Top 5 Plants to Grow in Aquaponics

Top 5 Plants to Grow in Aquaponics

Aquaponics, if done successfully, will give you the satisfaction of harvesting and eating sustainable, fresh, and healthy food. It is relatively easy to set up and maintain. However, you need to plant crops that grow bests in an aquaponics set up to be successful. This blog will discuss the top 5 plants that grow in aquaponics systems to help you have a successful aquaponics garden. 

The Top 5 Plants for Aquaponics

The plants listed below are the top five plants for aquaponics systems. These plants are perfect for aquaponics systems because they are easy to grow and help create a more natural ecosystem for the fish and bacteria. These plants also help provide oxygen for the aquatic animals in the system.

Lettuce in Aquaponics

1. Lettuce

Popular with many gardeners, lettuce is one of the top plants to grow in aquaponics systems. Lettuces are easy to grow and grow extremely fast from start to harvest. They can be harvested in 6 to 8 weeks in aquaponics systems because of their access to nutrient-rich water twenty-four hours a day. 

Lettuce requires little maintenance than other vegetables and can be regrown from stumps. These plants require 10 to 18 hours of light each day, depending on the variety. So if you are growing in an indoor setup, ensure there is enough light.  

Conditions for Growing Lettuce in Aquaponics

Lettuce grows best when the requirements below are met.

  • Growing difficulty: Easy
  • Nutrient requirements: Low
  • Average time until the first harvest: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Water temperature: Between 65°F and 80°F (18°C and 26°C)
  • pH: 5.6 to 6.2
  • Plant spacing: 1 lettuce every 7 inches
  • Best system to grow: Floating Raft and Media bed
  • Best lettuce varieties for aquaponics: Butterhead, Looseleaf, and Romaine

Why is lettuce a top plant for aquaponics?

Everyone considers lettuce as a top plant for aquaponics systems because it is one of the easiest plants to grow in aquaponics. One advantage of growing lettuce in aquaponics is that it grows faster than in the traditional gardening. Lettuce is also a great starter plant for aquaponics beginners and newly built aquaponics systems. However, even if lettuces are easy to grow, you still need to follow the guidelines above and monitor your garden to ensure your attempt at aquaponics gardening will be successful.

2. Watercress

Watercress is a tough vegetable that is one of the easiest and healthiest plants to grow in aquaponics systems. This vegetable is a water-loving plant and is famous for its tasty flavor. They are also great for adding spice to soups, salads, and sandwiches. Watercress grows quickly and is packed with nutrients, making it popular among commercial aquaponics growers.

Conditions for Growing Watercress in Aquaponics

Watercress grows best when the requirements below are met.

  • Growing difficulty: Easy
  • Nutrient requirements: Low
  • Average time until the first harvest: 4 to 8 weeks
  • Water temperature: 77°F to 96°F (25°C to 35°C)
  • Light exposure: at least 4 hours of light each day
  • pH: 6.5 to 6.8
  • Best system to grow: Media bed, raft

Why watercress is a top plant for aquaponics?

As mentioned above, watercress is easy to grow in aquaponics. You can cultivate watercress by planting seeds or growing it with cuttings. The easiest way of growing watercress in aquaponics is to purchase seeds then use cotton wool or hemp fibers as growing media. Sprinkle your watercress seeds on the top of the growing media and gently place them on your floating raft. If you’re using a grow bed, gently place the cotton wool or hemp fibers on top of the grow bed.

Kale in Aquaponics

3. Kale

Kale is a leafy green that is one of the top plants of aquaponics systems because of its delicious tastes and ease of cultivation. Kale belongs to the Cole Crop family, which consists of leafy vegetables like bok choy, cabbage, and broccoli. Kales grow quickly in aquaponics systems and can be harvested after 6 to 8 weeks. 

Conditions for Growing Kale in Aquaponics

Kale grows best when the requirements below are met.

