In this episode, learn about the role of plants in the aquaponics ecosystem and how you can choose a crop that fits your system.
What is the role of plants in an aquaponics system?
The role of plants in aquaponics system is fairly well defined: to remove waste from the water and clean it for the fish.
Microbes are heavily involved in this process by breaking down the compounds in the fish waste and making them available for the plants, but today we’re going to focus on the plants. (See Episode 7 for more on microbes.)
Plants are the major sink for the compounds that come from the fish waste- that is, they’re the end of the line- the final factor that removes them from the system. This is really important, because accumulation of these compounds is detrimental to other parts of the system.
Other important roles of plants are hosting microbes in their roots and releasing beneficial compounds into the water that help out both the fish and the microbes.
How do you choose the right plant for your system?
System balance is key here. The nice thing is that plants are good at “luxury consumption”- that is ,they take up nutrients that they don’t need. This gives us a range of possible nutrient levels to achieve instead of one specific level. Still, you need to understand what your plant needs, and you want to buy a plant that is right for your growing technique. Consider the utility of the crop, how you are going to sell it, and your environment.
At the end of the day, this decision requires research.
How are you going to market your produce?
People underestimate the value of this question.
Whether you are selling to a grocery store, a farmer’s market, or even your family, you need something that you can go to bat for.
Pick a produce that people want- whether that’s your community or yourself (or your kids).
Dig deeper >> Watch our “Finding Your Markets Webinar Series“
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