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Best Plants for Aquaponics

  • Posted on 15th January 2014,
  • written by
  • with 6 Comments
Best Plants for Aquaponics

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Beginning a major or minor investment with aquaponics can be a fun and nutritional experience, but there are definitely some questions that will arise, such as, Which plants are best to grow with aquaponics? The best way to answer that is to decide which plant you would like to eat best.
To simplify, nearly all edible vegetables as well as fruits can be grown with aquaponics. This can include, but is certainly not limited to:

  • Leafy Greens
  • Legumes
  • Melons and Squashes
  • Berries
  • Herbs of all kinds
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Even some tropical fruit trees!

So, pick something enjoyable. Of course, some plants will thrive more than others, with greens such as kale and lettuce doing well no matter the aquaponics setup, and some preferring a more heavily stocked aquaculture fertilizer source, such peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli. However, plants that need a more established aquaculture in the closed-circuit system often have higher nutritional values or output, making the farming worthwhile. One good plan is to plant your system to start with lettuce, kale, strawberries and herbs and when your fish population is thriving, harvest your small leafy plants and add your heartier vegetable plants.

It is important to note that you cannot grow root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes or sweet potatoes in these systems as they cannot form their tubers and roots in the rock grow mediums.

Basil does exceptionally well in aquaponics, behind this basil is an overflowing bed of mint which is another herb that flourishes.

Basil does exceptionally well in aquaponics, behind this basil is an overflowing bed of mint which is another herb that flourishes.

 

Different plants do well in different aquaponics setups as well. The best way to get the most from aquaponics is to plant strategically. If you have one 4×4 rock bed, try planting one large tomato plant in the middle with a supportive cage so it can grow up. Be prepared to have your plants produce more fruit than they would in the ground, one tomato plant is generally sufficient for a family. That can be surrounded by other smaller vegetables, and sprawling plants, such as zucchini and cucumbers can be grown around the edge so they come off of the system and don’t waste any space. sample planting plan

This sample plan should in no way restrict your ideas, but give you some inspiration for how a system can be planted. This would be a 4×4 rock bed surrounded by a Nutrient Film Technology system running off of the same 4×4 fish tank that sits underneath in either of our systems. It is easy to see here how a variety of edible plants can be planted in a very small area and each of these systems can produce massive amounts of produce. Additionally, vertical formats can be added, such as towers that can add additional slots for 12 plants, or frames for more vines to grow up.

HATponics has successfully grown many varieties of plants in countless different aquaponic configurations and are always happy to work one on one with clients to determine the most efficient use of space in each individual system to fit each individual person’s needs.

HATponics has recently opened our online market for purchasing basic and residential aquaponics systems, making now the best time to begin an aquaponics adventure. Why not take part in the future of sustainable agriculture?

This article has 6 comments

  1. […] Beginning a major or minor investment with aquaponics can be a fun and nutritional experience, but there are definitely some…  […]

  2. I wouldn’t say you CAN NOT grow root crops in aquaponics. I’ve grown carrots, jicama, and sweet potato in gravel beds and I know others who have grown regular potato in expanded shale. It is true that gravel beds might not be the best way to grow root crops and it will depend on the type of gravel and the shape of the bed as to how easy it is for the roots to push the gravel out of it’s way in order to grow. I think by far the most important part of figuring out what you can grow in aquaponics has more to do with appropriate season/climate and location for planting than it has to do with aquaponics. For instance I get a lot of people who seem all excited about aquaponics because they seem to think it will let them grow all of their food in something the size of a bread box sitting indoors in a dark house or something. Sorry, the plants still actually need what plants need to grow, space, light, air, water, and nutrients. Just because aquaponics is a great way to provide much of that automatically, it doesn’t change the fact that the plants need sun or at least a lot of really really bright light and trying to grow lettuce in a hot desert summer or basil in the winter might not be all that effective.

    • vickers.shaun@yahoo.com
      Monday 20 January 2014, 12:12 pm

      Thanks for that, we will have to experiment more with root vegetables, our carrots were pretty funny looking when we tried it. I think we will try it with a lighter grow medium than straight gravel. It is definitely true that aquaponics does not eliminate the normal needs of plants, but definitely provides a lot of versatility because you can move your system outdoors or indoors or cover it and heat it for temperature control, as well as use green houses and different lighting sources to optimize growing.

  3. […] Beginning a major or minor investment with aquaponics can be a fun and nutritional experience, but there are definitely some…  […]

  4. […] Beginning a major or minor investment with aquaponics can be a fun and nutritional experience, but there are definitely some…  […]

  5. […] Beginning a major or minor investment with aquaponics can be a fun and nutritional experience, but there are definitely some…  […]

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