Aquaponics systems commonly involve raising freshwater fish because they can tolerate diverse water temperatures and pH…
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The distinct earthy flavor of Asparagus is what makes it one of our favorite vegetables. It can be paired with different foods and can instantly turn something into a 5-star dish. However, you may not be able to run to the grocery store every time you have a sudden inspiration for another asparagus complemented dinner idea. So, if you are like us who’s always craving for delicious yet healthy meals, growing Asparagus in aquaponics gardens is actually a bright idea.
In this article, we created a list of the most useful information that can help you grow your Asparagus in an aquaponics system.
Why Grow Asparagus in Your Aquaponics Garden?
Asparagus (folk name: sparrow grass) belongs to the flowering plant family, Asparagaceae. It was once considered as part of the Liliaceae family together with onions, garlic, and chives. According to research, it originated in the Mediterranean while wilder varieties were found in Africa. It was also discovered that these plants were cultivated in Egypt. In fact, Asparagus can be seen in the walls of several tombs. Another fascinating fact is that Queen Nefertiti even declared Asparagus as the Food of the Gods.
In earlier times, Asparagus was regarded as an aphrodisiac. This could be due to its appearance. However, the more logical explanation is that Asparagus is known to provide optimal energy and strength. Both of these, as we all know, can heighten intimate activities.
In addition, the plant is known to have a multitude of health benefits, and that is why people all over the globe have started growing Asparagus in their own aquaponics garden.
Types of Asparagus
There are around 300 species of Asparagus which can be categorized into three types. These are briefly explained below:
Green Asparagus is the most common type usually available in supermarkets. It gets its color from the sunlight.
White Asparagus has very similar properties with Green Asparagus, except for its color. When White Asparagus was cultivated, its shoots were covered with soil. Thus, there was no exposure to sunlight and there was no photosynthesis. Since White Asparagus is limited, it is often more expensive.
The Purple Asparagus has a sweeter taste and is thicker than Green and White Asparagus. This is known to have higher contents of antioxidant properties.
How to Serve Asparagus From Your Aquaponics Garden
Asparagus goes well with a lot of dishes. You can toss it to your salad, create soups, bake it with your chicken, beef, or add it to your steak. This shows that Asparagus is a versatile vegetable. That’s perfect nowadays as people are more drawn to healthier options.
While you can eat your Asparagus raw, there are other ways to prepare the vegetable. You can blanch, marinate, or even fry, depending on your liking. However, it is important to remember that cooking your Asparagus can lessen its nutritional content. It is best if your diet includes both raw and cooked Asparagus.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus is known to have multiple nutrients that can improve one’s overall health. It has Vitamins B2, B9, C, and K. And based on studies, this fibrous vegetable also has glutathione, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Below are the health benefits you could enjoy by adding Asparagus to their diet.
- Improves heart health
- Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Regulates blood sugar
- Promotes better digestion
- Delays signs of aging
- Keeps pregnancy healthy
- Improves skin condition
- Strengthens immunity and fights certain cancers
- Prevents kidney stones
- Stops symptoms of migraine
- Enhances eye health
Cultivating Asparagus in Your Aquaponics Garden
To learn more about growing Asparagus in aquaponics gardens, we have here some of the most practical knowledge that you can use right away.
Aquaponic System Types
We recommend using the Deep Water Culture or DWC for your Asparagus so that you can easily check its roots. Media bed is also a good system most especially for beginners, or if you do not have the right equipment for DWC.
Since Asparagus works best in neutral to slightly acidic pH levels, you should maintain it between 6.5 to 7.
Clay is a good option for growing Asparagus, but you need to make sure that it is well-drained. We do not encourage using recycled grow medium for this vegetable in order to avoid diseases.
Water and Air Temperature
Generally, Asparagus flourishes in warmer climates. Your water temperature should be around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have colder water, we suggest that you get a water heater.
As for the air temperature, 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit will do your vegetable good. If it goes lower than 24, your plant will likely be damaged or worse.
If you are using a hexagon-based grid, the space between your Asparagus crowns should be around 15 – 18 inches.
Asparagus loves sunlight and it must be exposed for at least 8 hours every day.
In addition, you can use shrimps for your aquaponics too. But remember to separate it if you have existing fish in your system.
It will take three years to harvest the Asparagus shoots. This is the reason why Asparagus is more expensive than most vegetables. We do not recommend to harvest all the shoots in one go. Doing so might delay the growth of other shoots, and you will have to wait for several months again.
There are a number of pests that can damage your Asparagus. Some of the common ones are aphids, armyworms, beetles, cutworms, grasshoppers, and larvae. You should have artificial controls in place to combat these pests at the onset. However, make sure that your pest solutions will not harm your fish.
Asparagus rust is one of the most common diseases of the vegetable. If your plant is infected, you will notice a reddish-brown on the plant’s stems and leaves. This happens when you are in a humid environment. The best solution is just to cut the disease or the affected area.
Before we close this article, here are some words of wisdom if you wish to grow your own Asparagus in an aquaponics system:
- Using Asparagus crown is easier than planting seeds
- Make sure that the crown is free from any disease
- Never grow a different type of plant or crops in the same bed as the Asparagus roots can grow big
- Place your Asparagus in ice-cold water after harvesting