So, what can we grow for aquaponics plants? Or the question should be reversed to, what can’t be planted with aquaponics?
From my knowledge, there are more than 300 plant types that have been roven to grow well with aquaponics. Really all leafy plants, most herbs and flowers strive with aquaponics systems. The major plant group that doesn’t do well is the root vegetables.
Do bear in mind though that your geographical location and weather conditions will determine your plants of choice, naturally. That is of course unless you have a greenhouse to go with your aquaponics system. You can pretty much control your climate conditions in a greenhouse.
Grow 4x Faster
There was a test conducted in Canada where they found that some vegetables and herbs grow four times faster in an aquaponics system compared to a hydroponic environment. The benefits are great growing with aquaponics and research and development projects are well on the way and in the pipeline to make this system the future of agriculture.
The question I often get when it comes to aquaponics plants of choice is, what should I plant? As obvious as it may be, the answer lies in what plants do you and your family like. Yes, start with that and venture into more exotic plants when you have gained more confidence with aquaponics.
We have had great success with lettuce, tomato, kale, spinach, bok choy, chilli, salads, lettuce, cucumber, beans, egg plant and mint to name a few. Then you have the aquaponics herbs like lemongrass, coriander, sage, watercress, basil, parsley and the list goes on. Even if you are not sure, just give it a go. You have nothing to lose here.
Where should I sow the seeds? Well, the answer is you can do so in the soil first and then transfer the seedlings to the growbed after they are about 2” long. The alternative is to sow them directly to a media-based growbed. Generally small seeds that grow well on soil would make good aquaponics plants when sowed directly in the media-based growbed.
I’ve found plants with larger seeds do not respond that well though. For these variants I would recommend option one above, to grow them in soil then have its seedlings transferred later.
What if There Are Bugs?
Firstly you need to identify if they are bugs that are harmful to your aquaponics plants. To your relief, most bugs can be removed by spraying a water jet over your plants. In more serious cases especially aphids, (white fly) they can be a nuisance once they have multiplied. In these instances, an organic insecticide may be called for to safe your vegetation.
Please do take note to avoid pest control solutions that contain Pyrethrum and Neem. This is regardless if they are organic or non-organic, as these contents are toxic to fish. Do bear in mind that no matter how safe any insecticide claims to be, avoid by all means from spraying directly over the fish tank, aquarium or a fish pond that you may have.
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