The February Master Gardener meeting featured Mark Krause, owner of Windy Drumlins, LLC Aquaponics, located one mile south of Horicon on Highway S.
The major idea of the presentation is that we need to live off the land as much as possible. In the case of Mark Krause, he and his wife Fran live atop a drumlin. The field of corn is gone; instead, the property has a large pond of water, two apiaries, a vineyard, a chicken coop that is mobile so it can be rotated around the property, and a site to maintain bees. The edible outcome is sausage, peaches, apples pears, honey, and greens from the huge greenhouse. Fran Krause uses nature’s playground for painting gourds she has grown and making willow furniture – both products she sells.
Why should people use aquaponics? Food products need to become more energy efficient and move away from oil. Aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (soil-less growing of plants is one integrated system.
The beginning of our modern-day Aquaponics occurred in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Work began at the New Alchemy Institute. Dr. Mark McMurtry et al. North Carolina State and Dr. James Rakocy of the University of the Virgin Islands are specifically credited with advancing Aquaponics.
The cast of characters include: bluegills and perch in the water, Bacteria (nitrosomonas and nitrobacter), and plants.
Mark concluded his presentation by showing pictures from his countryside operation and the equipment he and his sons use 365 days a year.
Tina Hopp, a current trainee of Level I Master Gardener Certification is shown here with Mark Krause of Windy Drumlin LLC. Mark is explaining the DO meter used to measure oxygen.