Berries, such as raspberries and strawberries (Link to article), are promising candidate plants for aquaponics farming or gardening. They can grow ideally in aquaponics systems as long as you are able to provide the necessary parameters leading to a healthy raspberry plant. Continue reading and discover the factors you should consider to achieve a robust and productive aquaponic raspberry.
Why grow raspberries in aquaponics?
Raspberries are easy to manage.
Among growers, raspberries are commonly identified as easy-to-manage plants. Although they may reach a height of four to six feet, caring for this type of plant will not require much effort from you. The growth and development of the plant depend on how you provide its necessities, such as pH range, temperature and humidity, sunlight, etc.
Raspberries contain essential nutrients.
The red raspberries, which are the most well-known, consist of numerous nutrients despite possessing meager calories. These edible fruits are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, wherein the latter is necessary for improved immunity and boosted iron absorption. According to an animal research study, raspberries and raspberry extracts contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties that may help you avoid chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
What are the different varieties of raspberries?
In terms of color, raspberries are identified by the pigment they showcase: red, yellow, purple, and black.
Black and purple raspberries are commonly referred to as black raspberries, whereas red and yellow raspberries are widely labeled as red raspberries. Although black and purple raspberries are nearly related to red raspberries, their distinct marks would be their larger fruits and heat tolerance. But they are less resistant to cold conditions.
Raspberry bushes may also be grouped in two: summer bearing and everbearing. Now, how can we differentiate each other?
Summer bearing raspberries: Members of this species follow the conventional bramble fruit life cycle of sending up green shoots (primocanes) the first year and bearing fruit on floricanes in mid-summer the following year. After fruiting, the canes die.
Everbearing raspberries: These are self-pollinating and produce two crops, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial gardens. The berries are medium-sized rose-red raspberries with tiny seeds that are tangy and delicious. September Everbearing Raspberry is one popular cultivar for both home and commercial use. It has two harvest seasons, with a modest crop in June and a heavier crop in September.
Which variety is best for aquaponics?
In deciding which variety of berries you should cultivate in your home garden, you could grow the everbearing type. Practically speaking, this variety allows you to harvest raspberries twice a year. Commercial growers also choose fall-bearing raspberry for the same good reason.
What aquaponics technique suits growing raspberries?
Media-bed aquaponics is the best option for your aquaponics raspberries. The fact that you are somehow mimicking soil-based gardening in this technique explains why it best suits raspberry cultivation. For the better harvest of berries, it is suggested that you add some trellis to your grow bed to assist the plant's vertical growth.
What factors affect growing raspberries in aquaponics?
Planting raspberries via seedlings could be challenging to accomplish, which is why you should transplant them. You can purchase raspberry transplants or canes from nurseries and garden centers. Just ensure that these have already been chilled, which will allow for the period of cold dormancy they require.
For best fruit production and overall plant health, raspberries demand full light. At least six hours of direct sunshine every day is considered as full sun. Photosynthesis, which is plants' biological process of converting sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into the sugars that make up the delectable berries, requires sunshine.
Raspberries reach optimal growth when they receive the correct pH level. The pH level of your aquaponic raspberries should be between 5.8 and 6.5. Ensure that the plants receive their preferred pH, especially during the early stages of their growth.
To ensure that your berry plants are thriving, the water going to your grow bed should have the appropriate temperature. Experienced gardeners agree that the ideal water temperature for aquaponics berries ranges from 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 23 degrees Celsius). This range aids the plant in achieving a healthy root system and enhanced nutrient absorption.
The quality of fruits your raspberry plants can produce depend on how you encourage pollination among them. If your aquaponics growth is situated outside, then pollination will occur naturally through the bees and other insects. Suppose you are growing aquaponics plants indoors, you would need to manually assist the flower for pollination. You can do this by gently brushing each open flower using a soft brush.
In terms of fish companion, hardy fish such as the Red Ear Sunfish is a good choice. This species prefers a water temperature of 73 to 77°F (22.7 to 25°C), which is relatively similar to what raspberries require. An alternative for the Red Ear Sunfish is the bluegill. These fish are an excellent choice for aquaponics and aquaculture looking for a less tropical fish that can thrive in the kind of water raspberries prefer.
How long does it take to grow raspberries in aquaponics?
This all depends on the variety of raspberries that you decide to grow. As mentioned above, the everbearing cultivars give you twice the number of harvests compared with the summer-bearing types.
Growing your fruit is truly a rewarding experience since you have an emotional investment in your aquaponics plants. To see them thrive and produce raspberries provide you with a sense of satisfaction because all the effort you put in is now making sense. By applying the information I provided here, growing aquaponics raspberries becomes possible and successful.