Wheatgrass can grow well using aquaponics. This nutritious plant can reach the optimal harvest stage, provided the grower gives it everything it needs. This article is prepared to help you grow wheatgrass in a soilless method while cultivating fish simultaneously.
Why grow wheatgrass in aquaponics?
Wheatgrass is nutritious.
The plant under consideration is a food that is said to be a superfood with numerous health advantages. It's typically consumed as a fresh juice, but it's also available as a powder.
According to a 2015 study, the nutrients in wheatgrass help your body get rid of pollutants and accumulated toxins. Based on a 2011 scientific review, chlorophyll aids in the elimination of harmful chemicals and supports healthy liver function. After your body has been cleansed, you may notice increased energy and overall better health.
Wheatgrass is easy to grow.
Another good reason you could choose wheatgrass as an addition to your aquaponics garden is that it is easy to manage, from start to finish of its growing stage. This plant is even recommended to those growers who are new to aquaponics.
Wheatgrass loves water.
One good practice of having a successful wheatgrass harvest is consistent watering of the young grass plant. In an aquaponics system, this need is sufficiently met.
Wheatgrass does not require ample space.
When you decide to grow wheatgrass, you would not need to use a big space to accommodate it. This plant grows well even if they are planted close to each other. Being a space-saver, wheatgrass suits your small growing beds.
What are the different varieties of wheatgrass?
Although bluebunch wheatgrass can be used to generate native hay and nutritional feed, it is better suited to grazing. All types of cattle and wildlife enjoy bluebunch wheatgrass.
Early in the growing season, Western wheatgrass is quite tasty. It produces a large amount of feed under ideal growth circumstances suitable for all types of domestic animals. It provides adequate fodder for pronghorn and other species. Western wheatgrass is a desirable winter fodder since it heals well.
Slender wheatgrass makes excellent hay and is appealing and nutritious for cattle. It's one of the wheatgrasses that elk and bighorn sheep favor at higher elevations. Because of its strong seedling vigor and establishment properties, slender wheatgrass is recommended for use in reclamation mixes. It is also tolerant of salty soils to some extent. Thin wheatgrass seedlings are robust in seed combinations and provide strong early plant cover. Plants have a brief lifespan, allowing other plants to establish themselves.
Wheatgrass, formed from newly sprouted leaves of the common wheat plant (Triticum aestivum), has grown in popularity in recent years. It's sold in health food stores and juice bars all around the country. The majority of individuals consume it as a juice, taking a 1 to 2-ounce shot or putting it into a smoothie or juice mixture. In most health food and grocery stores, it's also available in powdered and supplement form.
Which variety is best for aquaponics?
The variety that we will consider is the common wheat since this is the type that humans can consume. The common wheat also is the one that provides good nutrition to the human body.
What aquaponics technique suits growing wheatgrass?
Deep water culture is the best aquaponics system to use in growing wheatgrass. In this aquaponics approach, the wheatgrass is placed in a floating raft, and the roots are submerged in nutrient-rich water. This setup enables the plant to absorb significant amounts of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in rapid growth.
What are the factors to consider to grow wheatgrass in aquaponics?
Wheat grows well in a slightly acidic pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. This pH range allows the plant to efficiently process all of the needed micro and macronutrients.
Wheat grass loves temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 24 degrees Celsius) when you start your crop. As a result, growing it indoors is the perfect place to start because you can maintain the ideal temperature range.
Do note that the young grass may endure lower or higher temperatures after it reaches 1/4′′ to 1/2′′ in height, as long as its roots remain comfortable. However, the 60-75 degree range I mentioned above is ideal for the finest yield.
Just like any other plant, wheatgrass requires varying amounts of light at different stages of development. For this reason, I suggest that you place the seeds in a warm, bright light but out of direct sunlight when they are first sown. Move the grass into direct sunlight as soon as it germinates, which generally takes one to two days in grains that have been soaked overnight.
Considering that wheatgrass is a cold-climate plant, it is practical to rear fish that thrive in similar temperatures. Trout, salmon, and carp are ideal companion fish for wheatgrass.
Pests and Control
Black bugs are common pests affecting wheatgrass. The insect will pierce the blades of the wheatgrass and suck the juice inside of them. The development of white spots on the grass blades is a known symptom of black bug infestation. To deal with black bugs, you may introduce biological control agents such as tiny wasps (parasitizing the eggs), ground beetles, spiders, and crickets. If you do not control these unwanted bugs, they will cause severe damage to your wheatgrass.
Another common disease among wheatgrass is mold. This disease is typically caused by overwatering. Although mold is not considered a significant threat to your wheatgrass growth, it can still affect the taste of the plant. To prevent mold growth, ensure that the plants receive the right amount of water. Inspect your system, such as the pumps, because this leads to overwatering. In case the plants have mold, you can clear them by washing or removing the damaged blades.
How long does it take to grow wheatgrass in aquaponics?
Wheatgrass is ready to harvest when it reaches a height of about 7" and 10" tall, which takes around 7-10 days after sprouting. You may harvest wheatgrass by cutting the blades using a sharp and clean pair of scissors as close to the growing medium as possible. After some time following your harvest, you will notice that your wheatgrass will start to grow again. You may still harvest such sprouts, but note that they are not as nutritious as the first batch.