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Plants

Almost every kind of plant is being grown in aquaponic systems. The converted fish waste creates a near perfect, complete plant food that can be adjusted if necessary.  Occasionally iron, calcium and/or potassium nutrient deficiencies show up, but these can all be corrected using small quantities of minerals that are safe for the fish.


In an aquaponics grow bed, there is very little competition for food, water, and oxygen.  This means it is possible to space plants much closer than you can in soil – up to twice as dense.  The only real consideration regarding plant density is competition for light in the canopy of the mature plants.  Make sure to plan for the ultimate size of each plant vs. its neighbors so that each plant will get the sunlight or grow-light exposure that it needs.  

 

When deciding what to plant, avoid cultivating too many of one type and age of plant in a single grow bed. A monoculture in aquaponics often leads to a simultaneous harvest, and harvesting many plants at once can put a system off balance.  Remember, your plants are filtering the water for your fish so be sure to keep a steady supply of seedlings on hand to replace harvested crops.

Consider companion planting to fight pests, as well.  For example, planting marigolds in your system can help ward away some insects.  If you do get a harmful insect infestation on your plants we recommend using insecticidal soap and/or neem oil as a safe, organic way to solve the problem quickly, click here for more safety tips.