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My system is about 26 weeks old as of sept 15 2011. I am having better than expected success with root crops. So far beets, onions, garlic, carrots and radishes all love the media beds. I think my success is partly to my gravel being round and not cracked. What successes or failures is other aquapons having. My system is flood and drain with affnan siphons. About 20 min cycles. My ph is at 7.8. I am having no luck with potatoes .That is the only root crop that has failed. Please be specific. Media type, cycle time, ect...ect.

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TC we grow alot of onions and garlic in  this area. It might be the humidity or lack there of that onions and garlic love. I will state that I grew all  these from onion bulbs, slips and cloves. None were grown from seed.

David Waite said:
Onions, Garlic, beets and radishes are producing nicely at this time. Can see myself growing 2 full crops a year. The system has met all my familys requirements in onions and garlic for year round self sufficiency.

Well, as I stated on the post above, I am not seeing much right now because the system is running fish less.  The sand bed has been going for a few months now, with me experimenting on flooding time.  It does drain and dry a lot quicker than what I thought in the beginning.  I am now using 15 minutes on 45 minutes off rotation on the pump.  There are beetroot, carrot, shallote and strawberries in there now, and so far, nothing has died.  The sand is staying clear and uncompacted to date, even though it is not receiving filtered water (fitration will come in before the fish come back). 

 

The sand bed drains into my 4 inch horizontal strawberry pipe, with 20 plants in it.  They are also doing very well with the roots looking a lot better than when the sand bed was used for DWC.  I also think that shallow sand beds will be good for seed starting.  plants seem to root very well and come out with very little root damage.

David Waite said:

Interesting on the shallots. I am growing leeks and they seem to be forming ok but very slow compared to onions and garlic. Please keep us posted on the sand component. Very curious.

Kobus Jooste said:
David - my systems is anywhere between 6.5 and 7.4.  I grow in crush, river gravel and in pool sand.  I have had great success with shalottes in all those, but have not tried the white or brown onions or garlic in my system yet.  The beetroot I put in is still young and it is not getting much nutrients (no fish in the system) thus it is too early to tell how they will do.  Will keep updates posted. 
Leeks have been doing very nicely for me and they seem to stand up into the heat here better than my onions or garlic have.  I still have some growing in the aquaponics while pretty much all my onions have come out or started rotting by now.

I've thought about using the shake (pea gravel) from my 1/2" gravel sluething to start a root bed as I thought it would be easier for the veggies to develop "normally" although there's gotta be a market for ugly carrots.  Gotta come up with a different screen for my bell siphon.  Those little rocks will scoot right in the holes drilled in it as it is now.  Thinking slits might be the way to go.  Haven't researched sand beds.  Any recommendations on that one?

 

On a side note, how much room do you allow for your sweet potatoes? When do you plant your root veggies in FL?

 

TCLynx said:

Some root crops need extra potassium to develop well.  And my higher pH range in my big system is not necessarily something to emulate, I tried using shells in my media which was not such a good idea though I don't much have to worry about that system having a low pH crash at least.

 

Some root crops like certain onions and garlic have kinda specific seasonal requirements so I would suggest doing some reading on what kinds should be planted when in different lattitudes and climates since temperature, wettness, heat and humidity can all have an effect on different growth stages especially of getting onions and garlic to bulb up.

 

I've noticed that beets can be rather slow to get a nice ball and turnips seem to do better for me when planted in the fall as the once started in spring and growing into hot weather tend to be more bitter.  Very few of my radishes seem to make nice pretty roots but I'm not enough interested in radish to really worry much about it.

 

Carrots seem to grow fine for me in AP but they don't necessarily form perfect pretty roots in the beds with the more jagged shells.  This doesn't bother me since I'm not trying to sell the carrots, they still taste fine.  I expect light weight media like clay balls that are rather regular in shape will make it easier for roots to develop nice uniform shapes and perhaps the sand would be good for that too but again, unless you are trying to market the roots, does perfection really matter that much?

