Aquaponics can accelerate the growth of plants by at least 10 - 15%. This feature makes aquaponics one of the most efficient ways of growing plant foods. This article will give you more information on how aquaponics help plants achieve their maturation at a faster rate.
What plants grow faster in aquaponics?
One could produce a long list of plants whose growth rate accelerates significantly if grown using the aquaponics method. What I can provide for you in this article is a shortlist of plants that have enjoyed a faster-growing cycle in any aquaponics system.
Lettuce: If you're new to aquaponics, lettuce is a recommended plant to start with. It grows swiftly, and you can harvest it in 4 to 5 weeks after planting it as long as you use the appropriate method and conditions. The floating raft or deep water culture, as well as the utilization of grow beds, are recommended soilless methods for planting it. It flourishes best in water that is between 21 to 23 degrees Celsius (70 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit) and has a pH level of 5.8 to 6.2.
Kale: Another plant that develops quickly in aquaponics is kale. This vegetable is ready to harvest in just six weeks, compared to 3 months if grown in soil. The ideal technique to grow kale is in a tower or raft system, and it's best cultivated in the cooler months with a pH between 6 and 7.5.
Cabbage: Many consider this veggie as a great option for your aquaponics garden. Just like the first plants, cabbage quickly reaches maturity in an aquaponic system provided it is given the proper conditions, and it can be harvested in 80 to 180 days. It prefers temperatures of 7 to 24 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), with a pH of 6.2 to 6.6. Because this crop thrives in the sun, it's recommended to grow in a sunny spot if feasible.
Tomatoes: We all love tomatoes, which explains why they are a great choice for our home aquaponics garden. They are recognized to grow quickly in an aquaponic system if the conditions are perfect. There will be noticeable development in two weeks, and fully grown flowers will appear around four weeks after planting. Harvesting takes about eight weeks or two months. The gravel bed method and deep water culture are the best ways to grow tomatoes.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a heavy plant, so media beds with a good flood and drain system are the best aquaponics system to utilize. This technique is advised since it supports the weight and helps your plant's roots develop, resulting in a healthier harvest. The average harvest time of this vegetable is 50 to 100 days, but in aquaponics, this is shortened to 75 to 80 days.
How is plant growth accelerated in aquaponics?
You may be wondering how can aquaponics hasten the growing stages of vegetables grown in it. Here are some good reasons I know that could satisfy your curiosity.
Direct nutrients access: In traditional farming, the plant's roots are reaching through the soil in order to obtain their needed nutrients which will promote growth. The problem is that the roots are expending energy in locating the essential nutrients.
In aquaponics, this is prevented because the roots are in direct contact with the nutrients present in the water. Therefore, more energy is spent by the plant for its growth.
Better aeration of the roots: Another contributing factor to why there is an increase in the growth rate for aquaponics plants is the roots are oxygenated in a much better way. Plant roots grow best when they have enough space to absorb oxygen. If you are using clay balls in your grow beds, your roots receive 30% more oxygen every time the water is drained than those buried underground. Such a situation steps up the growing process of the plant.
Plenty of water: The best thing about aquaponics is your plants are given sufficient water. In traditional farming, watering the plants cannot guarantee that they get the water they need. It could be that they are too drenched or overwatered. Whatever is the case, these situations do not favor your growth.
This challenge is perfectly dealt with in aquaponics. In this system of food production, adequate watering is done for you. Whatever method you decide to utilize -- nutrient film technique, deep water culture, or media bed aquaponics -- your plants receive nutrient-rich water regularly.
What factors affect plant growth in aquaponics?
In an aquaponic system, the pH water level should be between 5.5 and 7.5. The plants would be unable to absorb nutrients even if they were available in the water if the pH level exceeded the normal range due to nutrient blockage. The recommended pH, on the other hand, will constantly be influenced by the fish and plants being grown in the system.
One of the most crucial characteristics of growing fish via the aquaponics approach is your water's dissolved oxygen (DO). This factor is also essential for the beneficial nitrifying bacteria that transform fish waste into nutrients that your plants can consume.
The recommended water temperature for aquaponics is between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 30 degrees Celsius). In this range, microbes, plants, and fish will thrive. To avoid difficulties and lower maintenance expenses, choose a combination of fish species and plants appropriate for your region and environmental circumstances.
Every living organism in an aquaponics system relies on sunlight, plants most especially. Photosynthesis, plants' unique food-making process, utilizes light energy to synthesize carbon and water to produce food. Without an adequate supply of sunlight, plants would fail to create their food leading to their death.
How much faster do plants grow in aquaponics?
In 2005, Aquaponics Journal stated in its issue that "the tomato varieties performed well in aquaponics exceeding average yield level in the industry by 10 - 15%." A more recent study regarding taro, states that aquaponics provided the plant with the most significant growth percentage.
Aquaponics undoubtedly increases the ability of plants to reach their harvesting stage. In this method of food production, the plants have direct contact with a nutrient-packed water supply, wherein in the traditional farming approach, the plants need to navigate layers of soil for water and nutrients. For this reason, many are turning to aquaponics as a sustainable and more efficient food source.