Last Updated on January 23, 2022 by Fabiola L.
One of the most exciting parts of aquaponics is finally getting to eat your fresh, homegrown vegetables. Lucky for you, we have created the perfect guide to choosing the best vegetables for your aquaponics system!
Vegetable selection is something that will affect your growing bed conditions and in some cases your fish choice. In aquaponics, the fish work to provide balanced nutrients for your vegetables to grow. It is a very symbiotic system.
Not only do you get fresh fish to eat, you also get delicious veggies. This is why aquaponics “kills two birds with one stone.” You get your proteins from fish and your nutrients from veggies all in one growing system.
Selecting the best vegetable for aquaponics will largely depend on your preference. But we have some key tips on how to choose the varieties that are most likely for success.
All About Aquaponics Vegetables
As in a regular garden, certain vegetables are easier to grow than others. If you are a beginner, you might want to start with fast-growing, easy vegetables like certain kinds of greens. However, there are a variety of plants for you to choose from.
First, let’s talk about how to make this decision. This may be pretty obvious, but you can start by thinking about which vegetables you like to eat! There is no sense in growing kale if you and your family do not like it.
Another awesome aspect of aquaponics is that you can grow almost all varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. It all depends on how you set your grow beds up.
Certain fruits need a deeper grow bed in order to produce something edible. Others might need full sun or a certain soil PH. Before preparing your beds, make sure to learn as much as possible about the vegetables you aim to grow.
Some of the more common vegetables you find in aquaponics are the lovely toma, cucumbers, peppers, cabbages, microgreens, and lettuces.
Now we will go into details of each veggie.
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Your New Aquaponics Vegetable Garden
One reason you see tomatoes in many aquaponics systems is because it is easy to grow this way. The tomato comes from the nightshade family. This is the same family that you can find peppers in.
Nightshades typically love high heat environments with full sun. Try to keep your temperature between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees F. This means you will have to pay attention to your tank water temperature as well.
Keeping this fact in mind, you can choose fish varieties that also like to live in a warmer environment. Pairing the fish with vegetable needs is a great way to make your life easier. A good fish to go with tomatoes is tilapia because they like similar temperatures.
If you want to keep your tomatoes thriving, you need to have well-drained soil. If the tomato roots are soaking in the water this will cause a variety of problems including root rot. In the end, your plants will die. So make sure you have adequate drainage for your tomatoes.
Tomatoes grow up and require some kind of support system to climb on. Be sure to keep this in mind if you want to grow tomatoes.
Learn more about: What You Can Grow In Aquaponics
Also, always pay attention to the spacing of your plants. If plants are too close, their growth will be limited.
One of my favorite selections in terms of the best vegetables for aquaponics is different types of greens. This could be lettuces, bok choy, mustard green, amaranth, and more. The reason I like this is because they grow fast and are relatively easy to grow.
Greens do not require deep-growing beds. This saves you material when you are building your system. Greens can thrive in wet conditions, making this an ideal veggie selection for your aquaponics.
You can start the seeds in a separate area and transplant them into your growing beds once they are larger. Or you can sow the seeds directly in the bed. Either way is fine.
One of the easiest greens to grow is Mustard Green. They germinate well, grow fast, and are pretty hardy. It is difficult to kill them. So, if you want something that is almost guaranteed success- start with mustard greens.
Other Considerations When Choosing Best Vegetables For Aquaponics
As with any growth, you need to consider many factors. Some main concerns that you will have to pay attention to are temperature, sunlight, growing bed depth, spacing, seed starting, and growing medium.
Growing medium refers to the exact type of soil or substrate you use to put your plants in. Some people use silica sand, peat moss, or regular soil with compost. Be sure to do your research and choose carefully in which one to use.
According to the University of Agriculture in Brazil, the growing medium will heavily impact the success of your plants. This means that if your plant needs a well-drained soil, you have to be sure there is enough sand in your mix.
For your starter mix, you can add a little bit of compost. But, ideally, you will not need to add outside fertilizers because all your nutrients are coming from your fish waste.
Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable forms of growing food. Since fish waste is very high in nutrition content, your plants can grow very fast.
It also makes your food healthier because plants absorb nutrients from the soil. These nutrients are then passed to humans when we consume the food.
This is why it is important to spend time choosing the best vegetables for aquaponics. Base your decision on what you like and what is going to grow well in your area. There is no need to pick something that will be difficult to grow.
Avoid choosing something that isn’t grown in your local area. This will make your life hard!
There is a lot of flexibility in your choices. So have fun and experiment with many things to see what works best.
Feel free to comment and ask questions below!
Candace is an aquaponics expert with over 5 years of experience in the field. She has a degree in environmental science from the University of California, Berkeley and a degree in aquaponics from the University of Florida. She is passionate about sustainable agriculture and has a deep knowledge of aquaculture and hydroponics. She has worked on numerous projects and has been involved in the development of aquaponic systems and fish farms. She also has experience in designing and constructing aquaponic systems. With her expertise, Candace is able to advise clients on the most effective and efficient way to construct and manage their aquaponic system. She is an active member of the aquaponic community, often speaking at conferences and seminars. Candace is dedicated to helping others understand the importance of aquaponics, and she is a strong advocate for sustainable food production.