Grow Herbs Through Aquaponics
Edited by Graeme, Lynn
Aquaponics is quickly becoming the new wave of farming for many across the globe.
To keep it simple, this system of farming helps to decrease water use by 10 percent or more, provides year round plants and fish to feed a family, and eliminates the need for weeding or digging in the garden.
The aquaponics method creates a balanced closed ecosystem that supports fish, beneficial bacteria, and plant life.
To have successful growth of an herb garden, there are but a few steps that need to be taken to ensure healthy herbs with some added benefits.
- 1Deciding if growing will be done indoors or out will be the first thing to consider. Once this has been decided, a few more decisions must be made in beginning the aquaponics setup. Evaluating the surroundings will help to determine which direction will work best. Questions to ask include how much space will be needed? What will be grown? Will fish be harvested or just plants? Lastly, how will weather affect the plants and fish selected?Advertisement
- 2Now that the preliminary decisions have been made, you are ready to start the set up of your aquaponics system. The easiest method is to purchase a kit that will include everything needed to be set up and running within a small amount of time. If you happen to have more free time, and are looking for a great weekend project, you can purchase the supplies from local nurseries, fish stores, and garden centers. There are plenty of informative step-by-step instructions online, at the library, and from purchased books on successful establishment of aquaponics systems.Advertisement
- 3Once the system has been set up, a decision must be made as to what type of fish will be living here. This will depend on temperature and if the fish will be used for eating. Trout, perch, and goldfish are among excellent choices for aquaponic systems.
- 4Select the herbs that will be grown for cultivation. Among popular choices that thrive are basil, watercress, coriander, sage, lemongrass, parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, and mint. Whatever your flavor, you can get it to grow by maintaining balance.
- 5Ecosystem balance is the key to the successful growth of fish, herbs, and bacteria. They all participate in a symbiotic relationship that is delicate. The fish create waste, which feeds the bacterial colonies. The colonies produce a byproduct that nourishes the plants. The plants in turn take up the waste product for nutrients (natural fertilization at its best) and clean the water that is recycled back to the fish.
- 6Monitor for fish health, water level, and pump efficiency. It is important to remember to feed your fish regularly. To produce the best results from your herb garden, it is critical that everything remains balanced. Though it is a low maintenance system, you will want to check periodically to ensure everything is running as it should.
- 7Check the water temperature of your aquaponics tank daily. The temperature needed will be determined by the type of fish you are raising. If you are unsure, check with your local fish store.
- 8Make a weekly check for insects, ammonia levels and pH levels. The pH level should be between 6.8 and 7.0, and ammonia levels less than 0.5 ppm.
- 9Check your system monthly for plumbing and pump maintenance, and also check for nitrate levels. Nitrates should be below 50 ppm; if your nitrates are too high, you will need to add more plants, harvest some fish, or add an additional growing bed.
- 10Sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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Categories : Gardening
Recent edits by: Graeme