The spinach plant is a good plant for aquaponics systems, specifically for the nutrient film technique and deep water culture. Successfully growing spinach in aquaponics will require maintaining important growing parameters such as water quality and plant spacing. If you are interested in adding spinach to your aquaponics garden, this article can facilitate you on how to achieve that.
Why grow spinach in aquaponics?
Spinach does not require much space.
Spinach is easy to grow in containers and does not require a lot of room to grow. In fact, this plant is commonly grown indoors, using pots as their containers.
Spinach has many health benefits.
The vegetable we are considering is identified as a superfood. It has a lot of nutrients with a small number of calories.
Spinach leaves are dark green, indicating high in chlorophyll and health-promoting carotenoids such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These phytonutrients are particularly beneficial for eye health, as they assist in preventing macular degeneration and cataracts.
Spinach needs a lot of water.
Spinach is known to require lots of water and proper drainage. This quality is a good reason why aquaponics suits growing spinach. The easy access to water, which aquaponics provides, can help spinach achieve optimal growth without the hassle of going through the soil.
Spinach is a fast-growing plant.
Another notable feature of spinach is it is a fast-growing plant. Any plant with at least six pieces of three or four-inch long leaves can be harvested in six to eight weeks. In aquaponics, this may even be reduced because the plant will only work for its growth, given that the roots quickly detect nutrients.
What are the different varieties of spinach?
This variety of spinach is dark green with crinkled leaves and a vibrant "green" flavor. Each leaf is about 5 to 6 inches long. Savoy spinach is best cooked rather than taken raw because of its crisp texture and slightly bitter taste. It is usually marketed in bunches of fresh flowers.
Compared with the savoy spinach, the semi-savoy grows more upright, standing up a little straighter. Its leaves are also far less crinkly, making washing them much more manageable. Finally, they are disease and bolt-resistant, their most significant feature.
This form of spinach is distinguished from others by its broad, flat-shaped green leaves. The unique foliage is easier to clean than savoy or semi-savoy varieties. Another interesting fact about this variety is that flat-leaf spinach is the most popular choice among gardeners and consumers.
Alternatives: New Zealand and Malabar
- New Zealand spinach: This alternative spinach is a fragile annual, perennial vegetable cultivated in the country that bears its name. It is a low-growing, leafy plant with weak stems that can spread several feet wide and grow to a height of one foot. In temperatures ranging from 60° to 75° F (16-24° C), New Zealand spinach thrives best as a warm-weather annual.
- Malabar spinach: In other regions of the world, this spinach is a popular green leafy vegetable. Malabar spinach is a fragile perennial from tropical Asia, most likely India, Sri Lanka, or Indonesia. It can be cultivated as an annual in the summer heat. This fast-growing plant is a twining vine with soft stems that can grow up to 10 feet long as an annual (more extended as a perennial), although most gardens keep it short.
Which variety is best for aquaponics?
Although all spinach varieties I mentioned above may do well in aquaponics, from my perspective, I believe the semi-savoy and smooth leaf are the best to grow.
Which aquaponics setup suits spinach?
You will experience a productive yield of spinach if you grow them using the nutrient film technique (NFT) and deep water culture (DWC) growing methods in aquaponics. As already stated above, the spinach plant requires water and adequate irrigation. NFT and DWC are perfect in providing the plants with a continuous water supply because the roots are in contact with it.
What factors to consider in growing spinach in aquaponics?
Spinach does not work well with transplanting, so the only means to plant it is by direct seeding. Sow your spinach seeds in hydroton, one of the recommended aquaponics growing mediums. To ensure a continual yield, spinach plantings should be staggered — around 2–3 weeks apart.
The same material can be used to grow seedlings for your aquaponics system. Before transferring the roots to the aquaponics system, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.
When the water temperature is between 45° and 75 °F (7° to 24 °C), spinach flourishes as a cool-weather crop. Temperatures between 60°F and 65°F (16° to 18 °C) are ideal for growing spinach. Because mature plants can tolerate frost, spinach is a reasonable choice for fall gardens; sow spinach about eight weeks before the first forecast frost.
Spinach in aquaponics do well in a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. If you will sow spinach seeds in Rockwool, make sure it's pH balanced first. To achieve this, soak the plugs in 6.0 pH water for 15-20.
Because spinach does not produce lengthy roots, it does not require a deep growth substrate. As you sow the seeds, it is best to keep a distance of 4-5 inches between them. Suppose you aim to grow the plant in its full size, you can increase their planting spacing.
When cultivating aquaponics spinach, the bluegill is a fish to consider because it can adapt to a wide range of temperatures and is regarded as a hardy fish. They love cold water, although they can also survive in warm water. But you have to ensure that the water is not hot.
How long does spinach take to grow in aquaponics?
These leafy green plants may be harvested in 30-45 days. In harvesting, pull the leaves in small intervals because they go bad rapidly, so it is not advisable to take them all up at once, or there will never be any left for the next harvest.
Aquaponics has helped us cultivate nutritious foods in the comforts of our homes. Spinach, a favorite herb in many dishes, does well in this soilless food production. By utilizing the factors stated in this post, you have a good chance of cultivating a thriving spinach aquaponics garden.