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Can you imagine drinking Mojito or Mint Julep without any spice in it? Both of these drinks are famous for their refreshing twist supplemented by the Mint plant. Indeed, this plant is particularly infamous for the cooling effect that it supplies. You can mix it not only in beverages, but also blend it in desserts, sauces, and salads. Unfortunately, the herb maintains a limited shelf life. Thus, growing Mint in aquaponics gardens means you get to harvest and enjoy a fresh product on a regular basis.
In this article, we will show you how you can productively manage and grow Mint in your aquaponics garden.
Why Grow Mint in your Aquaponics Garden?
Mentha or Mint is a member of the Lamiaceae family. It is a perennial plant that has aggressive growth behavior. When left on its own without intervention, Mint plants will naturally propagate rapidly and can become an inconvenience if not monitored. Even so, the value it brings to both commercial and backyard aquaponics gardens far outweighs drawbacks.
Some of the main varieties of Mint are Pennyroyal Mint, Peppermint, and Spearmint. Typically, fresh or dried spearmint is the common variety you will see in kitchens. It makes a pleasant compliment to fish, lamb, and poultry. Not to mention, it also enhances the taste of vegetables like carrots, peas, and potatoes. Mint likewise blends perfectly with fruit or green salads and drinks such as lemonades, punch, and teas.
Health Benefits of Mint
When it comes to health benefits, Mint is equally nutritious to other herbs in the Lamiaceae family, along with Lavender, Oregano, and Basil. The flavorful herb contains a good amount of antioxidants and vitamin A. Incidentally, a study discovered that peppermint in its oil form aids in relieving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Also, munching on fresh Mint leaves and sipping peppermint tea will kill bad breath, causing bacteria.
Cultivating Mint in your Aquaponics Garden
With all of these in mind, the task of growing Mint in aquaponics gardens should definitely be on your to-do list. Below are the parameters you must follow to guarantee your herb cultivates well in your system.
For optimal yield, Mint prefers a pH range between 6.5 to 7.0.
Unlike other herbs, the plant likes partial shade. You can position it directly in full sun; however, it will need periodic watering.
Mint is considered marginally frost tolerant. The ideal temperature for the herb is 65° to 70°F.
Placing Mint near tomatoes and cabbage will often boost their taste and health. Moreover, doing this will prevent the herb from quickly propagating and robbing nutrients from other plants in your aquaponics bed.
It is advisable to put a space of 18 to 24 inches between your herb. This will ensure ease of access and avoid the herb from competing for water and light nutrients.
Truly, growers of Mint will expect a lot of benefits in cultivating this cooling herb. Bear in mind, though, that if you have animals in your home, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises that mint oil is hazardous to cats, horses, and dogs. When these animals swallow a great deal of this oil, it will lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
And, while the parameters mentioned above will help you succeed in growing Mint in your Aquaponics set up, another aspect you must oversee is the well-being of your fish. We will talk about this issue in the following section.
Since Aquaponics is a practice of producing crops through a soil-less technique, plants obtain nutrients from fish waste. It is, therefore, vital that you monitor the well-being of your fish and avoid stress by ensuring safe and healthy water quality. When your fish is in a state of stress for a long time, it will result in fungi, bacteria, or other forms of diseases. Here is a list of factors that causes stress in fishes and its symptoms:
- Low dissolved oxygen – When this condition happens, you will see fish gasping at the surface, attempting to breathe.
- Lousy water quality – You will notice fish breathing rapidly when there is dismal water quality.
- High amount of Toxins, Nitrite, or Ammonia – This condition will result in fish frequently scratching the edges of the tank, gasping at the surface, and noticeable red patches on their skin.
- Rapid temperature changes or incorrect temperature range – Incorrect temperature will lead to poor fish appetite.
- Incorrect water pH – When this occurs, you will typically observe a strange fish swimming pattern and fish staying at the bottom or surface of the tank.