Aquaponic Gardening

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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 think specifically, it is the constant warm temperature that they don't like.  My system is not insulated at all and subject to some very high temps during the day and chilly lows at night.  The cooling-off period at night probably helps my spinach get through the day.  Then again, the sun has been blasting down these past couple of weeks and I've seen no signs of wilting or distress.

On another note, I don't germinate my own veggies.  I buy 6-pack starts from my local organic nursery.  Then I wash off the excess soil from the roots before popping them into my system.

And for the record, my fish are koi and they just put up with whatever happens.  :D

Some things do like the variation in temperatures from night to day and that may also help with germinating certain things.


I was just looking and like 3 out of 18 of my spinach pellets has germinated.  Pretty dismal so far but it probably hasn't been 12 days yet.

Peanuts will be for me an experimental I live surrounded by "Jimmy's" Plantations... had any of you tried Chayote (sechium edule) I did, only leaves and few flowers no fruit that plant like to trellis under shady trees and hummed floor it is much healthy and nutritious than potatoes, If you have kidney stones make tea with the leaves it is say that will dissolve.
This is how the potato is looking like above ground at the moment.  Not sure what is going on below deck but for me, the first objective was to make it survive.  It is about to flower.
just a thought, a more soft media may help to expand the potatoes like hydroton or grow fabrics like sure to grow if available.
The 'sure to grow' plastic fibers are too wicking imo to work well for potatoes.  I don't think they would enjoy the constant wetness compared to hydroton or other media that aren't absorbent.

The potato is sitting in a sand bed, thus should be able to develop tubers almost to just as well as in typical soil.  The sand has not compacted and is still very loose.  It is also a mile cheaper than hydroton.

Yes of course we have to stay on a low budget but now you  got me more curious how you keep the sand from sipping through the system
Claudio - in one of my discussions on the construction of the sand bed I gave a detailed description with photographs of what I did.  I used the finely slotted pipes from swimming pool filters protected by a layer of pea gravel underneath the sand as an outflow.  It has been going for around 6 months now and it is still working well.  Water is dispersed through a surface grid, and while there is a bit of algae growth where the water trickles into the sand, the whole thing is still pretty much as it was set up in terms of sand looseness. 

Claudio J Tracchia said:
Yes of course we have to stay on a low budget but now you  got me more curious how you keep the sand from sipping through the system

I thought that I'd chime in on this- Sylvia, I would say that pH isn't even really a consideration when choosing crops- lots of acid loving plants will still grow at higher pHs. . .  And even if they don't, I can run my systems down into the high 5s (5.8 is the lowest I've dared to go for extended periods of time) if I want (although I start to feel a bit like one of those barn-storming stunt pilots) with no ill affects- you just want to keep an eye on your parameters. . .  Anyway, I think that it's possible to grow anything aquaponically, it will just take some changes/innovations in process to get them started. . . 

For me the only real hard crop is spinach (controlling germ temps as was mentioned).  

As was also mentioned, cooling off your greenhouse/ambient air temps at night (10 degrees or so) will make most plants pretty happy!

Hello chibikaie,

Thank you for your question. Given that I have not yet grown any grains in my hybrid Aquaponics systems, I will let David and other grain growers answer your question. I will however say that I agree with the last comment by Nate Storey...

"Anyway, I think that it's possible to grow anything aquaponically, it will just take some changes/innovations in process to get them started. . . "

Good luck & God bless,

chibikaie said:

Dear David, Sahib, and any other grain growers out there:

I am just getting started, but my main purpose is to grow greens for my pet rabbits. They have a particular liking for oat hay, which is difficult and expensive to purchase. Therefore, I am extremely interested in anything you have to say about growing cereals/grains for fodder purposes. I don't aim to replace all of their hay consumption (they need sun-cured hay to get vitamin D3 as they live indoors), but I am definitely looking to provide a steady, less expensive source of treat food.

At the moment, my thoughts are to set up a 10 gallon tub with some kind of potting mixture (perhaps equal measures of coconut coir, perlite or vermiculite, and rabbit droppings) and water it with waste fish tank water. (Is that overkill nitrogen fertilization? I'm not sure.) I did set up a grow bed filled with hydroton (still need to buy an appropriate pump and hook it up), but I would like to save that for lettuce. My previous attempts at growing "cat grass" in trays all died after getting no taller than 4-6 inches.

Thanks in advance


I've grown oats pretty well before- the big thing is to seed them on material that doesn't hold much water to prevent seed molds, and then to transplant to your system in a way that lets them get their feet wet without getting their crowns soggy.

Be careful though! Oats can get really tall!

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