And it is that gardens can be very productive if they are used for cultivation, we recently talked about the Dervaes family in Los Angeles, who have managed to grow more than 2700 kg of food in 400 m2 in their garden. But let's focus today on the McClung family project.
With the help of family and friends, and many hours of research through the internet, the self-sufficient garden pool was born. What was once a cement hole has been transformed into a greenhouse with an incredibly prolific closed-loop ecosystem, growing everything from broccoli to sweet potatoes ... and a myriad of products that may be enough to feed a family of 5 persons.
In the first year, the pool garden will have reduced up to three-quarters of the McClungs family's monthly grocery bill. By the age of five, an active community of garden-pool advocates had been generated throughout the country and the world.
What started as a family experiment and blog is now a nonprofit organization with a small staff. He has been voted the best backyard farm in Phoenix, has been on National Geographic TV, and formed a group in the Phoenix area that has close to a thousand members. Hundreds of local volunteers, students, and gardeners were attracted to help build a dozen orchards - swimming pools in and around Phoenix.
Scientists and engineers from Cornell University, Arizona State University, and even the space industry have visited the McClung family pool garden. This spring, the association's volunteers together with Naturopaths without Borders travel to Haiti to build a garden - swimming pool there. In addition, Dennis tells us that they have helped through email and telephone to build more than 30 orchards - swimming pools throughout the United States, from Florida to Toledo to Palm Springs.
At first, McClung just wanted his family to be able to live more sustainably. Now that you've seen all the interest these ideas are getting, and how incredibly productive a pool garden can be, he says, "I want everyone to be able to build great ecosystems."
And these ecosystems are quite large. Instead of soil, the plants grow on balls of clay or coconut fiber. The excess humidity in the pond in the form of drops, which in addition to a rainwater harvesting system, makes the garden require a small fraction of the water normally used in a conventional garden. This is especially important in places where water is at a premium.
Instead of commercial chemical fertilizers, an aquaponic system is used, where animals and plants grow in balance.
The McClungs have added pygmy goats and lots of fruit and walnut trees to the backyard, so their mini farm is starting to look a lot like a traditional yet urban farm.
The construction process is not as complicated as it seems at first glance. In addition to online tutorials, McClung teaches the technique in face-to-face courses.
He also just released the second edition of his book, with 117 pages of detailed instructions, illustrations, photos and QR codes that link to video tutorials. Its objective is to encourage the construction and maintenance of these types of facilities, of which nothing remotely similar had been done before, whether or not you have a pool.