Aquaponics combines hydroponics – the practice of growing or planting plants in water – with aquaculture, breeding aquatic animals such as fish, shrimp, crayfish and snails. By connecting these two methods, a symbiotic environment is created that helps both fish and marine life to thrive.
You can design aquaponic systems in all shapes and sizes, depending on your space and resources. Larger plants such as legumes and squash require large amounts of energy and nutrients, which requires larger systems, while plants that do not need such large amounts can thrive in smaller systems. Below is a list of plants that you should consider growing when setting up aquaponic systems of all sizes.
Best herbs for Aquaponics
Ginger is a very versatile herb that has traditionally been used to make Asian dishes but is used all over the world today to make ginger hearty, ginger beer and other extracts. Growing them, however, would require some degree of patience as they are not known for their rapid growth. It can take as long as a year for the ginger plant to mature, so the best reason for the action would be to put some cuttings in a corner and just leave them alone.
Unlike ginger, it grows quite fast and is a member of the mint family. It is an excellent choice for all aquaponics systems due to its tolerance to water and high temperatures. It takes as little as five days to germinate and can be harvested within a month. Removing the flowers as soon as they appear prolongs their growing season.
Coriander is a very popular plant because of its versatility. It is grown for its leaves and seeds and gives the food a better taste and aroma. They bloom in water apone systems. They grow very fast and are resistant to a majority of the common pests in such systems. Coriander usually takes between six to eight weeks if grown from seed and four to six weeks if grown from seedlings.
Although considered vegetables by some nutritionists, tomatoes are fruits that grow very well in such settings. It is relatively easy to regulate the amount of sunlight and the temperature they are exposed to, which makes it easy to create an optimal environment for them to thrive. In some cases, however, tomatoes can attract pests that sometimes prove difficult to eradicate.
Sometimes it can be difficult to grow peppers with the conventional methods due to their specific requirements for water and sunshine. A small aquaponics system that allows you to monitor and control the temperature and nutrient levels would be perfect for growing peppers. If necessary, the flood and drainage method can be used to achieve the desired result. This method requires a siphon.
An aquaponics system means that cucumbers not only grow regularly but also make them thrive. However, their root system tends to be very extensive, so you need to monitor your siphons and pipes to prevent blockages. They also tend to accumulate a lot of nitrogen and can deprive other plants in your system of nitrogen. To counteract this, it is advisable to place your plants. 12 to 24 inches between plants is enough.
This is a fantastic plant to have in a water aponics system as the fruit can be enjoyed at any time of the year. They require very little maintenance and each plant takes up very minimal space, although you need to grow as many of them as possible if you want a significant harvest.
Other fruits that would thrive in an aquaponic installation include carrots, beets and bananas.
Given that it is a staple food for many cultures around the world, it is just the right type of plant to have in a water aponic system. In addition to keeping temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 6.2 and 6.6, there is not much else you need to do. In general, they can be ready in just over two months.
This is another vegetable that generally requires little or no maintenance to grow. The fact that it is also resistant to most common diseases and bugs makes it perfect, especially for beginners in water aponics. It takes at least three months to be ready for harvest and should be kept away from direct sunlight for maximum yield.
Watercress is a relatively easy vegetable to grow in an aquaponic setup. It is popular because it grows to maturity very quickly. A small plant grows almost exponentially. Though. Its high growth rate can be a problem as it can easily take over your cultivation bed so that it is clogged and leaves less room for other plants.
Lettuce is among the most productive leafy vegetables when grown in an aquaponic installation. It grows best in water with temperatures between 70 and 74 degrees. All you need to think about is whether you will germinate the plants in a germinating tray or grow them directly in the watercourse system. A germinating tray helps reduce the loss of seeds. Lettuce is suitable for beginners and can do well in small water-aponic systems.
If you want to grow plants for ornamental purposes, you should consider flowers such as dahlias and cosmos to give your system a distinct and beautiful look.
When you go into water aponics, the best plants depend on the size of your system and external factors such as temperatures. The best plants for you would be the ones that thrive under your conditions and need as little intervention as possible. However, you can just as easily check these conditions to give you an efficient and favorable way to grow your fresh food all year round.