Aquaponic Gardening

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My pick for a commercial fruiting plant in aquaponics: The passion fruit

Most people interested in commercial aquaponics invariably start looking at potential yields of different crops and then, after a thorough literature search, will discover that there is very little available in terms of potential yields of larger crops.  Stuff like basil, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers etc. seem to be written about the most.

 

With the advent of what I consider to be the most likely design for my own use in a commercial environment, namely gravel beds and rafts in conjunction with some vertical structures, came a search for the “ideal” commercial gravel species.  Tomatoes and cucumbers were obvious choices to explore, but there are many producers around thus competition for market will be tough.  Then I stuck a passion fruit vine in my home unit.  In the first season, it grew from a foot-tall sapling to bearing over 130 fruit on my side of the wall (my neighbour also gets some!).  This year, I thought the yield was going to be poor as I have replaced the 37 large tilapia with about 27 small koi.  There are some signs of nutrient stress, but the vine is determined to outdo last season’s output.  I have counted well over 130 fruit on my side of the wall just from the spring flush.  At around R25 for 4 – 5 of these fruit at our local stores, I’m looking at a yield of R812 (market value) odd from just one plant and in one season.  It slowed down in winter in the open system, but all the fruit formed last year matured.

 

In terms of management, it is in its own gravel bed, and in more than a year in the unit has not clogged the inflows or the bell siphon.  As said, I can see signs of nutrient stress, but the vine is hardy and determined to fruit like mad.  I would love to have a controlled environment with 50 or so of these vines going, together with the traditional leafy greens and cucumbers……………

 

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Comment by Molly Stanek on October 21, 2011 at 12:56pm

Even here in Wisconsin we had a friend who had a potted passionfruit plant in his aquaponics greenhouse that he would water with excess fish water.  I never saw any fruit but the vine was impressive and the flowers were so beautiful!  

Comment by Kobus Jooste on October 19, 2011 at 12:33am
whoops - now
Comment by Teresa N Florida on October 18, 2011 at 3:16pm

Kobus,

Did you mean to say NOT  or  NOW ?

 

are not being supported against walls and a steel frame.

Comment by Kobus Jooste on October 18, 2011 at 11:25am
Well, Teresa, the passion fruit grew straight out of the greenhouse on three sides and are not being supported against walls and a steel frame.
Comment by Teresa N Florida on October 18, 2011 at 8:01am

I love the support system you have in place for this vine.

Have you had to expand it yet from this earlier photo?

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/photo/monster-passion-fruit?commentI...

Comment by Kobus Jooste on October 18, 2011 at 1:24am
Update on production as the season progresses: 256 developing fruit on my side of the fence.
Comment by Anton hahna on October 17, 2011 at 2:03pm
Thank you< I will plant some I think it also will help me with the large root system (larger than vegetables)
Comment by Kobus Jooste on October 17, 2011 at 1:58pm
Anton, the structure is open (two of the four sides in any case) allowing insects to pollenate it - I do not do any hand pollenation for it at all.
Comment by Anton hahna on October 17, 2011 at 1:47pm

Hello do you have to pollinate the flowers in order to get fruit?

Comment by Miguel Afonso on October 15, 2011 at 4:04pm

In a few months that Passion fuit is going to consume your house, garden and neighbourhood. Definately a prolific producer.

 

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