Anyone who has even a fleeting interest in aquaponics will always have the same first question, so why grow aquaponics vegies?
So why grow aquaponics veggies as opposed to soil grown or traditional farming methods – I thought I would discuss some of the pluses and minuses of these different ways of growing your own.
Soil grown (or traditional growth vegetables) are obviously a very successful and easily accessible way to garden and grow your own food, it can be relatively inexpensive in comparison to an aquaponics set up and of course at its very basic level the veggies rely on the various nutrients in the soil for plant growth and success. \
Aquaponics on the other hand is the combination of hydroponic plant growth and aquaculture. The plant growth takes place with no soil at all and the plants rely on the production of fish waste which is cycled through the grow beds for their nutrients and in return they filter the water for it’s return to the fish tank.
The sustainable environmental impact of aquaponics is well documented, it takes up less space to grow significant amounts of vegetables and fish, it does not utilise the earths soil and can take place almost anywhere inside or out with some very elaborate and interesting systems set up around the world showcasing sustainable aquaponics.
So now I hear you saying, which option will give me better veggies?
Well – sad to say there is no hard and fast rules here but some vegetables are more suited to traditional soil gardening (particularly soil loving root veggies like carrots, potatoes & beets) while leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and other above ground growers tend to grow stronger in aquaponics systems feeding off the fish nutrients and constant water supply – but the best thing about gardening is try for yourself and see what works.
Everyone has different garden soil types so making sure you get the nutrients balance right and keeping it there is important while with aquaponics it is a matter of getting the fish and veggie balance correct and the watering takes care of itself but of course can be affected by mechanical pump breakdown and power outage.
Aquaponics systems, you will generally find, produce veggies that last longer and continue to thrive and grow for longer when the nutrients levels are correct, giving you more veggies more often.
Insect attacks do seem to happen more often in soil based gardens, mostly because they are at a lower level and more accessible to pests and of course everything is growing in super awesome organic soil that insects love as much as your veggies. Aquaponics are generally much higher from the ground and have no soil for little critters so fare much better against insect attack.
So where does all this leave you – well each to their own as they say – but I personally think a good mix of both farming options are going to allow you to produce longer and stronger throughout the year and also make gardening a lot of fun with the different science to each gardening style and you get to watch your fish as well as your vegetables grow in the best environment possible.