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Years ago, fine dining restaurants introduced microgreens to add flair to their array of dishes. Ever since then, these small nutritious greens became a popular companion for mixed salads or garnishes. Vegetable lovers can buy these edible plants in local stores or specialty markets; however, microgreens are pricey. One solution to ease your budget is to cultivate microgreens in your own backyard, which brings us to the topic: what are the best microgreens for aquaponics?
Herbs are the best microgreens for aquaponics. These crops are full of flavor and will make an excellent supplement to any regular diet. Here are some of the microgreens you can cultivate in your garden:
In this article, we will identify the best microgreens for aquaponics and learn the distinctive characteristics that make them a stellar choice for your system.
What Are Microgreens?
Microgreens are basically crops harvested once they develop real leaves. They are little green vegetables and much tinier than your standard baby greens. Growers can cultivate microgreens, whether in an outdoor or indoor garden. One of the perks of growing these small vegetables is that you can decide the harvest time for your crop to optimize their sour or sweet taste.
Gardeners likewise benefit from the quick rate these vegetables develop. Microgreens mature from seed to harvest roughly in 2 to 3 weeks. That is to say, commercial producers earn a considerable income in selling microgreens. While most people consume these greens in modest quantities, keep in mind that they are highly nutritious.
Best Microgreens For Aquaponics
Microgreens are ideal for cultivating on a flat, full surface. This will allow growers convenient access during harvest time. Hence, the Media Bed or Deep Water Culture methods are suitable options. When it comes to selecting fish, compatible fish for microgreens thrive in warm water like Tilapia or Perch.
If you wonder where you can readily buy microgreen seeds, they are available in local stores near you. Likewise, you can order them online. Now let’s see the best microgreens for aquaponics you can grow in your system.
First on our list is the herb Arugula, which is a quick-growing plant. This cool-climate loving vegetable belongs to the Mustard family that includes other plants such as Bok Choy, Cabbage, and Watercress. Arugula is a staple among fresh salads, pizza, casseroles, and sauces. Similar to other herbs, Arugula is rich in nutrients.
When cultivating Arugula microgreens, the optimal harvest period is around 10 days. If you are using a 10-inch x 20-inch media bed, you can place 1.5 ounces of seeds per tray. Follow the usual process in growing Arugula. However, since we are developing microgreens once they produce small green leaves, it is harvest time. Growers typically harvest these crops by cutting at the stem and leaving the roots.
Another herb ideal for a microgreen garden is Basil. This crop is a member of the Mint family, including other herbs such as Rosemary and Lavender. Though you will mostly come across green colored Basil, different varieties come in red or purple shade. The most common variation of this herb is the Sweet Basil. However, there are other types like Holy, Lemon, and Thai Basils.
To start your Basil microgreens, you can leverage a 10-inch x 20-inch media bed and place 1.5 ounces of seeds per tray. Observe the regular steps of cultivating Basil, only when you find small leaves developing around 15 days then begin harvesting.
Next on our list is the herb Coriander, which belongs to the Parsley family. These round seeds offer numerous health benefits that make them a terrific component of any nutritious diet. With Coriander’s mild citrusy and spicy flavor, herb lovers enjoy mixing them in soups and desserts.
A 10-inch x 20-inch media bed is also conducive for your Coriander microgreens. This type of tray can hold approximately 80 to 100 grams of dry seeds. Begin planting by initiating the regular practice of cultivating Coriander and monitor for real green leaves to appear between 14 to 21 days. Once these leaves come out, you can opt to give the microgreens another week before harvesting to provide more intense flavor.
Italian and Indian food lovers will love growing Fennel microgreens in their garden. The herb boasts of distinct licorice or anise-like taste that will undoubtedly invigorate any dish. Fennel likewise contains vitamins A, B, and C, which makes them a great ingredient to mix in your salad.
Start your microgreens by following the normal process in cultivating Fennel. You can use a 10-inch x 20-inch media bed and place 1 ounce of seeds per tray. Small real leaves will show roughly around 12 days, and you can harvest the microgreens after they appear.
Finally, last on our list of best microgreens for aquaponics is the vegetable superstar Kale. This herb is part of the Cole crop family. Herb lovers enjoy the nutritious Kale steamed, stir-fried, or just eaten raw. Others blend the vegetables in pesto or smoothies. While you will commonly see the green leafy Kale, this herb likewise has ornamental varieties in purple, magenta, and black-green color.
Again, similar to the other herbs, you can implement your Kale microgreens in a 10-inch x 20-inch media bed and place 1.5 ounces of seeds per tray. Adopt the standard approach in growing Kale, but when you see small Kale leaves appear in 8 to 12 days, start harvesting by clipping the stems.
Vegetable herbs are the best microgreens for aquaponics. These plants may be smaller in size, yet, they possess a more intense flavor than their full-grown counterparts. Typically, gardeners harvest these small plants around 7 to 21 days. This timeline allows them to achieve their desired taste, whether they want their microgreens bitter, sour, spicy, or neutral.
Besides their strong taste, microgreens offer higher amounts of vitamins and nutrients compared to mature crops. All the mentioned advantages plus their fast growth rate prove that microgreens are a fantastic choice whether your aquaponics garden is for commercial purposes or personal consumption. Nonetheless, be vigilant to purchase high-quality seeds from credible stores to avoid the risk of diseases and plant pests.