Aquaponics uses the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants with a recirculating environment to create a mini-ecosystem. It combines the use of hydroponics-the growing of aquaponics plants, with aquaculture-the growing of fish. The fish supply needed nutrients to the plants and help to keep the water clean to create a healthy growing environment.
Through the use of grow beds, which can be filled with clay pebbles or gravel the water continuously flows through and provides a nutrient-rich environment for your plants. So the question is, what plants can I grow using my aquaponics garden?
Over 300 varieties of aquaponics plants have been tested to see which ones would thrive best in the system. The biggest group that did not seem to grow well in the system is any type of root vegetable. Basically root vegetables are any plants that are produced under the soil such as potatoes.
The huge list of successful plants are basically anything that grows well above soil and love to have their roots wet. Plants such as lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables thrive really well with the aquaponics system.
Your leafy green vegetables and herbs are the most productive and are the easiest to plant in your system. The climate that you live in and the weather that you have is a determining factor in your choices of plants.
If you have an open system you are at the mercy of the elements where you live. If you are set up in a greenhouse you have created a totally different climate. Based on the climate your system is in, it will determine what you can produce the best for plants.
Your best bet is to try everything you think you would like, and see what kind of results you get.
Salad varieties such as cucumbers, shallots, lettuce, tomatoes, chiles, capsicum, red salad onions, and snow peas usually have the greatest success.
Aquaponics vegetables such as beans, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and eggplant as well as the choys that are used for stir-fries are also pretty successful and easy to grow.
Planting aquaponic herbs such as watercress, basil, coriander, parsley, lemongrass, and sage, all work well also. This is only a small part of the list of herbs that continues on and on.
Try to use a companion planting strategy that adds flowering plants in the mix. Varieties of roses are one of the biggest flowers that grow really well in an aquaponics system. The roses spread and grow quickly, and have incredible color.
All of these plants will work really well with your aquaponic system. They are, however, only a partial list of what you can plant.
Based on your choices for the type of bed that you will use, and the environment that it will be in such as open climate versus greenhouse, are all determining factors in your planting choices. The best thing that you can do is have fun experimenting and learning what plants will grow best for you and your situation.