Saturday, June 27, 2015

The amazing Duckweed plant

Wolffia - smallest duckweed - one we are looking for

(common duckweed) Lemna minor - what we found at a local pond
 One of the key strategies to our self sustaining farm and fish pond is the use of Duckweed.  There are many varieties, but the predominate ones in SE Asia is Wolffia and Lemna.  Under the right circumstances, the plants are prolific breeders, often creating huge masses in only a few days.  With a protein content level of up to 40% plus tons of other vitamins and nutrients, it has more food value than soybeans.  In other words, its a Superfood.  Duckweed can be grown is large quantities from nitrogen rich waters such as from fish ponds.  In turn, it cleans the water of the nitrites and other toxic elements and makes the water pure again.  

Only found Lemna, but that might be the one that\grows best in our area

So our plan is to revise the original specs to include a smaller pond for duckweed cultivation and biomass and nitrite filtering.   We will pump fish pond water up to a slightly elevated and shallower pond where we will grow duckweed for fish food.  The water is then released back down into the fish pond after being purified by the duckweed growth or released to the khlong for crop irrigation.  Depending on the number of fish, we can technically grow all the fish with little or no commercial fish food, using only duckweed.  In order to keep the water circulating, a few small, solar powered water pumps is all that is necessary.  In theory, we will have totally green, self sustaining fish ponds and a source of alternative protein for livestock feed and even human consumption (but I prefer the fish instead).

can be harvested by the bucketfull

The environmental conditions for growing duckweed in Thailand are ideal.  In fact, it grows too well and is a pest for some people who want to keep their ponds and fountains clear.  In our case, I will see $$$ instead of pests and hope to make this one of our advantages.  Vegetarian grown Tilapia will be mercury free, animal byproduct free, and hormone free.  Yes, it can also carry the label of being 'organically grown" (more $$$).  We are lucky to have an abundance of sunshine and a source of water so this is something that can be economically viable.

B's father found an initial source of them after I told him about duckweed.  They were from his friend's pond.  We now have some buckets full of them for testing and starter plants.  Its a pest for him and he says we can have all we want.

Common sight, never knew it was good stuff  until recently

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