  • Growing difficulty: Easy
  • Nutrient requirements: Low
  • Average time until the first harvest: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Water temperature: Between 55°F and 70°F
  • Air temperature: 60°F and 70°F
  • pH: Between 6 to 7.5
  • Plant spacing: At least 18 to 24 inches apart
  • Best system to grow: Media bed, NFT, or Raft system
  • Best lettuce varieties for aquaponics: Dwarf Blue Curled Kale

Why is kale a top plant for aquaponics?

Kale is an excellent plant for beginners in aquaponics and newly built systems. Not only is it easy to grow, but kale is also healthy and considered one of the most powerful vegetables you can eat. 

4. Tomato

Anyone who loves gardening knows that tomatoes are one of the most popular garden plants. Many home gardeners like it is a versatile plant because of its taste, nutritional values, and appearance. Tomato plants are cheap to grow, yield lots of produce, full of nutrients and can fit even in the smallest backyards or balconies, making them one of the top plants for aquaponics systems.

Conditions for Growing Tomatoes in Aquaponics

Tomatoes grow best when the requirements below are met.

  • Growing difficulty: Medium
  • Nutrient requirements: High
  • Average time until the first harvest: The harvest time depends on the tomato variety you choose to grow, but most tomatoes can be harvested in 60-80 days.
  • Water temperature: 75°F to 85°F ( 23°C to 29°C)
  • Light exposure: Total sun exposure
  • pH: Between 5.5 to 6.5 
  • Plant spacing: Space tomatoes 10-12 inches apart to allow space to receive the nutrients they need.
  • Best system to grow: Media bed, raft, NFT
  • Best lettuce varieties for aquaponics: any variety, it depends on your choice,

Why is Tomatoes a top plant for aquaponics?

Tomatoes are one of the popular and best plants to grow in an aquaponics system. They are great for consuming fresh or processed and are used as ingredients for various culinary cuisines. Tomatoes also have a considerable market value compared to other crops. It is also important to keep in mind that althoug tomatoes are one of the top aquaponics plants, it is important to plant them in your system once it is mat

Here are several reasons why tomatoes are perfect for aquaponics:

  1. Tomatoes in aquaponics are staked or trellised to keep the plants upright and allow the utilization of the entire growing space.
  2. Tomatoes grow faster in aquaponics systems than in soil gardening.
  3. Aside from growing faster, aquaponics tomatoes are also larger and tastier. 
  4. Planting tomatoes allows aquaponics gardeners to produce high yields despite limited space.

Strawberries in Aquaponics

5. Strawberry

Strawberries are a fruiting crop and grow well in aquaponics systems. They grow quickly, taste delicious and multiply quickly, making them popular with aquaponics growers. Strawberries are not only delicious but are also a good source of potassium, manganese, and vitamin C, making them one of the most preferred berries in the world. 

Conditions for Growing Strawberry in Aquaponics

Strawberry grows best when the requirements below are met.

  • Growing difficulty: Medium
  • Nutrient requirements: High
  • Average time until the first harvest: 4 to 8 weeks
  • Water temperature: Between 60°F to 80°°F
  • Light exposure: at least 8 hours of sunlight every day
  • pH: Between 5.5 and 6.5
  • Plant spacing: 9 to 12 inches apart
  • Best system to grow: Media bed, NFT
  • Best lettuce varieties for aquaponics: June Bearing, Everbearing and day-Neutral

Why is strawberry a top plant for aquaponics?

Strawberries are a top plant for aquaponics systems because they take only a small space to grow and grow well in a soilless environment. Strawberries grown in aquaponics systems are also larger, juicier, and taste better than the traditionally grown strawberries. One of the great advantages of growing strawberries in aquaponics systems is that they thrive in vertical spaces. Home gardeners can benefit from this since it saves space and is easy to cultivate. 

Conclusion

Aquaponics is an excellent alternative to traditional farming methods and can improve food security even on a small scale. With these top 5 plants to grow in your aquaponics system by your side, you’re on the right track to starting your aquaponics gardening. Thank you for reading this article; please feel free to leave your comments below.