don’t want water temperatures to be low, we’re stoked to have a significant bump up in water temperatures, thanks to our trusty solar hot water heater.

The tomato plants look great and are so far, no worse for wear from multiple nights of below freezing temps. We may be singing a different tune later this winter but for now, we will be happy that our hot water comes from the sun!

Randy Turner