18 months ago we started with a greenhouse and some barrelponics. Barrelponics uses 55 gal barrels for fish and growing in an aquaponics system. We then moved to a pond liner and the floor being dug out, and used 4″ PVC drain pipe to contain plants. This worked for a while but learned some critical lessons.
1) If you do not harvest the entire plant, the root system will clog the pipes and you will have a reduced flow downstream. Since we use a constant flow system, this created overflow and loss of water, since the linter only covered the pond.
2) we extended the liner to everything under the pipes. This way if there was a leak or a backup, the liner would catch the water and no water loss.
3) the pipes and greenhouse were not heated this year, and as a result large ice masses formed. These masses were too heavy to support and resulted in system failure.
How we fixed the problems. We switched to a grow bed system, which has its own issues and problems but were much more manageable. These problems were grow media, weight issues, and plant support. The grow media was solved by using lava rock from left over landscaping. No increased cost. The weight was solved by adding additional supports and using shelves father than lashing to the support structures.
This is May 2012
This is July 2012 after putting in the liner
Here is how things look today. We have actually increased our growing area quite a bit. Still have a few more grow beds to add too.