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Which plants are still considered "difficult" or "impossible" to grow in aquaponics?  I have begun a process of trying to design a system that can grow as many different varieites of crop possible.  Only a few years ago, pundits declared aquaponics "only suited to growing leafy greens".  That has been proven incorrect over and over, but is there any plant people still consider as being impossible to grow in aquaponics?

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I also struggle with this one.  The best growth has been for some of the smaller varieties, but it OK rather than vigorous.  I'll attach a picture of the current one in the system when it is light again.  It is supposed to be baby spinach though - got a bit bigger than "baby" but still not impressive.

Chris Smith said:

I have been trying for a long time to get spinach to grow well in AP without success. I have tried many varities and techniques. I thought that with how easily other leafy greens grow that spinach would be the same.I know many others who have had similar results as me in this area. There is a good market for here for spinach so I have spent a lot of time trying to develop a good technique.

Pineapple will grow in AP. I regularly put tops into a raft to let them grow good roots before planting them in the ground. I cannot justify tying up system space for a plant that fruits once every year or so. I let one go for 6 months and it grow very big with roots that were beautiful when I planted it.

Isn't spinach supposed to require a lot of iron?  I haven't grown it, but I'm wondering if if would do better in a media bed vs raft..which is pretty counter-intuative, but given the higher nutrient levels it might do the trick.  Chris and Kobus, have you tried it on the media side of your systems?
Thanks Sylvia.  It has been a goal of mine for over a year, but a few weeks ago, I got sent into overdrive by a fool at an aquaculture conference.  This man, with no stature in aquaponics, declared it unlikely that aquaponics can be considered a rural development tool.  After reminding him of the fact that there are other system designs other than UVI and questioning his basic understanding of developments that has taken place since it, I decided to go full speed on this one.  I'm fed up with desktop fools wanting to make fleeting statements without having a leg to stand on.  Aquaponics is not aquaculture and we need to make a noise of our own with regards to the viability of this method. Nothing makes a louder statement than a full scale system filled with what dietitions will consider a balanced diet.  Only aquaponics can potentially do that and that is where I am putting my efforts now - whole basket method.  I'm not sure how far off we are but I'm sure we can get very close right now.  Technology is not the issue, it is simply making this a goal, finding the funding and doing the hard grind. 

Sylvia Bernstein said:

Kobus, I think this is a fascinating initiative you are taking on and I wholeheartedly agree that the key is to find how many combinations thrive in the same ecosystem....and I've noticed the same thing that there are a lot of "common knowledge" rules out there about growing plants that AP seems to happily ignore. Thanks for the inspiration - I think I"ll order a blueberry plant today!

Here is a link to an article about growing blueberries - http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8207.html - looks like 5ish is an ideal pH.

 

First raft and then media.  Germination is poor and growth is very slow for me even in media.  I thought it was low nutrients too, but was not sure exactly what, because the broccoli right next to it is doing well.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Isn't spinach supposed to require a lot of iron?  I haven't grown it, but I'm wondering if if would do better in a media bed vs raft..which is pretty counter-intuative, but given the higher nutrient levels it might do the trick.  Chris and Kobus, have you tried it on the media side of your systems?
Bravo, my friend!  You are precisely right.  The aquapons on this site are growing a huge variety of produce.  We all know it works, and works well, and is an important part of the solution for the environmental plague of modern agriculture and aquaculture, and an important source of food to feed our hungry planet.  But us knowing this doesn't matter a whit!  We all need to make noise, and show by example what can be done!  Our future, in part, depends on it.

Kobus Jooste said:
...Aquaponics is not aquaculture and we need to make a noise of our own with regards to the viability of this method. Nothing makes a louder statement than a full scale system filled with what dietitions will consider a balanced diet.  Only aquaponics can potentially do that and that is where I am putting my efforts now - whole basket method.  I'm not sure how far off we are but I'm sure we can get very close right now.  Technology is not the issue, it is simply making this a goal, finding the funding and doing the hard grind. 
Spinach loves cold weather. When the temps in Maine rose to 60's my spinach died. Through the frost it grew well.

Yea, by the way, Now is the season I start planting spinach, when it gets chilly.  (Of course there are many plants that like it chilly and grow best for me here during winter.)

 

Yea, the whole basket approach is the grail for me for my home systems.  Trying to grow as much of our own diet and as I noted before but even more tricky is getting the proportions right with the different plants and figuring out the planting seasons/schedules in my totally not textbook gardening climate.  (Most of the North American and European planting guides are designed for temperate climate gardening, Not Subtropical.)  But most people doing Aquaponics are probably working with an approximation of a sub tropical climate since if you are not in a sub tropical location, you are probably doing some greenhouse or indoor gardening with your aquaponics or moving things around to manage it.  Ya know, frozen water doesn't pump very well and all.

 

LOL, the whole thing where people think aquaponics is "only good for greens"  When I was first starting up, I spent a lot of time Down At Aqatic Eco Systems getting equipment and stuff.  Well, back then, Aquatic Eco Systems said the exact same thing, oh Aquaponics is only good for lettuce and stuff.  Well that is probably because they were selling the little backyard fish farms where you could tag on a little floating raft bed but those systems you were still removing solids and doing water changes and I can understand where those would only be good for growing a small amount of greens.  Now look at them, they have purchased Green Sky Growers.

Spinach is thriving in my media bed! (it's the tall big-leafed stuff between the lettuce and kale)

Sahib I am growing grains in my system using a fodder system. I have grown barley and wheat in trays to a height of about 6 inches then I am feeding it to the animals. I will post when I have it mastered by spring the pics and the technique. I think it is going to thrive if I get the timing down. I will spill the beans when I can spend more time with it this winter.

Sahib Punjabi said:

Namaste Kobus,

 

I am in due course, possibly next year and if I can get the seeds), going to experiment growing Rice. Then I will try Sweet potato as well different grains such as Wheat/Barley/Oats etc.

 

If anyone has already tried, please share.

 

Will share results then  :-)

 

God bless,

We've had good luck growing wheat and oats to that stage as well, although we've been growing them for juicing rather than for animal fodder.    You must have a huge setup for growing enough for larger animals, David.  I'm looking forward to seeing it when you have the time to share.

Yea me too!  As to seeing the fodder growing arrangement that is.  I'd like to grow more of the fodder for my birds.

Some links regarding the effect of termperature on germination of Spinach:

 

http://tomclothier.hort.net/page11.html

 

According to this chart, the optimum temperature is 50 F.  At 50 F, they report 12 days to emergence and 91% germination.

 

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene4c19.html

 

Germination temperature: 40 F to 75 F - May fail to germinate in warm soils.

Days to emergence: 6 to 10 - About 3 weeks at 50 F. About 5 days at 77 F, but germination drops to about 30 percent .

 

So you get faster emergence at higher temps, but drastically reduced germination rates.

 

One of these days, after we move, I hope to build two systems, one for warm season plants with Tilapia and another for cool season plants with Trout or Perch.  I suspect that most of our Tilapia folks have trouble with spinach due to warm temperatures.

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