Why is it important to carefully think about the right plants to grow in your Aquaponics Farm?
First of all, because you’ll need to customers to sell them to. And if your production has no market demand to satisfy, it would be hard to find them.
Then, since the cost-effectiveness of your crop production depends on the water you fill your fish tanks with and the environmental conditions of your facility. (That may consists in a warehouse, a greenhouse, a shop, an empty room or garage.)
Anyway, any indoor space has its peculiar issues and advantages on the basis of the size and the amount of sunlight exposure, as well.
The same applies to the water you have availability of in your farm. Whose parameters depend on the geographical area where you implement it.
Therefore, it is reasonable to select some plants that are easy to grow in conditions similar to your facility’s.
In such a way to obtain a constant and steady production – all-year-round whether it’s viable.
GROWING STRAWBERRIES & FLOWERS
Currently, at My Rivendell Aquaponics Farm we’re focusing on strawberries and flowers. Particularly: roses, lavender, calla lilies and carnation.
For special seasonal events in our Aquaponics farm- like the flourishing of some flower varieties and the mating of our fish, crayfish and shrimps - we organize 1-hour guided tours inside our Aquaponics farm and to some of our organic fields.
As a matter of fact, these are niche-market plant species that we chose not only for their high market value. But also because they’ve thrived under our greenhouses’ farming conditions, included the the water parameters.
Indeed, our water pH is 6.8. That is really close to the optimal pH range for this crop, that is 5.5-6.5 – which would be unsustainable for our fish life. This is the reason why we 6.8 is the most effective compromise for growing such crop in Aquaponics.
Actually, this is one of the main rules to run an aquaponic system. Yet, we’ve talked this through in previous lessons and articles.
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While, for what concerns the flowers, after the trials of this Fall, we identified the species above mentioned.
HOW WE FOUND OUT THE RIGHT PLANTS to grow in our aquaponics farm
In fact, due to the size of our greenhouses and the unique micro-climate of this geographical area, we have to deal with high levels of humidity and the inner overheating of the facilities and the sun overexposure of the plants. And the selected species have shown to do well. Unlike several of the flower bulbs who struggled to grow and bloom.
Unfortunately, in our case we couldn’t build bigger-scale greenhouses because of the restrictions for the protection of the landscape.
Furthermore, we don’t have access to the town’s water supply. Hence, we depend on the rainwater collection (the few times we’re blessed by rain!) and tankers. (This means that it would have been absurdly onerous for us to build commercial-scale aquaponic systems.) Therefore, to save the percentage of water lost for evaporation, we used special greenhouse cloth that retain water on the top of it. Yet, this greatly increases the levels of humidity inside the greenhouses.
But, of course, in the meantime we have a smaller range of options in terms of crops to produce.
So, we focused on niche-specific plants that quickly reproduce themselves within the system under such environmental conditions we have. Especially when you bet on high-quality production rather than the quantity of it. Or however you don’t have a considerable amount of square meters for the grow beds.
Exactly like we do, for the reasons we’ve just aforementioned.
With this perspective, this Fall I carried out trials on the farming of flower bulbs in Aquaponics. And if I got some relevant success I’m proud of.
In the same time the results achieved for what concerns the tulips grown in the second greenhouse were quite disappointing for me. Since they were mostly due to our greenhouses flaws and the weird climate conditions of this Fall.
In short, I want to make it clear to you that the selection of the right plants to grow in your Aquaponics Farm depends on several factors of your own facility you have to take into account. Not only, as we’ve many times repeated, in terms of market demand your production is going to satisfy.
Of course, a bit of experience and trials will provide the best answers for you.
Yet, if you have no time and money to waste, you can always get in touch with us and trust our honest expertise.