What Plants Grow in Aquaponic Systems?

There have been over 300 different aquaponic plants that have been tested that will be happy in an aquaponic system. The major group that will not grow in an aquaponic system are root vegetables. Basically the aquaponics plant list is too long to write and is dependent on your location. If it is an above ground plant that grows well in your area and does not mind getting its roots wet then you should give it a go.

Our aquaponic plants absolutely thrived in the aquaponic system with the water from the fish supplying nutrients directly to the roots of the aquaponic plants. We have found that the aquaponic plants grow and produce faster in the system than in a traditional garden.

A trial conducted by Dr Nick Savidov in Canada, found that aquaponic growth rates can exceed hydroponic plant growth by up to four times with some vegetables and herbs. The advantage of aquaponics is that, during warm weather the plants get as much water as they need. Plants grown in the ground use the water very quickly in hot weather. Plants in an aquaponic system are continuously being watered constantly through the continuous flow or flood and drain system.

Herbs and green leafy vegetables are the most common aquaponic plants grown in an aquaponics system. Different areas can also produce different results. Climate is another important factor as is whether your aquaponic system is open to the elements or in a green house.

But try anything and see how the results go. We have had great success with the obvious salad varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, shallots, celery, capsicum, chilli, snow peas and red salad onions. Aquaponic Vegetables like, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beans, egg plant and all the choys for stir fries. We also use the companion planting logic and had flowering plants. The flowers we chose was roses which went absolutely crazy and added wonderful colour.

Then you have your aquaponic herbs like basil, parsley, watercress, coriander, sage, lemongrass, the list goes on. If you not sure give it a go, there is nothing to loose.

Initial Planting

We have the fish tank in place, 2 grow beds piped and ready to go. Started the pump and the water started continuously circulating through.
Putting the seedlings into the clay pebbles is easy on the hands and on the back if you have put the grow beds at the right height. We have started with the aquaponic plants of bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, some herbs, flowering plants like marigold and roses just for the pretty touch.

The aquaponics fish we chose was  ‘silver perch

Week 1

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We have this section progressing on a weekly group of pictures so you can see how the growth went once we got things going. We have a 1,000 litre fish tank with about 40 medium silver perch. This is our choice as our aquaponics fish as they are very hardy and importantly they don’t eat each other.
These pictures show that within the first week the plants seem to have settled in quite nicely. We live in a hot environment in Brisbane, Australia and decided not to put any covering the beds to see how the system worked with rain getting directly into the system and how the plants coped with direct sunlight.
You will see as the weeks go on the the aquaponic plants thrived in the warm and humid weather. It is so enjoyable watching your flowers, herbs and vegetables thrive.

These photos are of our aquaponic system at Nundah, Brisbane, Australia

Week 2

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The plants have settled in and growth is obvious. We lost a couple of lettuce who could not cope with the heat. The water level needs to be quite high in the grow beds when the plants are small so the roots are gathering all the nutrients out of the water. Make sure your system has easy adjusting of water levels so depending on the size of the plants you can adjust accordingly.
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Week 3

You can really see how wonderful the plants are going after just 3 weeks of g
rowth. They are quite green and looking pretty good. If you find the leaves are going a little brown or yellowing add a little chelated iron. If you have some bug problem, firstly make sure you use the companion planting idea. If it is caterpillars that are your problem….they loved the bok choy….you can use Dipel but it only affects caterpillars in the moth and butterfly family. It won’t harm any other organism and has long been a favourite of organic gardeners and commercial growers. And better still, when applied to food crops Dipel has no withholding period: vegies, fruit and salad ingredients can be washed and eaten immediately after spraying and does not kill the fish. The other fix is to pick the pick the offender off and feed to the fish.
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Week 4

4 weeks down the track after the initial planting and it is unbelievable the growth we have experienced. You can understand why everyone claims that the system grows faster than any other growing methods. We have put up some frames to hold the cucumber plants which I think multiply literally overnight.
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Week 5

Week five has brought us to the end of our experiment and how quickly the plants grow. You can see for yourself just how magnificent it looks. Look back at the initial planting and then to these pictures. We are enjoying eating the produce and you just can’t see why everyone doesn’t have one!!!

Our system is out of action at present. We had silver perch and they were wonderful and sweet. I really wanted to give it a good clean out of the plant roots.

The roses were in for 12 months and just went crazy. We cut them back every 4 weeks and were able to enjoy the blooms inside. The rose photo is of them just before we turned the system off. Just beautiful. We are building a new design over the next few months and building it will be our new project.

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