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my produce has a bland taste. how to zest it up?

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I just started a new one with a 40 gallon goldfish tank which I plan on growing some flowers in. The 20 gallon is just a decorative fish tank with underwater plants. I will be starting a third in the spring with 500 gallons tilapia and maybe large mouth bass once I learn some more.

Alex Veidel said:

Wait, how old is this system? I looked at your profile and it says 1-2 years...and you're still cycling?. Or is this a different setup?

Robert Kyle Gress said:

I started this discussion at work. My system is still cycling. I was talking to an organic farmer and he told me that AP systems make bland tasteing produce. Especially tomatoes. Since AP offers so much control over growing conditions I was wondering what people have done to grow premium produce. Or what causes the bland taste.

Well, depending on what flowers you grow, they'll probably have the propensity to be on the bland side of things as far as flavor goes... ;)

For One I noticed that my AP tomatoes were bland tasting.  I also noticed that my tomatoes leaves had deficiencies which resulted in molting on leaves.   After a 1000+ hours of research over the last 3 years i'm beginning to grasp what exactly is happening, and i believe in my heart that i have found the solution to your problem but am only one man without any research laboratory and i can not find anyone that is doing what i am doing.    

AP systems grow beautiful lettuce and leafy greens.  Leafy greens need lots of nitrates, but fruiting and flowering plant require a different set of nutrients different than what fish produce.   There are several nutrients that are commanly supplemented in a AP system.
1) Magnesium chloride, and magnesium somthing.  which are basically epson salt and taste like salt  

2) Calcium carbonates  looks like ground up bones 

3) Potassium Carbonates.  

4) Iron

I started off supplementing with individual supplements which was quite difficult.  3 weeks ago i started supplementing with Glacial Rock Dust.  It contained everything that i had been supplementing and my newly ripened cherry tomatoes taste so sweet they are to die for.   

Robert Kyle Gress said:

I started this discussion at work. My system is still cycling. I was talking to an organic farmer and he told me that AP systems make bland tasteing produce. Especially tomatoes. Since AP offers so much control over growing conditions I was wondering what people have done to grow premium produce. Or what causes the bland taste.

As with all gardening, it may be a matter of doing some researching and picking tomato varieties that do well in your local area and in an aquaponics system environment. The following varieties are supposed to "rock" in AP systems (apparently not all of the varieties do):

Chocolate Cherry

Golden Current - very tiny tomatoes with low heat tolerance – chefs love them

Brandywine – needs lots of phosphorus

San Marzano

Black Prince – dark fruit – very heat tolerant

Moskvich – large and flavorful

The seeds at your local Lowe's/Home Depot probably won't do the trick. Try http://www.highmowingseeds.com/ or http://www.johnnyseeds.com/ for higher quality.

Yes, I can testify to that. In our soil garden, starting seeds this year didn't work out to well because of delayed frost. We went with store bought seedlings and the taste quality was dramatically affected in a negative way.

Casey Haas said:

As with all gardening, it may be a matter of doing some researching and picking tomato varieties that do well in your local area and in an aquaponics system environment. The following varieties are supposed to "rock" in AP systems (apparently not all of the varieties do):

Chocolate Cherry

Golden Current - very tiny tomatoes with low heat tolerance – chefs love them

Brandywine – needs lots of phosphorus

San Marzano

Black Prince – dark fruit – very heat tolerant

Moskvich – large and flavorful

The seeds at your local Lowe's/Home Depot probably won't do the trick. Try http://www.highmowingseeds.com/ or http://www.johnnyseeds.com/ for higher quality.

Glacial Rock Dust.  I've never heard of that before.  How do you use it and where can you get it?   Thank you for your response.

Jon Paul said:

For One I noticed that my AP tomatoes were bland tasting.  I also noticed that my tomatoes leaves had deficiencies which resulted in molting on leaves.   After a 1000+ hours of research over the last 3 years i'm beginning to grasp what exactly is happening, and i believe in my heart that i have found the solution to your problem but am only one man without any research laboratory and i can not find anyone that is doing what i am doing.    

AP systems grow beautiful lettuce and leafy greens.  Leafy greens need lots of nitrates, but fruiting and flowering plant require a different set of nutrients different than what fish produce.   There are several nutrients that are commanly supplemented in a AP system.
1) Magnesium chloride, and magnesium somthing.  which are basically epson salt and taste like salt  

2) Calcium carbonates  looks like ground up bones 

3) Potassium Carbonates.  

4) Iron

I started off supplementing with individual supplements which was quite difficult.  3 weeks ago i started supplementing with Glacial Rock Dust.  It contained everything that i had been supplementing and my newly ripened cherry tomatoes taste so sweet they are to die for.   

Robert Kyle Gress said:

I started this discussion at work. My system is still cycling. I was talking to an organic farmer and he told me that AP systems make bland tasteing produce. Especially tomatoes. Since AP offers so much control over growing conditions I was wondering what people have done to grow premium produce. Or what causes the bland taste.
Glacial Rock Dust Type it into search engine and pick someone to order it from

Yeah, but what is it?

Jon Paul said:

Glacial Rock Dust Type it into search engine and pick someone to order it from

How do you apply it?

I'm currently working on a write up about Glacial Rock Dust.  I could use some help if anyone is interested.  

I have some time for a quick answer

What is Glacial Rock Dust....

      Glacial Rock Dust is made of non organic rocks.  It is made of rocks and minerals.  It is a mix of many different types of rocks and has been ground to a fine flower like substance from the expansion and contraction of glacials in northern canada.

How do I Apply It....  

      I am Applying it directly to my grow beds.  I grab a hand full of Glacial Rock Dust and sprinkle it across the top of my IBC grow beds.  After i'm done spreading the rock dusk i spray a little water across the top layer of hydroton to wash the rock dust down into the grow bed where it can get wet from the flood drain cycle.

Thank you, it's a great idea for adding nutrients.  I look forward to your paper on the subject,

Greenhouse or open air?  Those factors can make a difference.  I think the comments about variety choices is spot on.  To some degree it's a moot point for me because I only grow greens, lettuces, herbs and okra in my AP.  I can say that my basil, for example, is better than any 'in ground' basil I've ever tasted.  I grow my tomatoes, peppers and etc. in wicking beds using AP water. 

Partial correction; when I have a tomato seedling that seems to be struggling, I will frequently put it in a raft system for a couple weeks and they invariable perk up.  Often, when I do that before I transplant them to the wicking beds, they end up out performing the ones that were in the beds first.  I think the superior root system developed in the AP rafts may be the difference. 

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