Aquaponics systems commonly involve raising freshwater fish because they can tolerate diverse water temperatures and pH…
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Lemons can make for an excellent addition to your aquaponics garden not only because the plant looks attractive and produces white flowers, but also because you can expect fruit yields all-year-round. Just think about the supply of fragrant lemons you can have as a garnish, as an ingredient in a pie or for a refreshing lemonade. If you want a citrus grove, then you might consider growing lemons in aquaponics gardens.
In this article, you will learn more about lemons and how you can successfully grow them in your aquaponics system.
Why Grow Lemons Aquaponically?
Lemon (Citrus limon), which is considered the most popular citrus fruit, is an evergreen tree that belongs to the Rutaceae family. Depending on the variety, they can grow to anywhere between 3 to 6 meters (10 to 20 ft).
What’s wonderful about having lemon trees in your garden is that they can have a long lifespan. Once it starts bearing fruit (usually around three years of age), they can continue to do so for many years to come. That means you can enjoy years and years of harvesting fresh, zesty, fragrant lemons, which can be a fun and rewarding experience for the household.
Lemon trees can thrive even in the smallest of spaces, which also makes them ideal for aquaponics gardens. Lemons, along with bananas, are an ideal choice for gardeners who want to grow trees in their aquaponics system.
Nutritional Content of Lemons
Not only do lemons make your garden appealing, but they are also rich in nutrients. Since it belongs to the citrus family, lemons are known for being an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Below are the basic nutrients found in a quarter cup of lemons, specifically the juice:
- 0.21g of Protein
- 4.21 g of Carbohydrates
- 0.18 g of Dietary Fiber
- 0.15g of fat
- Calorie count of 13.42
The same amount of lemon contains 31 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. This vitamin/antioxidant plays an essential part in immunity. According to Oregon State University, vitamin C promotes white blood cell production and protects the immune cells.
Other than that, vitamin C has been studied to be good for the heart and has the potential to kill cancer cells. The various studies that were done on lemon and its vitamin C component suggest that lemon is good for you, and it would be practical to grow them in your own garden.
Lemon Varieties For Your Aquaponics Garden
Some lemons have pink flesh and are also called pink lemons. However, the true lemons are those that have the juicy yellow flesh. Below are some of the more popular cultivars of lemon that can do well in your aquaponics setup:
Eureka – This is a popular thornless, true-type variety that can grow up to 15 feet tall. However, you can keep its height smaller by pruning. It can tolerate drought and cold weather, and best thrives in zones 8 -11.
Lisbon – is another true lemon variety that has the same appearance as Eureka. They are not that sweet since they have a very acidic taste. Compared to Eureka, which can bear fruits all year, Lisbon can only produce crops twice a year.
Meyer – is another favorite variety but cannot be considered a true lemon. Instead, it’s a hybrid between lemon and orange or mandarin. That said, they are sweeter than the two aforementioned varieties.
Growing Requirements for Aquaponic Lemons
While it’s good to have lemon trees at home, keep in mind that they can be demanding when it comes to the right temperatures and amount of light. Below are some of the factors you need to consider when growing lemons in aquaponics gardens.
Maintain a water pH between 5.5 and 6.5 to help your lemon tree thrive. It is recommended to use a good pH meter when measuring.
Lemon trees prefer warm climates, so keep the water temperatures between 70 and 100 deg F, with the optimum temperature at 85 deg F. When temperatures rise above 105, your lemon tree will stop growing. On the other hand, if temperatures fall below 50 deg F, your tree will go dormant.
Because they love the sun, lemon trees need to receive sunlight constantly. Along with warm temperatures, that should help your tree bear juicy fruits.
You can start your lemon tree from seed or from a seedling sold at a local nursery. Keep in mind that if you start with seeds, it can take 3-5 years for your tree to bear fruits. Have patience; if not, visit the nursery and find an older seedling that’s ready for transplanting. As for the media, use gravel or hydroton for your growing bed.
Lemons are ready for harvesting as soon as they turn yellow and are firm. Fruits that are ready for harvest are usually 2-3 inches big
Fish Type To Consider
A hardy fish that can survive in a wide range of temperatures, like the Tilapia, is a good match for aquaponic lemons
Common Problems When Growing Lemons
You may have given your lemon tree proper care, but at some point, you might experience problems with growing lemons in aquaponics gardens. The plant may encounter pest damage or other nutritional deficiencies that can affect its ability to bear fruit. It’s important to learn how to identify common diseases in citrus fruits so you can immediately take action on how to prevent it from getting worse. Check out this full guide on how to diagnose citrus problems.