Aquaponics caters to numerous vegetables that we know, including the favorite broccoli. By providing broccoli with the required parameters it needs to grow healthy and strong, you are guaranteeing yourself a good harvest. Let this article guide you about the fundamentals of broccoli gardening via the aquaponics food production system.
Why grow broccoli in aquaponics?
Broccoli is packed with nutrients.
Broccoli is high in vitamin C, K1, folate, potassium, manganese, and iron, among other vitamins and minerals. All are necessary for our bodies to be strong and healthy. Compared to most vegetables, broccoli has a significant protein content, with protein accounting for 29% of its dry weight. Raw broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber per cup (91 grams), around 5–10% of the Daily Value (DV).
Broccoli is easy to cultivate.
The crop is not difficult to grow, requiring little maintenance effort across its growing stages. It is also safe to say that even novice gardeners may grow the vegetable all by themselves.
Broccoli loves water.
90% of broccoli is water which hints that the crop is a water-loving vegetable. This fact is another good reason you can grow broccoli in aquaponics since this system is a water recirculating food production system.
What are the different types of broccoli?
Instead of central heads, this broccoli has more stalks and smaller individual florets. Sprouting broccoli is white or purple and is slightly bitterer than the other types. The flavor of white sprouting broccoli is softer and a little sweeter than that of purple broccoli.
This form of broccoli, also known as kai-lan or Chinese kale, is unlike any other since it lacks florets and has broad, thick leaves that are bitter when compared to Calabrese and sprouting broccoli. Chinese broccoli has a short growing season of at least 35 days and thrives in hotter climates, making it an ideal plant to grow in the summer.
A variety of broccoli is regularly offered in supermarkets and marketplaces. Gardeners recommend calabrese broccoli because it has a long harvest window and produces side shoots even when the main head is removed. Calabria, or "the toe" in Italian, inspired the name of this classic plant.
Broccoli that can withstand high temperatures is a good source of vitamins A and C. Medium-small green beads, a smooth dome, and a spherical shape characterize this mid-early, compact, heat-tolerant broccoli cultivar. Destiny is a tasty source of A and C vitamins. When planted in the summer, this variety is best for harvesting in the fall.
Which variety is best for aquaponics?
The varieties mentioned above are adaptable and suitable for aquaponics. You just have to decide which one will thrive in your region. For this reason, try to select varieties that fit the climate of your locality.
What aquaponics technique suits growing broccoli?
Media-based aquaponics is the best way to plant broccoli in the aquaponics system. The main reason for this is that the crop becomes heavy as it matures, and the media-based setup can keep it in place.
Another good reason media-based aquaponics is perfect for broccoli is that this setup allows for expanding the vegetable's root system.
What factors affect growing broccoli in aquaponics?
Transplanting is the typical method of planting broccoli.
Before transplanting the seedlings into your media bed, ensure they have at least four to five true leaves. The plant should be between 5.5 and 8.0 inches tall at this point.
It takes 4 to 6 days for seeds to germinate and reach this stage. Aside from that, because broccoli has a vast root system, you must consider the space for transplanting. Seedlings should be spaced at least 17 to 20 inches apart. Planting them closer will result in smaller center heads in your crops.
Despite its susceptibility to high temperatures, broccoli is surprisingly resistant to pH alterations. According to experienced growers, the ideal range is between 6 and 7, which will work with almost any fish you'd like to keep in an aquaponics system.
If you are germinating seeds, the appropriate temperature would be 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius). This temperature reading encourages the development of the plant. Once you have achieved germination, the temperature may increase but ensure that it will stay above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
Air temperature affects the quality of broccoli you cultivate in your growing bed. For the broccoli crop, the recommended range is from 55 °F to 65 °F (13 °C to 18 °C). Failure to provide the plant with this suggested range will lead to bolting.
Gravel is the ideal medium for broccoli vegetables. However, you should make sure that it's free of limestone. Any limestone-containing pebbles should be cleaned in vinegar and then rinsed. It is known that limestone will raise the pH of your broccoli aquaponics system, potentially hurting your plants.
Broccoli's balanced pH and temperature requirements give you a wide selection of companion fish. Tilapia is highly recommended because of its high resistance to diseases and since this fish is not difficult to manage.
Understanding the stages of broccoli growth can help you improve your aquaponics system.
- Germination stage: At this stage, the seeds begin to grow in the presence of moisture, nutrients, sunshine, and temperature. Broccoli seeds will sprout in 4 to 6 days under typical conditions.
- Seedling stage: During the seedling stage, which lasts four weeks, all of the necessary structures for water and nutrient absorption, as well as food synthesis, have developed.
- Vegetative stage: Broccoli seedlings will lengthen and expand throughout the vegetative stage to establish a complete set of leaves, roots, and stems. The broccoli plant has matured to the point where it can receive minerals and water from the soil while synthesizing food through photosynthesis.
- Flowering stage: Broccoli's flowering stage is the final stage of its life cycle. Pick the heads before the blooms appear if you are growing broccoli for vegetable purposes. This, of course, depends on the type that you cultivate.
How long does it take to grow broccoli in aquaponics?
The ideal growing period for broccoli lasts approximately two to three months.
Broccoli is a healthy plant which makes it a good choice for your aquaponics veggie garden. It is also not difficult to care for that even beginning growers are safe to cultivate it. But of course, you still need to equip yourself with the correct information to rear this green properly. This article should provide you with the basics of broccoli aquaponics that will give you a good headstart.