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Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to scrambled eggs or omelet with fresh Arugula on top? With its mildly spicy and zesty taste, adding this herb to your breakfast will surely jumpstart your day. The vegetable is not only full of flavor but is also completely nutritious as well. In fact, this is the reason why growers make this leafy green plant a staple of vegetable gardens. So to add variety to your mixed greens, growing Arugula in Aquaponics gardens is simply an undertaking you wouldn’t want to miss.
In this article, we will learn how you can grow tasty Arugula in your Aquaponics set up so you can relish the tangy flavor in every meal.
Why Grow Arugula in your Aquaponics Garden?
Eruca Vesicaria Sativa or Arugula is a fast-growing, annual vegetable that cultivates well in cool weather. It is a member of the Cruciferous or Mustard family that features vegetables such as Watercress, Bok Choy, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower. The term “Cruciferous” comes from the Latin word “Cruciferae” which means “cross-bearing” since four petals of it appear like a cross.
Typically, you will see Arugula in fresh salads, but it is likewise delicious to mix the herb in sauces, pasta, and casseroles. Arugula is tender, so it brings more zest in a dish compared to Swish Chard or Spinach. Moreover, you can saute it quickly in contrast to other herbs like Kale.
Aside from salads, others love topping their pizza with Arugula after oven baking it. You can also blend fresh Arugula into your favorite smoothie or fruit juice. For a quick healthy snack, you can slip the leaves of the herb in your flatbread, wrap, or sandwich.
Health Benefits of Arugula
Nutrition-wise, the United States Department for Agriculture shares that you will only get 5 calories in one cup of 20 grams of Arugula. Other nutrients the herb will provide are the following:
- Vitamin C (2.5%)
- Vitamin K (27.7%)
- Protein (.516 grams)
- Calcium (3.2%)
With such a nourishing vegetable, growing Arugula in Aquaponics gardens is just logical. Besides enriching your diet, the herb will help ease your monthly grocery budget.
Cultivating Arugula in your Aquaponics Garden
Below are the parameters you should follow to ensure your Arugula thrives in your garden:
The herb prefers a pH range between 6.0 to 7.0. This range will ensure your plant receives all the nutrients in the water.
Too much sun will make your herb bitter. While full sun exposure is still best, it will need partial shade during warmer weather.
For greater yield, space your herbs between 12 to 18 inches. This will guarantee your plants will not compete for sunlight and other nutrients. Keep in mind too that this herb is a suitable companion for other larger green crops.
Though Arugula loves a cool climate, the herb prefers temperature between 45° to 65°F. Frost or snow will stress or damage your plant.
In general, a water temperature of 18°-30°C is beneficial for your Aquaponics garden. High water temperature will have less dissolved oxygen and more toxic ammonia, which can be overall dangerous to your system.
Keep in mind too that your water source heavily affects the water chemistry of your Aquaponic setup. When you have a new water source, always remember to test it to make sure it is healthy to use. Here are some samples of regular water sources:
- Rainwater – Water collected from rain is good for Aquaponics. This kind of water typically has neutral pH range, low concentrations of water Carbonate Hardness and General Hardness, and nearly 0 salinity. This is ideal for production since it can prevent salinity buildups. However, rainwater is not advisable for areas afflicted by acid rain.
- Municipal or Tap water – The treatment of Municipal water usually involves the use of Chlorine and Chloramines. Such chemicals are harmful to plants, fishes, and bacteria. In case you will use this type of water, test it first before using and store the water for more than 48 hours to allow chemicals to disappear into the atmosphere.
- Filtered water – Ordinarily, filtered water is safe to use and simple to manipulate because the ions and metals are already removed.