You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.
Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants! In today’s episode we’ll be talking about the aquaponic process of construction; namely that of a workbench and area to do your aquaponic “stuff”.
If you’ve been listening to these episodes in sequence, then this is last one on construction, and I thought it was quite important to add. You see, you don’t want to end up like me.
Well, currently, I work on the floor. Or the washer. Or the dryer. Or scatter things out on the deck. Or the bed of my truck. Or any place that has a flat surface and can accommodate my needs at the time. It’s kind of sad to have to say that, but it’s true. And I don’t want you to have to suffer with that.
Well, suffer might not be the right word, but sometimes I really feel that way. You see, not having an area that you know you can get dirty, mess around on, and then come back to makes you a little too wound up. At least I am. Having that feeling of needing to get done with a task so you can clean up and have your normal life use the space you were using is just tiring.
For all of you have spent any time in an RV, a small to medium sized RV, then you may understand this. If you want to have a flat spot to do any kind of activity, that probably means using the table…you know, the table you just had breakfast at, and will soon have lunch at. So what do you do if you are going to take all day, or longer? Do you prioritize eating at the table, or let your activity dominate until it is done?
The same holds true if you’ve ever had a small apartment, or any shared living space where most areas and surfaces are multipurpose.
So not having to deal with that headache is why I decided to include this topic today. Planning for a dedicated workbench and/or work area is a good way to ensure your sanity and calmness down the road. At least it would have been for me!
Alright, enough on the pity party of my workbench woes. What are a few things we should be looking at when it comes to a good workbench and work area?
Well, size matters here, believe it or not. Having a huge table is just about as far the opposite as what I’m doing with working on the floor. You want a place that allows you to work on your activities, but also a little more wiggle room. That wiggle room can just be blank space, storage space, dedicated tool space, or some combination of these and more. Giving yourself that wiggle room allows for those “glad I had that” moments and modifications or expansion in the future. I’d figure out the rough space I need to do most of my tasks, which is roughly two feet square, and allow for 10-25% wiggle room as a starting point.
Next, I’d say ergonomics for your workbench is important. If you’re on the taller side, then do all you can to get a taller bench. If you prefer working while sitting, make sure to get a good chair, and that you can match the height of your table to your chair. The obvious point here is to make sure you are comfortable with the setup you have. Creating pain and agony over something as simple as a table’s height is ridiculous. If you go the cheap route like me, then you don’t need an adjustable table—just put some bricks under the feet and shim it until it works good for you. Afterall, if you’re going to spend any time with this thing, you want to feel good while you are there!
Ok, the last big area to consider is location. That means how close are you to your aquaponic system, water sources, electricity, and any needed supplies. Also take into account the walk path flow around the bench any pinch-points like doors or gates nearby. You want flexibility here, but not so much that you end up doing a hike to get everything to your work area. It may come down to a compromise between where you have space for your bench and how much of a walk it is to your bench. That’s fine. In my case, I’d be tickled to just have a bench at this point so I’d gladly make a compromise.
Well, I could go on about types and styles of workbenches and optimizing this or that, but the real take-away I want to impart you with today is figuring out what the minimum work area size you need is. And if you want to be an over achiever, figure out how much of a bench you really need. Then, making those tweaks and optimizations are just a matter of time until you have the things set up just the way you want them.
So go get started. And don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time. Afterall, you won’t be working on the floor like I am!
Take care and happy aquaponicing!
This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.