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Peas have been a part of the human diet for hundreds of years and are consumed all over the world. However, with the emergence of the health-conscious and farm to table movements, more people are wanting to know how to grow peas in aquaponics gardens for their nutritional value and also to advance their own environmentally sustainable food ecosystem.
In this article, we will discuss the nutrition found in peas, how to cultivate them in an aquaponics system.
Aquaponic Peas and Your Health
Peas are part of the legume family like chickpeas, beans, and peanuts, which are all plants that produce pods with seeds inside. Peas are quite nutritious and low in calories while containing a fair amount of fiber, several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Additionally, research shows that peas may also help protect against chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
Cultivating Nutrient Hungry Plants
Typically, the successful or failed cultivation of nutrient hungry plants such as peas can give you insight into the overall health of your aquaponics system. Nutrients play a significant role to provide sustainable energy and food sources to both plants and fish.
Unlike other aquaponics plants, peas rely more heavily on nutrient-rich systems. You will need to vigilantly monitor the Nitrate and Electrical Conductivity (EC) levels of peas more often to make sure there are enough nutrients.
Best Fish Breeds for Pea Cultivation
The next essential component for a successful pea harvest is to determine the type of fish you will use in your garden setup. Goldfish and tilapia are two common, and inexpensive fish breeds that are often using in aquaponics. The size of your fish tank will help you determine the best stocking density.
Goldfish are not edible and make an ideal aquaponic fish because they eat and produce large amounts of secretion, which provides plenty of nitrates for plants. Tilapia, which is edible, is easy to breed, doesn’t require extra care and can withstand various types of water conditions, making them ideal choices for first time aquaponics gardens.
Other important components of every aquaponic system include the pump, piping and grow beds, which can even be put on top or in the back of a regular fish tank or aquarium. No specific set-ups are required for pea cultivation.
Although this may sound complicated if you don’t feel comfortable creating the grow bed yourself, aquaponic fish tanks are available for purchase and are convenient, not too expensive and have everything you need to get started. An aquaponic system can easily be accomplished as a DIY project on a small budget.
Light and Temperature
Peas grown in aquaponics gardens can flourish in both natural and artificial light, however, the peas grow faster and best with full sun exposure. Maintaining a steady nightly temperature of 16-18 °C and 22-26 °C during the daytime is ideal for cultivating peas in aquaponics setups.
The fish and plants that you select should have similar pH requirements and temperature needs. The closer the match the better your success. pH levels between 5.5-7.0 will provide a sound metric for pea cultivation.
Get Started Growing Peas Today
You don’t have to be an expert on aquaponics to get started today. Regardless of the amount of knowledge that you have, growing peas in aquaponics gardens is a smart choice for any skill level. Gather or purchase your seeds, fish and the other components that you need, remember these considerations to successfully cultivate your peas and get growing!