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If you love tea, chances are you have spent afternoons drinking a calming cup of Chamomile tea to help you unwind. Chamomile is not only a relaxing tea, but it is also a plant that can bring an aromatic fragrance and charm to your garden. Not to mention, lure beneficial insects to your backyard. And while you can buy Chamomile at the local supermarket, however, growing Chamomile in Aquaponics gardens will give you a whole lot more of convenience.
In this article, we will show you how you can cultivate Chamomile in your Aquaponics system.
Why Grow Chamomile in your Aquaponics Garden?
Matricaria recutita or Chamomile is a fragrant herb that is a member of the Sunflower family. The plant is grown initially from Western Asia and Europe. During ancient times, Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks commonly use the herb as a treatment for conditions like insomnia or inflammation. The Romans likewise leverage Chamomile as an incense.
Still, while the herbaceous plant is famous for its healing qualities, it also lends a gentle and sweet taste to many treats and desserts. Some of the commercial producers of Chamomile are Egypt, South America, and Australia. In the United States, the country approximately imports 750,000 to 1 million pounds of Chamomile. The majority of this is consumed as an herbal tea.
Common Varieties of Chamomile
The two primary types of the plant are German (Matricaria chamomilla) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis). You will see Roman Chamomile usually grown as a creeping herb or a groundcover that eases the edges of your walkway or stone wall. German Chamomile, on the other hand, is the standard variety that people typically like to drink like an herbal tea.
How to Prepare Chamomile Tea
While Chamomile is perfect for an afternoon tea, you can also drink the herbal brew before going to bed. You can add 1 to 4 tablespoons of dried or fresh Chamomile flowers for every cup of water.
Boil your water, then steep your herb around 3 to 5 minutes or depending on your desired taste. If you want to boost the taste of your tea, stir a bit of honey and blend a touch of lemon juice to your drink.
Health Benefits of Chamomile
Though the herbal brew is famous for its soothing qualities, consuming Chamomile tea has other medicinal benefits. Studies have revealed the promising effects of the herb, yet, we still suggest consulting your doctor if you suffer from severe health conditions. Below are a few of the health benefits of Chamomile tea:
- Lessens menstrual pain – Research indicates that drinking Chamomile tea can ease the effects of menstrual cramps. The same study claims that drinking tea aids in reducing distress and anxiety linked with menstrual pain.
- Reduces blood sugar – A study asserts that consuming Chamomile tea could assist in suppressing of blood sugar levels. While the herb is not a substitute for regular medications, it can improve existing conditions.
- Helps cure minor skin conditions – Research found that Chamomile extract applied to a wound helps in treating it.
Cultivating Chamomile in your Aquaponics Garden
You can undoubtedly buy packages or even bulks of Chamomile in the local store. However, growing Chamomile in Aquaponics gardens is more convenient. It can be friendly to your budget, plus attract beneficial insects that can ward off harmful plant pest in your herb garden.
Growers use media beds in cultivating Aquaponics Chamomile. Since the herb can get top-heavy, consider inserting bamboo sticks to support your plant.
You can use Rapid Rooters or Oasis Rootcubes as your growing media. It is best to consider using starter plugs on your media bed since Chamomile seeds do not root well.
Chamomile enjoys the full sun. However, provide partial shade in case it gets too hot. The herb requires at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Water and Air Temperature
It is safe to plant the herb after frost passes. Chamomile prefers a temperature between 55°F to 60°F.
German Chamomile grows approximately 15 to 30 inches tall, while Roman Chamomile grows about 6 inches. When growing Chamomile in Aquaponics gardens, plant German Chamomile 6 to 8 inches apart, while Roman Chamomile will require 18 inches between them.
The plant prefers a pH range between 5.6 to 7.5 for optimal growth.
Chamomile seeds germinate roughly around 14 days. Growers can harvest the flowers when they notice the petals curling toward the middle during fall or late summer.
Walleye is a fish grown initially in North America and Canada. The fish is unique with its protruding eyes. Walleye is a suitable fish for Aquaponics since it can survive a broad range of pH levels, plus it suits most varieties of plants. The fish prefers a water temperature between 65°F to 75°F, while the pH levels can range between 6 to 8. Though Walleye may not be great looking, note that the fish has a pleasant taste.
Pests ordinarily avoid Chamomile. However, there are times that Thrips and Aphids can be an issue.
Common problems growing Aquaponic Chamomile
Others may consider Chamomile as an annoying weed in some locations. The reason is that Chamomile can readily self-sow. To avoid this problem, you can remove flowers if you want to prevent voluntary seedlings in the coming season.
Remember these quick tips when preserving your Chamomile.
- Always store Chamomile flowers in a sealed container to maintain its freshness.
- You can dry Chamomile flowers using a screen. Keep in mind to look out for insects that can hide inside your flowers. If you do catch hiding insects, douse with hot water and dry the flower again.