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
- Melons and Squashes
- Herbs of all kinds
- 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.
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.
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?