Yes slits in the large gravel guard pipe can be far easier to do as well, especially if you have access to a radial arm saw.

I like mesh for my gravel guards but sounds like your small gravel may be too small for the mesh I have.

 

Sweet potatoes, uh, how much room.  I usually just space the slips I get evenly among the garden space I have available for them.  As the vines start growing out of the bed I wind them back and put some dirt over them to hopefully get more sweet potatoes in the bed rather than taking over the world.  Gotta get em in soon though since they take a while to form roots.  First sweet potatoes I ever planted I did in July and I planted 6 slips and the garden bed was 6 banana boxes filled with compost.  We had some beautiful huge sweet potatoes come November.  Sweet potato vines will root very easily if you stick a cutting of the vine into an aquaponic bed.  By the way, the leaves of sweet potato vines are edible raw or cooked.

Carrots are slow and growth rates are disappointing. Onions leeks and garlic are all positive. size ranges are all over the map from silver dollar to softball. The cabbage doesnt belong but it was part of the harvest. So for the discussion root crops continue to be very productive and worth growing. I have rudabaga and will update when its time to harvest. Part of my problem on carrots are high ph which they dont prefer. I am going to plant round two of all root crops and see how they do this fall. Hope to carry them over this winter and harvest all winter with minimal to no heat. The experiment continues.

Hi David,

 

Its all sweet tasting Aqauaonic produce.....looks great, hail the root crop king!!!!!!!

So the round two, is it going to be with RO? With the lower PH then we'll see how it really grows. BTW got my first onion growing. Looks like the local fish feed i was using(with steroids or hormones) was causing the problems, now with the regular feed(Zeigler) things are coming along nicely enough. 

Harold congrats on the onions. I am feeding purina 4000. I keep reading over and over high quality feed really is the key. I am very very pleased with the taste. Very mild and natural tasting. Not the tinny taste you get with hydro. On the RO I will be doing that this winter so it might be spring before I get it running. I am playing with a fodder feed system this fall and will post when I have it mastered. Take care ...........D

Harold Sukhbir said:

Hi David,

 

Its all sweet tasting Aqauaonic produce.....looks great, hail the root crop king!!!!!!!

So the round two, is it going to be with RO? With the lower PH then we'll see how it really grows. BTW got my first onion growing. Looks like the local fish feed i was using(with steroids or hormones) was causing the problems, now with the regular feed(Zeigler) things are coming along nicely enough. 

turnips have done well for me in the past as well as some beets if the ants don't get them so that is something to look forward to for cooler weather.
I too have done well with beets. Havent tried turnips due to really dont care for them.  I think I will try them just to add to the experiment.

TCLynx said:
turnips have done well for me in the past as well as some beets if the ants don't get them so that is something to look forward to for cooler weather.

Yea, it's easy to grow too many turnips so remember that the small greens are good in salads when thinning and you can cook turnip greens too.

 

My fav way to have turnips on occasion is to peal and slice them up and drizzel olive oil over them and roast till they start to caramelize around the edges.

 

Otherwise a few in stew, soup or pot roast are about all we are likely to eat.

I found some carrots from Seed Savers Exchange.  They're Paris Market. They're shaped like beets and get 1-2" dia.  French Heirloom.  Says they do well in shallow or rocky soil.  50-68 days.  I have not planted them yet (going in the 15th) so I can't attest to how they grow, but it sounds like they might be perfect for our gardens. 

David Waite said:
Carrots are slow and growth rates are disappointing. Onions leeks and garlic are all positive. size ranges are all over the map from silver dollar to softball. The cabbage doesnt belong but it was part of the harvest. So for the discussion root crops continue to be very productive and worth growing. I have rudabaga and will update when its time to harvest. Part of my problem on carrots are high ph which they dont prefer. I am going to plant round two of all root crops and see how they do this fall. Hope to carry them over this winter and harvest all winter with minimal to no heat. The experiment continues.

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