Aquaponics systems commonly involve raising freshwater fish because they can tolerate diverse water temperatures and pH…
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Now that you have invested in a new aquaponics setup, a family trip to your backyard garden feels like an adventure of new discoveries on each visit. It’s especially exciting when it’s time to choose a new plant to cultivate. A popular choice for many is to grow Brussel sprouts in aquaponics gardens to get a combination of nutrition, and a relatively easy plant to maintain.
In this article, we will discuss best practices you can leverage to grow Brussel sprouts in aquaponics gardens, challenges you might encounter while raising it, and ways to prevent pests and diseases from damaging your plants.
Health Benefits of Growing Brussel Sprouts in your Aquaponics Garden
Brussel sprouts may not be a favorite among kids, but indeed this vegetable makes a nutritious entree or side dish. It belongs to the Brassica oleracea crops that include kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbages.
Then again, this is likely the reason why Brussel sprouts greatly resemble mini cabbages. This crop may contain modest dimensions but note that it packs a tremendous nutrient punch, delivering numerous health advantages. Here are three notable benefits of this tasty crop:
- Brussel Sprouts contains antioxidants and fiber that can aid in keeping an individual’s blood sugar rate stable
- A 2008 research discovered that this crop can fight the oxidative deterioration to cells and shield humans against carcinogens thus reducing the probability of cancer
- It is rich in Vitamin K which is vital for bone metabolism and blood clotting
Knowing these health perks just confirms that growing Brussel sprouts in aquaponics gardens is a wise choice. Let’s take a look at some of the parameters you need to know when cultivating this cool-season vegetable.
Growing Brussel Sprouts by Media Bed Technique
Media beds in aquaponics setups, such as expanded clay or volcanic gravel, effectively are replacements for traditional soil and dirt. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions prior to deploying the media on an active grow bed.
In addition, keep a reliable testing kit on-hand that enables you to check your water quality on a regular basis. Keep in mind, though, that there are other essential parameters you need to monitor to ensure your Brussel sprouts grow successfully in their media beds.
As a cool-season crop, Brussel sprouts require average water temperature to grow. It will likewise grow best with a temperature between 60-70⁰ F. Below freezing temperature will cause severe damage to the crop while hot summer temperature will lessen sprout quality, plant growth, and prompt internal tip burn.
Maintaining a pH between 6.0-7.5 enhances your crop’s ability to access vital micro and macro-nutrients. As always try to use a quality pH meter.
Light & Plant Spacing
Brussel sprouts will need at least six hours of sunlight every day to enhance growth. Also, make sure your media bed has space in between beds approximately 16 to 18 inches, while space between rows is roughly 18 to 24 inches. The correct spacing of crops will allow for proper plant development.
High Demand Nutrient Crop
Patience is key if you decide to grow Brussel sprouts in aquaponics gardens. While leafy green plants like lettuce, watercress, and arugula are fast-growing, low nutrient demand crops, Brussel sprouts are high demand nutrient crops. You can harvest it roughly 3 to 4 months after initial planting.
It’s advisable to follow the specific parameters and seasonality which the vegetable is traditionally accustomed to when using outdoor aquaponics setups. Or if you have an indoor garden setup, it is advisable to start planting Brussel sprouts three to six months after your system has matured, and you feel confident maintaining crops with longer growing cycles.
Guarding your Brussel Sprouts against Pests and Diseases
The risk of plant pests and diseases is still present in the aquaponics system. Pest and disease management is different in aquaponics compared to traditional farming. Using techniques such as chemical fertilizers or insecticides can be hazardous to fish and the good bacteria present inside the system. A few of the safe, simple steps you can take to prevent pest and disease are the following:
- Use nets or screens. It may not eliminate pests, but it can prevent most of them. To keep off aphids that usually feed on leaves, use nets with a mesh size of 0.35 mm. You can use a net with a mesh size of .8 mm to prevent leaf miners.
- To keep off ants, you can coat the legs of your containers with petroleum jelly. You can likewise place a flashing ring of copper to detract snails and slugs from climbing on your system.
- Otherwise, you can spray water or remove pests using your hand. Spraying water directly on the crop can kill aphids, and other insects are flushed away.
- Lastly, monitor your crops on a regular basis to prevent diseases. In case you notice your vegetable displaying signs of root rot or wilting, immediately take out the infected leaves or remove the whole crop to stop the disease from spreading throughout the whole system.