Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Hello everyone, thanks for giving my first ever post here a gander! Hoping to benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of you all. I am faraway from home right now, so all I can do is dream and drool over my system "blueprints" (e.g. chicken scratch on a legal pad) until I'm ready to take that dive into the fish tank. I have lots of questions, but lately all I can think of is the plant aspect of Aquaponics. I'll fire off a few Q's:

1.) Let's say I want to grow Prize Choy in my Aquaponics system. Evidently, this takes 45-50 days to grow in the earth (presuming that we've "started" the plant). What kind of timeline does that transfer to in an AP system? Same amount of time, longer, shorter...?

2.)Let's say said Prize Choy flowers in resplendent heads, which I pick and drizzle in olive oil for dinner. How do I replant them? Do I just have to plant new ones in my grow media after each time I harvest?

These will do for now. Thank you for reading and responding. I do very much appreciate it. When I get back to NY, let me reward your kind tutelage with a dinner of the aforementioned Prize Choy. Hehe.

Carson :)

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Hi Carson,

When AP conditions are optimal I can have a full growout of choy between 3-4 weeks in a raft or DWC  With a thirty hole raft I can harvest 7 plants per week for a full 28 plants over the entire month. I use a 20 hole plug tray for seedlings which produce on average, the 7 replacement seedlings i will need per week, every week. Raft grow leafy greens easier/faster in AP. If you cut them at the roots they regrow well enough and can be replaced around the 3rd or 4th growout. If you're still hungry, like myself, you can construct a 60 hole raft which provides 2 of your favorite choy every day

Harold,

Thanks for the response! To be truthful, you're making my head spin with those production rates (in a good way, I assure you). But I am still struggling to get a picture in my mind. Say you harvest two Choy daily on a 60-hole raft: how many fish/what kind of tank size is required to support that?

Also, can I ask what else you grow aquaponically? If you vary your plants, can you mix your Choy and your lettuce in the raft beds, for instance? Or do you have to keep them all segregated and what not?

Thanks again for taking time from your garden of plenty to address my questions! You're a star.

Hi Carson,

Go to the group Raft/Deep water Culture Growers(Tab in the Header) and read as much as you can. This will help you to visualize better. You need to understand the layout/design/function and all of its components, if you decide to employ this AP growing method. I also suggest you read from the link on the main page "The Rules of thumb" document, to get a better understanding of the ratios involved in AP.

At 60 holes you can use as little as 12 fish and as much as 20 fish that will grow to 1 lb maximum in the system, but this will influence your system design. Yes, you can mix content as a matter of preference.

BTW, there is really no need for thanks here as we try to help each other out on the site, as i have been and still am being helped everyday. Hopefully one day you may also rise to the occasion to share with others what you're learning now!

...and yes you can mix your choi and lettuce in the same raft. The biggest thing is to keep stuff from being over crowded so that the heads can be free to form nicely and some fresh air can move around between the leaves (or else you might be more prone to fungal/mold pathogens)...

Vlad, what a stunning photo. Be still my beating heart, that's a sexy array of vegetables. Do you style your rafts differently, using wide slits instead of holes?

Harold, I love that this community is rooted in the give and take of knowledge. I guess I feel more inclined towards gratitude because I have nothing to give just yet. But yes, maybe this time there will be a guppie here who I can touch with my trident of AP wisdom. Ah, the Circle of Life...

I've read up on the gallons to fish to grow space ratios. I feel like I understand that. I suppose what I was after was some formula for the number of holes each raft can support. Say, in honoring the 1 square foot of grow bed per five gallons of tank ratio. How many holes can each of those sq. feet support?

Hi Carson,

In the Raft group we have much information on this topic, its great reading

The holes are proportional to the numbers of fish/fish waste. There are low stocking density raft systems and there are high density systems.

In high density systems growth rates of plants are higher, but so are the expenses, high quality fish feed, filtration, electricity, pesticides, labor, aeration, supplements,backup systems etc. These systems are primarily employed by commercial operators.

Low density systems require less input all-round and is more suitable for backyard farmers like myself. Some established ratios are 1/3 lb fish for 1 sq. ft. of raft, however, I have run raft at 1 lb fish to every 5-8 holes successfully.

The hole spacings depends on the crop you have chosen to grow. For leafy greens the average are 6" centers, 7" centers, and 8" centers.

Thanks Carson Well, you know, I aim to please...If you're into that sort of thing, there's lots more pics in the "photos" section of my page here on the forum...

6 inches is pretty small for all but all but the tiniest of baby heads. I use an 8 inch hole spacing for most all things, and even then things get pretty tight. My rafts are 2' x 4' and I use 18 holes per raft (at 8" spacings). If you offset your holes 45 degrees (like the number 5 side on dice) you can fit 12.5% more holes on the same square, OR better yet use the same amount of holes (18) but better utilize the space between the plants...I really like growing out large full size heads, but to each there own

Hmmm..? Using wide slits instead of holes...As intriguing as that sounds...No, I just used a standard 2 inch hole with a 2" net pot that has a lip measuring an additional 1/8 inch, so they don't fall through the hole.

The Mei Qing Choi is definitely a cold weather only cultivar that wants to bolt (go into reproductive mode) before they even get full size if temps are even remotely warm. The Joi Choi variety seems much less prone to bolt early (so far) and seems to tolerate warmth and higher light conditions better than the Mei Quing variety. I've recently obtained seed from a third variety that is supposedly 'very' heat tolerant (as far as bok choi's go at least). Right now they are wee little seedlings, so we'll see how that works out in the coming months. 



Carson McKenna said:

Vlad, what a stunning photo. Be still my beating heart, that's a sexy array of vegetables. Do you style your rafts differently, using wide slits instead of holes?

Harold, I love that this community is rooted in the give and take of knowledge. I guess I feel more inclined towards gratitude because I have nothing to give just yet. But yes, maybe this time there will be a guppie here who I can touch with my trident of AP wisdom. Ah, the Circle of Life...

I've read up on the gallons to fish to grow space ratios. I feel like I understand that. I suppose what I was after was some formula for the number of holes each raft can support. Say, in honoring the 1 square foot of grow bed per five gallons of tank ratio. How many holes can each of those sq. feet support?

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