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Best Seeds For Aquaponics (Easy Guide)

Best Seeds For Aquaponics

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It is possible to grow just about any plant in an aquaponics system. However, the practitioner will need to be knowledgeable about ideal growing conditions and the best varieties of plants that suit each type of aquaponics unit. For instance, leafy greens grow best on raft systems, while fruiting plants are best cultivated in media beds. After learning about these facts, the next crucial step is choosing the seeds and germinating them before transplanting to the soilless system. Finding out the best seeds for aquaponics is one of the critical factors in a successful recirculating unit.

Some of the best seeds for aquaponics that are relatively easy to germinate are leafy greens, herbs, and fruiting plants. Following the correct steps in germination, growers can harvest fresh produce in a matter of months. Below are the five best seeds to plant in aquaponics:

  • Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes

In this article, we will be focusing on seed germination and seed starting techniques as preparation for seed planting. We will also discuss the best seeds for aquaponics systems to serve as a handy guide for both beginners and professionals.

Seed germination process

Seed germination process

Germination is the process of developing plants from seeds. By giving the seeds enough moisture, the seeds go through imbibition where enzymes are activated, thus starting the process of growth. Afterwhich, the seeds’ roots are developed to access water, and the shoots begin to appear on the surface. The sprouts will eventually grow leaves and get energy from the sun in a process called photomorphogenesis which is essential for its continuous growth.

Some of the most common reasons why seeds fail to germinate are the following:

  • Overwatering the soil
  • Planting the seeds too deeply
  • Poor seed quality
  • The soil is not of good quality
  • Giving the seed too much light
  • Improper soil temperature

Seed starting methods

Now that we have already covered how seed germination works, let us focus on the specific techniques on how to start seeds in aquaponics successfully. There are three ways that the growers can choose from if they opt to plant seeds instead of cutting or cloning: direct sowing, broadcasting, and using starter plugs. Another alternative option is purchasing plant starts to avoid going through the process of germination.

Direct sowing

This method of growing seeds is often used in media bed systems where grow media supports plant structure. The seeds are distributed evenly on the grow beds and pushed down under the grower’s chosen media. One of the main advantages of this method is that the plants are no longer needed to be transplanted.

Broadcasting

Just like direct sowing, this technique also skips the transplanting phase because the seeds are directly planted in the grow beds by scattering them on the growing media. However, broadcasting is not usually successful because some seeds fail to germinate since they do not reach the correct depth level to grow.

Starter plugs

Using starter plugs is an excellent method of arranging seedlings in an organized manner in the grow beds. Once the seeds have already germinated in the plugs, they can be transferred into the beds by creating small holes in the media. Some of the most common starter plugs are compressed peat and rock wool which can be sourced online from Amazon.

Purchasing plant starts

For gardeners who find seed starting difficult, another alternative option is buying plant starts. The grower only has to clean the roots of the plant to make sure there is no dirt or any bugs before transplanting it to the system.

Best seeds for aquaponics systems

Best seeds for aquaponics systems

When it comes to the plants that can be grown in an aquaponics system, the varieties are extensive, and the gardeners can practically choose any type as long as they do thorough research on the ideal growing conditions for their choices. As for the best seeds for aquaponics systems that a lot of farmers choose, lettuce, basil, pepper, and tomatoes are among the top picks. Below is a detailed discussion of the seeds mentioned above:

Lettuce

Lettuce is a best seed for aquaponics

Lettuce is perhaps one of the most favorite plants of aquaponics practitioners because it is quite easy to grow, and it thrives in cold seasons. It is best planted using a specially-made floating raft system or through styrofoam sheets. The seeds should be germinated beforehand through rock wool or oasis cubes before transplanting. 

Lettuce seedlings usually take one to two weeks to germinate before it can be transplanted. It should have two to three leaves and should be given supplement fertilizer to avoid transplant stress.

Below are some other considerations for starting lettuce successfully: 

pH Temperature Best season to plant Depth to plant Germination time
6.0 to 7.0 15° to 22°C spring, summer, and fall ¼ ” deep 7 to 14 days

Basil

Basil is a best seed for aquaponics

Basil is an aromatic herb that is a staple of most Italian dishes. This herb is rich in nutrients and helps in maintaining a healthy diet. One of the advantages of this plant is that it can be grown year-round and even indoors. There are also dwarf varieties that can be developed for limited spaces.

Below are some other considerations for starting basil successfully: 

pH Temperature Best season to plant Depth to plant Germination time
5.5 to 6.5 18° to 30°C spring ½” deep 5 to 10 days

Pepper

capsicum is a best seed for aquaponics

Pepper is a favorite among culinary experts because of the flavor that it gives to most dishes. It is also loaded with nutrients such as calcium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and selenium.

Three groups of peppers can be planted on aquaponics namely capsicum, piper, and pimenta. It is suggested that these varieties are started indoors because their roots do not like to be disturbed. 

Below are some other considerations for starting pepper successfully: 

pH Temperature Best season to plant Depth to plant Germination time
5.5 to 6.5 16° to 24°C warm seasons ½” deep 7 to 10 days

Cucumber

Cucumber is a great seed to grow in aquaponics systems

Cucumber is a type of fruit that is known for its mild crispy taste. It is a common ingredient in different salad types and can also be eaten raw. There are a lot of health benefits from eating cucumbers because it is low in calories, fat, and sodium. 

Below are some other considerations for starting cucumber successfully: 

pH Temperature Best season to plant Depth to plant Germination time
5.5 to 6.5 21°C spring, summer, and fall ½” deep 7 to 21 days

Tomatoes

Tomoto seeds in aquaponics

Because of its wide culinary application, tomato is also one of the best seeds for aquaponics gardens. It is easy to grow and matures fast, which results in a higher yield. It also contains many nutrients like vitamin A, C, B2, folate and a good source of antioxidants and lycopene.

Tomato seeds germinate in 7 to 14 days and can be transplanted into the aquaponics system once it has four leaves. 

Below are some other considerations for starting tomatoes successfully: 

pH Temperature Best season to plant Depth to plant Germination time
5.5 to 6.5 23° to 29°C spring and summer ¼ ” deep 7 to 14 days

Conclusion

A successful aquaponics system heavily relies on the process of seed starting because it is vital in plant production. Understanding the process of germination and the different seed starting techniques such as direct sowing, broadcasting, and using starter plugs are necessary for seed growth. 

Knowing the best seeds for aquaponics will also prevent system loss and result in a higher yield. Lettuce, basil, pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes are among the best types of plants that can be grown from seeds and can easily be purchased on local and online aquaponics stores.

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Campbells

The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle

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