Oyster gardening is a popular hobby for homeowners. LOC can help … even if you don’t have direct water access.
Oyster Garden gear comes in all shapes and sizes. This is a hybrid float that supports over 9 bags that can hold as many as 250 adults per bag.
Why you ask, “would I want to DIY oysters if I am a member of an oyster club”?
We admit, dockside oyster gardening is not for everyone but as many we work with report, growing oysters is fun and fascinating.
Of course, there are all sorts of indirect benefits to this hobby. For example, each adult oyster filters around 50 gallons a day so for a small garden, you are helping clean our waterways by filtering over 1 million gallons annually.
Helping the environment is on all of our minds, but growing your oysters to consume is very satisfying also. Depending on where the oysters are raised in our watershed, the water might be condemned or restricted, so human consumption should be carefully considered. This is where the club can help. LOC can foster-parent your oysters on the farm for a period of time (14 days minimum) so they are safe to eat.
Here are the three basic steps to get started:
The Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) issues free oyster gardening permits for those seeking to float oyster gear off their docks. It is a minor administrative detail to legitimize your effort.
If you would like some help getting started, drop us a note. Most gardens can get started for around $250. If we do not have used gear to offer you second hand, there are some local providers we can refer and facilitate for new gear. We can also help get you starter seed. And as mentioned earlier, we can assist you with water options as well.
As recently reported, triploid oysters are purchased as seed of various sizes and are grown out in gear to protect them from predators. Because triploids never spawn, they continue to grow during the warm breeding season allowing them to reach market size (+/- 3”) in half the time as native oysters. However, you can also purchase diploid seed. Diploids DO reproduce so if you want to contribute to a growing watershed population of wild oysters, consider gardening for the sole purpose of producing breeding adults. Once fully grown, they can better protect themselves and can even be released where they will continue to spawn for years to come.