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Top 15 Vegetables to Grow in Your Aquaponic Garden

Jelena Maric
Agricultural Engineer

Aquaponics is a great way to grow organic produce without the use of chemicals. It's also pretty cheap to start up, so there is not much risk if you are looking for something new to try out. Here are 15 vegetables that grow well in an aquaponic garden:

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture, which is the farming of fish, and hydroponics, which is the growing plants without soil. In an aquaponic system, water from the fish tanks provides nutrients for the plants to grow without having to add any fertilizers or chemicals. Because it’s a closed-loop system, there’s no need for herbicides or pesticides either.

This type of organic farming can be done at home with a simple setup.

Here are 15 vegetables that you can grow in your aquaponics garden.

  • Bok Choy

Bok choy is a Chinese cabbage that does well in the raft system. Although it's heavier than some of the other plants, Bok choy is still one of the best for this type of hydroponics setup. Just be sure your rafts are stable and don't overload them with too many bok choi plants so you can harvest these in 8-11.

bok choy in aquaponics

  • Radishes

Radishes are relatively easy to grow in aquaponics. To plant your radish, sprinkle the seeds on top of the growing bed and watch them grow. Radishes require at least 6-8 hours of full sun for optimal health. You’ll be harvesting them every 2-3 weeks during their growing season.

radishes in aquaponics

  • Peas

Peas grow faster in an aquaponics system when they are exposed to the sun for 6 hours daily. If you have a new or immature system, it is best not to plant peas. Their demanding nutrient requirements may deplete your fertilizers and introduce toxic substances into your food supply.

  • Kale

Kale is easy to grow, and it has low nutrient requirements. It also prefers cooler temperatures- it can be harvested in 5-6 weeks after planting. You need to provide them with shade when the weather gets too hot.

kale in aquaponics

  • Spinach

Attaining a low nutrient requirement, spinach is ideal for any type of system. It likes to grow in areas with warmer climates and needs more shade when the days become too hot. Spinach requires a pH between 6-7 and temperatures ranging from 45° - to 75° F.

  • Lettuce

Lettuce is an easy plant to grow within aquaponics because it has low nutrient requirements and a short growing cycle. It also responds well to any system, so you can easily incorporate lettuce into your aquaponics. Lettuce loves the sun, so if you have an indoor system make sure they get enough natural or artificial light.

lettuce in aquaponics

  • Celery

Celery is a cool-weather crop. It is best to keep temperatures between 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Plant your celeries 10-12 inches apart to avoid too much competition for nutrients. Gardeners typically grow Celery through seeds but keep in mind that its seeds are extremely tiny. Sowing them in a raft or bed can be tricky. Using damp cotton can make it easier by helping with placing the seeds on top of it (either removing them using fingers or a toothpick).

  • Carrots

Carrots are nutritious vegetable that requires at least 6 to 8 hours of sun and grow easily in aquaponics. Carrots take 2-3 months from seeds before being harvested.

  • Tomatoes

Tomato plants are a popular choice for aquaponics gardens, but they require high nutrient levels. They also need to be grown in an appropriate pH and temperature range. Tomatoes grow best at high temperatures (between 65°F-85°F) and enjoy lots of direct sunlight, so you'll have to support the plant with stakes or other structures if it is over 6 feet tall.

tomatoes in aquaponics

  • Cabbage

Cabbage is a popular vegetable for aquaponic gardens because it’s easy to grow and can be harvested in about 100 days. Cabbage doesn’t demand too much from its environment, so the plants are very resilient. They will survive in both hot and cold environments.

It can be grown in a pH range between 6.2 and 6.6 with a temperature of 60-70 F without any difficulty, thanks to its ability to thrive in the sun, requiring very little maintenance. Plant them in an area where they can get sunlight for more than six hours each day near water that has been properly treated by bacteria cultures (nitrifying).

  • Broccoli

It’s a cool-season vegetable, so it does best at temperatures between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli needs water and sunlight to grow, so it is best suited for growing in an aquaponics system. It will thrive if the pH level of your environment is between 6-7.

  • Chili peppers

Chilli peppers are the most popular spice around, and they grow best in a climate between 60° to 75°F. Chilies also require high nutrient requirements, so it'll be necessary for you to provide them with these conditions. Peppers will grow well if you live where there is enough sunlight, but this won't always work out depending on your climate. The pepper plant is easy to care for and requires medium-high levels of nutrients, which should be plentiful enough given its natural adaptation habits.

  • Cucumbers

Cucumbers are an excellent crop for your aquaponic system because they don’t require a lot of maintenance and can be grown in cooler climates. They also tolerate low-light conditions, meaning that you can grow them during the winter months.

  • Eggplants

Eggplants can have long roots, so they are best grown in media bed systems that support their root structure. These plants need full sun and 14 hours of sunlight per day to produce bigger fruits. They may be harvested after 3-4 months from seeds, or the plant would not be ready for another cycle of production.

  • Beans

Beans are easy to grow and care for. There is a huge variety of beans, so you can choose the one that suits your needs best. Beans require at least six hours of sun every day to grow well; most varieties need full sunlight. Pole beans work well in aquaponics because they allow you to maximize space on the bed while taking up less room than bush beans provide. They also must be grown with something like trellis wire or poles as support so that they don't take up too much horizontal area.

Conclusion

The great thing about aquaponic gardening is that you can grow a wide variety of vegetables. Not only are the plants beautiful and colorful, but they are easily grown, require almost no maintenance, and can be harvested year-round.

Some of the most popular food plants to grow in an aquaponic garden are leafy greens, tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. You can use the list to help you decide which plants to grow in your garden.

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