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Plants

The following video clip will give you an idea of plant growth in an aquaponic system. Please excuse the poor quality of the images, but these are 100% real images taken daily of my system at home just outside my back door.

In any and all of the previously mentioned methods of cycling a system we recommend that people plant out their beds as quickly as possible. Personally I like to use a combination of seedlings and seeds.

 

Seeds germinating under the more advanced plants
Seeds germinating under the more advanced plants

You can sprinkle seeds over the top of your growbed media then plant seedlings throughout the bed. As you are digging in the seedlings to plant them, the various seeds will get buried in the media and before long they will germinate and fill your growbed.

 

When planting seedlings we strongly recommend washing the soil or potting mix off the roots of the seedling before planting. I know some people don’t do this, but it’s adding unnecessary contaminants to your system in the form of organic matter, sand and slow release fertilizers.

You can very simply get a bucket and put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of it, you may also like to add some seaweed extract to this or worm juice, these will aid the new seedlings in establishing well. Now simply remove the seedling from the punnet, swish it in the water and the soil should easily wash off the roots. You don’t have to be too careful to get it all off, just the majority of the soil.

 

When planting in your growbeds, plant everything very densely, you can plant things a lot closer together than you would in the soil because these plants with have as much water as they can want. Try and make use of areas where plant growth can expand and extend, if your system is located near a shed or wall or fence, erect something for the plants to grow up, and plant climbers like beans peas, tomatoes, cucumbers etc so that they can grow up things. Other plants you may want to let ramble, you can plant a pumpkin in one corner of your growbed, then let it spill over the side and ramble over things. Vacant unproductive land with poor or no soil is fine because the pumpkin plant gets all of its nutrient and water from the system, yet collects sunshine from where ever its long tendrils grow.

What Plants Can I Grow

I know people who have grown just about everything, from trees through to potatoes. You can pretty much grow anything, though a few things to keep in mind when deciding what you will plant. Quite a few people are growing dwarf fruit trees in half barrels as part of their system, here’s one members trees.

IBC’s and Blue Barrels for part of Ivans System
IBC’s and Blue Barrels for part of Ivans System

 

 

Dwarf Peach Tree
Dwarf Peach Tree

 

Firstly, you want to grow things that you will eat, there’s not much sense in growing lots of cabbages if you don’t really like them or eat them. You also want to be sure that you always have things growing in your system. Say perhaps you only have a simple system made from the one IBC like our sample system on this website, one growbed above the IBC fish tank. You never want to pull out all of the plants at once, otherwise there is nothing left to extract the nutrients from the system. It’s always best if you can have a broad mix in the system at any one time, mature plants, half grown plants and seedlings all at once, that way you are able to cycle through plants, removing the mature ones and planting new ones to replace them, while leaving many plants in there using up the nutrient.

To give you an idea of how plants can grow in an aquaponics system, check out some of the following pictures from members of the forum, these have all been grown in different aquaponic systems.

Nice broccoli grown at the BYAP shop
Nice broccoli grown at the BYAP shop

 

 

Silverbeet leaf of a plant Simo grew
Silverbeet leaf of a plant Simo grew
Lovely Cauli grown by Welshdragon
Lovely Cauli grown by Welshdragon

 

a beetroot weighing over 1kg
a beetroot weighing over 1kg

 

Armenian cucumber weighing over 2kg
Armenian cucumber weighing over 2kg

 

Ok, not a vegetable, a beautiful trout grown in Ivan’s system
Ok, not a vegetable, a beautiful trout grown in Ivan’s system

 

A couple of tomatoes Charlie grew
A couple of tomatoes Charlie grew

 

Hydrophilia grew this nice caulli
Hydrophilia grew this nice caulli