Although carrots are identified as root crops, these nutritious vegetables can also be an excellent addition to one's aquaponics garden. Using the proper aquaponics technique and giving the plants everything it needs to grow and thrive, you can guarantee yourself a productive harvest of carrots.
Why grow carrots in aquaponics?
Carrots are easy to grow vegetable crops.
Carrots are simple to grow as long as their growing requirements are within the acceptable range. They are also known as semi-hardy plants that they can grow throughout the cooler months of the growing season since carrots can tolerate frost.
Depending on the cultivar and local growing circumstances, carrots reach harvest size anywhere from 2 to 3 months to mature. The best season for this would be planting them in the spring and summer.
Carrots are healthy.
Undoubtedly, carrots are famous for the health benefits they provide to humans. These crops are packed with biotin, potassium, and vitamins A (from beta carotene), K1 (phylloquinone), and B6. We can even add other vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamin A: The beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, is abundant in carrots. This nutrient is vital for growth, development, immunological function, and good vision. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3142734/)
- Biotin: This is a B vitamin formerly known as vitamin H, is essential for fat and protein metabolism. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757853/)
- Vitamin K1: This vitamin is also called phylloquinone and has a crucial role in blood coagulation and bone health. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15018483/)
- Potassium: This is another vital mineral found in carrots that helps to keep blood pressure in check.
What are the different varieties of carrots?
There are four main groups of carrots that eventually describe their cultivars. I have shortlisted them below:
The Imperator carrots are remarkable in appearance and flavor, as the name suggests. They have relatively long roots, up to 10 inches long, heavy in sugar, and delicious to eat raw. These carrots need to be grown in loose, deep grow beds to attain their full potential. If your garden medium is unsuitable, you can still grow tasty imperator carrots, but the downside is a stumpy and twisted appearance.
Their rounded shoulders and pointy ends recognize these carrots. Danvers carrots are the standard medium-length carrots you often see. They reach a height of around 6-7 inches and can withstand heavier and shallower grow beds than their imperator counterparts. Their deep orange color, great flavor, virtually coreless roots, and high storage qualities make them famous.
The carrots from this group are recognized for being nearly flawlessly cylindrical and smooth, with a blunt rather than pointed tip and almost the same diameter from end to end. They are practically coreless, fine-grained, and sweet, making them ideal for juicing and eating raw.
Chantenay carrots have an appearance of light orange flesh and orange-red colored cores. These are also short, thick carrots. They reach maturity in 65-75 days, with roots that are typically 4 to 5-inch (10-13 cm) long and 2 to 2 1/2-inch (5-6.5 cm) thick.
Which variety is best for aquaponics?
All of the above varieties of carrots favor the aquaponics way of gardening. Basic research can assist you in deciding which cultivar of carrot to choose. As long as you give the carrots sufficient care, they will thrive well in aquaponics regardless of the variety.
What aquaponics method is best for growing carrots?
The media-based aquaponics is the most suitable system to grow delicious carrot crops. The reason for this is in the media-bed aquaponics, the practitioner uses a specific medium that acts as the soil in traditional farming.
What factors should I consider to grow carrots in aquaponics?
Once you have prepared your growing medium, you may place your carrot seed in it. Simply scatter the seeds into the growing medium, ensuring they are not too close together. It's best to leave half an inch between them.
Carrot crops thrive in a pH range of 5.8 to 6.5. The pH of the growing medium impacts how carrot plants absorb nutrients. But, some cultivars of carrots thrive in pH ranges of 5.5 to 7.0, allowing for rapid nutrient uptake and robust growth.
Carrots are cold-season crops, and the preferred water temperature for them ranges from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.55 to 21.11 degrees Celsius).
Under temperature, you should also consider giving your carrot plants enough sunlight exposure. Carrots are a plant that thrives in direct sunlight. Sunlight is essential for the development of carrots. Although carrots can tolerate partial shade, it is still a must that you give them at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Consequently, carrots that do not receive enough sunlight have low crop yields.
In aquaponics, the medium of choice for underground plants, where carrots are identified, is gravel or hydroton. Both of which provide the roots something to grab onto for support which is essential for their growth and development. Coco coir, a growing media that works incredibly well if the veggies are to be potted in a cloth bag or a pot, is an alternative to them.
The nutrient-rich water from the fish tank will flow freely through this setup. The coco noir's moderate compression action helps the root vegetables grow to their typical identifiable shapes rather than those that customers consider malformed.
The typical fish companion of the aquaponics carrots is that which loves cold waters. Trout, salmon, and fish that belong to the carp family are a good choice. However, the tilapia fish can also work well. Suppose you will not eat the fish, I recommend that you choose koi and goldfish since they are decorative fish.
How long does it take to harvest carrots in aquaponics?
If grown in soil, carrots will require 70 to 80 days to reach maturity. However, aquaponic farming allows you to grow plants and fish in a short amount of time. Because the plants have unfettered access to nutrients in their roots, they can grow up to 25% faster than if they were cultivated using the traditional soil farming.
This article proved that many plants could be grown, some of which we thought were impossible, by employing the aquaponics system. By growing carrots in your aquaponics garden, you prove how effective this food production approach is. Such new means of vegetable cultivation have become necessary since we are looking for more sustainable ways of feeding the growing human population.