Aquaponics systems commonly involve raising freshwater fish because they can tolerate diverse water temperatures and pH…
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If you are fond of cooking Italian dishes, most likely, you have a stash of Basil in your kitchen. This aromatic herb, similar to Oregano, is a key ingredient in preparing scrumptious tomato-based sauces as well as making delicious tasting pesto. Its popularity though, goes beyond Italian food. As a matter of fact, the exquisitely flavored Basil is likewise an essential feature in Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and Thai cuisines. And while you can buy it in packs in the market, however, nothing beats growing Basil in Aquaponics gardens to complement your homemade dish perfectly.
In this article, you will learn how to successfully grow this classic ingredient in your aquaponics system and discover the many benefits behind this universally used culinary herb.
Why Grow Basil in your Aquaponics Garden?
A member of the broad Lamiaceae or Mint family, Basil is an edible herb just like Lavender, Sage, and Rosemary. It is an annual leafy plant with numerous varieties. You will see a great deal of these herbs in shades of green. However, there are others in purple or red color. The most popular variety of this leafy plant is Sweet Basil, which is the staple ingredient for Italian dishes. Other varieties such as Lemon Basil, Thai Basil, and Holy Basil have likewise become a commodity in many cuisines.
Health Benefits of Basil
Needless to say, Basil’s worth is more than adding flavor to your dishes. The herb is also rich in nutrients like vitamin K, antioxidants, and Calcium, which are beneficial to any healthy diet. Moreover, a 2019 research discovered that extracts of the variant Sweet Basil help lower high blood sugar levels. The same study also suggests that the herb may be able to alleviate the prolonged effects of the said condition.
Cultivating Basil in your Aquaponics Garden
With this in mind, growing Basil in Aquaponics gardens is just what you may need. Here are guidelines you must follow to cultivate fresh Basil in your system.
Basil requires a pH range between 5.5 to 6.5 for optimal growth.
The herb loves warm weather. It is best to place the plant in a spot where it will enjoy 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day. However, provide partial shading also for better results and to avoid tip burn.
Water temperature between 18° to 30°C is suitable for this herb. Though the optimal range is 20° to 25°C.
Provide space between 10 to 12 inches apart for greater yields and to avoid competition for nutrients. If you plan to grow larger varieties, it is best to space plants between 16 to 24 inches.
While the above parameters are essential to ensure your herb crop thrives, choosing where you position your Aquaponics system is also crucial. Below are factors you must consider in selecting your Aquaponics site.
Guide to Aquaponics Site Selection
The Aquaponics system requires components such as water, media, fish tanks, etc. For commercial units, it will use components that are massive and difficult to move. Thus, it is wise to build your unit in its final resting place. Here are the factors you should consider in choosing your Aquaponics site.
- Fences, Utilities, and Accessibility– Since most systems will require air and water pumps, you will need a location with available utilities. Build fences also to keep off animals, pests, and thieves. It is important too that your setup is accessible because you will monitor it every day.
- Stability– A steady and level site is important. Otherwise, the legs of your system can potentially sink in the ground. This will lead to suspended water flow, flooding, or system collapse. You can reinforce the stability of your location by placing cement blocks or concrete beneath the grow beds. Using a base for your fish tanks is also advisable to make sure the ground is steady.
- Risk of exposure to rain, wind, and snow– A good location for your Aquaponics setup is an area protected from rain, wind, and snow. Heavy rain and snow can ruin your plants and affect water chemistry. On the one hand, strong winds can likewise affect plant production and harm its reproductive sections.