Garden Pool – A 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization for sustainable food production research and education!
Garden Pool was created to document converting an old backyard family swimming pool in to a closed-loop ecosystem and has since evolved in to an international non-profit organization.
The GP (short for Garden Pool) was a one of a kind creation invented by Dennis McClung in October of 2009. It is truly a miniature self-sufficient food-system. Rather than keeping our creation to ourselves, we have decided to share it with others. GPs are being built all over the world offering an easy and sustainable solution to current food production challenges. The Garden Pool system uses more than 98% less water than conventional farming methods, has next-to zero external inputs, uses no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and raises very nutritious food!
Garden Pool is a federally recognized 501(c)3 public charity dedicated to research and education of sustainable ways to grow food. Our mission as a non-profit is to develop better ways to grow food and help others do the same. Our operations are based in Mesa, Arizona at the home of the original Garden Pool. We are working on bringing the Garden Pool system to the rest of the world!
The Garden Pool system combines:
- solar power – harnessing and storing the sun’s energy
- water conservation – using less water by recycling wastewater and harvesting and storing dew & rainwater
- poultry farming – raising chickens & ducks in a closed-loop symbioses with the fish, pond plants, and the vegetation from the Garden Pool.
- closed-loop aquaculture – raising tilapia fish and the feed for the fish in the system itself while continuously recycling the fish pond water.
- organic horticulture – using natural methods to control garden pests without using chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers to grow.
- hydroponic gardening – growing fruits, veggies, & herbs without soil
- aquaponics – the symbiotic cultivation of produce and fish in a recirculating hydroponic environment, the Garden Pool way.
- biofiltration – natural water filtration method using biochemistry and a special mix of pond plants, including duckweed.
- thermal mass – thousands of gallons of water that is warmed by the sun and being surrounded by earth and concrete provides “inertia” against temperature fluctuations.
- permaculture – GP systems mimic relationships found in natural ecologies.
How To Make a Garden Pool:
Step 1: Dig a pond or reuse an empty pool.
The Original Garden Pool was an empty and run-down swimming pool.
Most GP’s are usually either pool or pond-based systems. A pond can be hand-dug in a day with helpers, but always call before you dig to make sure there aren’t buried utility lines. You can also repurpose other water storing items such as barrels or IBC’s. Get creative and reuse what you have. It is best to place the pond inside the greenhouse to take full advantage of thermal mass.
This pond-based GP system uses an 8' x 8' pond that was hand-dug and lined with pond-liner.
Step 2: Build a Greenhouse
The original Garden Pool was framed with 2" x 6" lumber and the hoop structure was made from 3/4" PVC.
Step 3: Cover the GP with Plastic or Shade Cloth
This GP, the first rooftop GP in Haiti, is being covered in shade cloth.
Step 4: Add a Solar Setup
The original Garden Pool is solar powered to run the pump.
Step 5: Add Plants, Chicken or Ducks, and Fish
The original GP has a pond in the deep end of the old swimming pool. It is now a food producing ecosystem.
Once you add life to a GP it transforms in to an ecosystem. Algae from sunlight and animal waste begins the process. Algae is fish food and the fish waste is plant food. The pond plants help feed the poultry and fish. Once established and properly maintained, GP’s are self-sustaining. A once useless space can be transformed into a highly productive and easily scalable food-system that uses a fraction of the water traditional farming methods use without external feed, pesticides, or fertilizers.
This 8' x 8' pond has been filled and stocked with fish. The pond is the irrigation and rain-catchment cistern for the rooftop GP.
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Step 6: Grow Food & Harvest 365 Days a Year!
This pond-based GP was built by Garden Pool volunteers in one day. The family now has an amazing GP!