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Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of bean stew? Aside from being a quick and filling addition to many cultural recipes around the world, beans pack a lot of protein and fiber, helping you also stay strong and healthy. So it should come as no surprise that growing beans in aquaponics gardens has become a favorite pastime for gardeners.
In this article, you will learn how to successfully cultivate beans in your own aquaponics setup.
Why grow beans in aquaponic gardens?
There are many ways to cook beans, such as frying, boiling, or even baking. You may turn them into a stew or mash them to thicken soups. If you prefer more texture in your food, reduce the cooking time so that your beans come out firm. Otherwise, you may opt to boil them longer for a softer and creamier consistency.
Health benefits of beans
Beans are known as a good source of protein, and a Harvard study revealed that replacing red meat with beans can lower the risk of heart disease. This study had 36 trials and tested over 1800 people on the effects of beans on their cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Beans contain a wealth of essential micronutrients your body needs, including potassium, folate, iron, and zinc. In addition, beans are one of the few plant sources that naturally produce the amino acid Lysine, which the human body can’t produce on its own.
Type of Beans
Beans are generally divided into two types—bush and pole beans. If you want to maximize the growing space, pole beans are ideal because they require support sticks so that the plant grows upward and takes up less space on the bed itself. On the other hand, bush beans may produce lots of beans at first, but since the plant space is limited, pole beans end up with 2 to 3 times more yield.
How to grow beans in an aquaponics setup
Below are the basic requirements to consider when growing beans in aquaponics gardens.
Plan on allocating between 30–50 cm of space in between your bean seedlings so that they have room to grow. You may place the plants a bit closer to each other if they are pole beans, but when growing bush beans, it’s recommended to maintain a 40 to 50cm gap between each plant.
Beans grow well in expanded clay pellets called hydroton so that they get enough support and hydration while growing.
When all proper growing conditions are met, beans typically sprout between 8 to 15 days. It is recommended to transplant the seedlings to the media bed only after 4-5 “true leaves” appear, and plants are 15 to 20 cm high. True leaves are leaves that unfurl above the cotyledon of the seedling. These leaves often look a bit hairier than the normal leaves and are often more decorative than many of the other leaves growing in the bed.
Like onions, beans grow well in warmer seasons, so most growers maintain air and water temperatures between 71°F to 78°F. These plants favor a cool environment, but it is advised not to go below 53°F as the plant may not flower at all.
Beans need full sunlight but can tolerate growing in partial shade. It is best that your plants get at least 6 to 8 hours of sun daily.
Beans flourish at a pH range of 5.5 to 7.