When Dennis and Danielle McClung bought a foreclosed home in Mesa, Ariz. Their new yard featured a broken, empty swimming pool. Instead of spending a small fortune to repair and fill it, Dennis had a far more prescient idea: He built a plastic cap over it and started growing things inside.
Thus, with help from family and friends and a ton of internet research, Garden Pool was born. What was once a yawning cement hole was transformed into an incredibly prolific closed-loop ecosystem, growing everything from broccoli and sweet potatoes to sorghum and wheat, with chickens, tilapia, algae, and duckweed all interacting symbiotically to provide enough food to feed a family of five.
At first, McClung just wanted his own family to live more sustainably. Now that he’s seen the all the traction these ideas are getting, and how awesomely productive a Garden Pool can be, he says, “I want everyone else to build great systems.”
And these systems are pretty great. Instead of soil, the Garden Pool’s plants grow on clay pellets or coconut coir. Excess moisture drips into the pond below, and that, plus a rain catchment system, means that the whole thing requires a tiny fraction of the water used in a conventional garden. This is especially crucial in a place like Mesa, which gets just a little over nine inches of rain per year.
Instead of commercial fertilizer, chicken droppings fall through wire mesh strung across the pool’s deep end, nourishing the algae and duckweed in the pond below. The tilapia eat the pond plants, release their own nitrogen-rich excrement, and the fish water then gets funneled (using a solar-powered electric pump) into the hydroponics system that grows the family produce.
The McClungs have added pygmy goats and a bunch of fruit and nut trees to the backyard mix, so their mini farm is starting to look a lot like a very hopeful — and very delicious — urban future.(source)
It has been about 1 year since our first video. Here is a quick update of the inside of the Garden Pool. Thanks for the views and support!
In this video Dennis McClung, Founder of GardenPool.org talks about how he converted a typical empty swimming pool into a food producing oasis in his backyard in Mesa Arizona. The pool was surprisingly inexpensive to retrofit and does not require a great deal of time to manage and yet his family of 5 is able to produce up to 75% of all their own food needs! Be sure to check out GardenPool.org for more into and to donate to their upcoming humanitarian project in Haiti.
Its winter and everything is green
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