When Will I Harvest My Aquaponics Vegetables?
If this is your first time with aquaponics, then you are probably very exciting to start enjoying the food you have grown yourself. Obviously, vegetables and fish require some time to grow fully, although this will depend on the species of plants and fish you have in your system. Aquaponics is a natural system and no chemicals or additives are used to speed up growth of either vegetables or fish. Hence, they will take up their natural time to grow and mature, ensuring the best quality and taste.
When purchasing plant seeds, check out the information on the package - it will tell you how long the plant normally takes to be ready for harvesting. Now, if this is the first time you are setting up the Aquaponics system, you won't be able to plant the seeds immediately. This is because the wastes from the fish will need about 3 months to be turned into nutrients by the bacteria. However, if you want to start planting immediately, you can supply the nitrates into the water yourself.
Once you have planted the seeds, the plants will grow at their natural rate. Remember that you will be growing organic vegetables, free of artificial additives. The best-growing plants in an aquaponics system will be the same ones that grow best in your area (depending on the climate, etc...). Of course, you may grow plants which require very different climatic conditions than those in your area (e.g. some plants grow best in the cold or in the heat), however, in this case you will need to heat or cool the area accordingly.
A large number of plants can be grown in an aquaponics farming system, mainly with the exception of root vegetables. However, for most above-ground plants, aquaponics is an ideal set-up to grow these. Very common plants grown in these systems are herbs and green leafy vegetables, as well as plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, chili, red salad onions, celery, broccoli, beans, and cauliflower. Common herbs grown in aquaponics farming include parsley, watercress, basil, sage, and coriander.
If you are running an aquaponics system for profit (i.e. to sell the vegetables and fish), then the species you choose to grow will also depend on the current demand and prices in your area. Most people find that they can charge higher prices for the same foods than those found in supermarkets, because organic home-grown foods attract a premium. Many start out with aquaponics as a hobby, and it ends up being an important source of income!
Discover all the tips and tricks for growing vegetables and herbs using an Aquaponics system in How To DIY Aquaponics