Build your own Chinampa


A Chinampa is basically a floating farm. It is a dirt/hydroponics hybrid system placed on a floating raft originally built by the ancient Aztecs. chinampa,chinampas

These were rafts made of rushes and reeds lashed together and topped with nutrient rich soil from the bottom of Lake Tenochtitlan. Crops were planted in the soil on the raft and roots extended down into the lake.

I have read arguments that this is not hydroponics because it involves dirt - well, it does and it doesn't. The dirt and reeds were used for plant anchoring purposes with nutrients coming in from the roots dangling into the lake

The beauty of this system is the fact that nutrients were leached from the raft dirt onto the roots in the water to feed the plants.

Whether this was 'true' hydroponics or not does not really matter for it is still basically gardening without soil. What I would like to see is a modern version of this system. I have in mind a small wood frame box raft covered with a mesh or net. On top of this is placed some hay covered with a thick layer of dirt sprinkled with hydroponic nutrient.

Anchor the rafts on shore with rope and let the rafts float on the shoreline where most minerals leached from land will be. Merely pull them in for maintenance or harvesting...This would be an excellent way to plant corn.

Plant your vegetables on this and normal wave action on the raft bottom would start leaching some nutrients down to the roots. Of course, whenever it rains a new layer of dirt would need to be added to the top of the raft...


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