Aquaponics systems commonly involve raising freshwater fish because they can tolerate diverse water temperatures and pH…
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An abundance of succulent raspberries in summer would be a delightful treat you don’t want to miss. While you can shop for them at the local market, nothing beats the quality when they are homegrown. You can make raspberry jams or even enjoy a refreshing dessert like raspberries and cream. So, if you want a sustainable supply of this tasty treat in your home, then you may want to consider growing raspberries in aquaponics gardens.
In this article, you will learn how some tips on how you can grow raspberries in an aquaponics setup.
Why Grow Aquaponic Raspberries
Raspberries belong to the Rosaceae family of plants, which make them a relative of strawberries. And just like its relative, raspberries are not considered as berries in a botanical sense. Rather, they are an aggregate fruit, which means they are formed from a single flower with more than one ovary.
Raspberries are among the most delicate fruits because of their structure. That said, they need to be handled very gently. When freshly picked, they should ideally be consumed within 24 hours. For this reason, commercial growers use chemicals to retain their quality and protect them from molds as they are being shipped.
Meanwhile, growing raspberries in aquaponics gardens would mean you don’t have to resort to using chemicals to preserve their quality. You can simply pick them from your garden and enjoy fresh, juicy treats, and save the others in the freezer for later consumption.
Health Benefits of Raspberries
Raspberries are not just tasty fruits, but they are also loaded with health benefits. According to the USDA, a 123-g serving of fresh raspberries can provide the following benefits:
- Calories: 64
- Fat: 0.8g
- Carbohydrates: 14.7g
- Fiber: 8g
- Sugars: 5.4g
- Protein: 1.5g
- Sodium: 0mg
It’s good to note that a cup of raspberries can provide 50 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, a vitamin important for boosting the immune system, tissue repair, and wound healing. Other benefits of raspberry include protecting your cells from certain cancers, regulating your blood sugar, and helping with proper digestion.
There are different varieties of raspberries that you can grow in an aquaponics system. These varieties are categorized into two main types: everbearing or fall-bearing types (primocane) and summer-bearing (floricanes).
Many home gardeners prefer the primocane varieties as they can produce harvests on the first-year canes (primocane), sometime late in summer and fall, as well as the summer crop when the second-year canes (floricanes) emerge. The summer-bearing types, on the other hand, only produce once on floricanes.
To decide on which type of raspberries to grow on your setup, you need to consider your local climate as well as the requirements of each variety. Here is a guide on the many varieties of raspberry you can choose for your aquaponics garden.
Growing Requirements for Aquaponic Raspberries
Below are some factors to consider when growing raspberries aquaponically:
Aquaponics System Types
A growing media bed will suffice, but provide a trellis to support the growth of your raspberry.
Maintain a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 for your plant. Always make sure to use a quality pH Meter.
Gravel can be a good choice of medium for your raspberry bush.
Water and Air Temperature
To keep your aquaponic raspberries happy, maintain the optimum temperature range between 72 F and 76 F.
Choose an area that receives full sunlight and let your plant get at least six hours of sun per day.
The Red Ear Sunfish, which thrives in temperatures between 73 to 77°F, can be a perfect match for your aquaponic raspberries. Another option to consider is the bluegill, which can survive in water temperatures between 70 to 75 °F.
Planting raspberries from seeds is not a feasible option, so go for transplants instead. When harvesting, do so in a careful manner as you’re dealing with a fragile fruit. Keep in mind that raspberries have a short shelf-life, so they don’t really store well unless you freeze them as soon as possible.
Birds are the most common problem when growing strawberries, so you might want to put up a bird netting to protect your plant.
Common Problems When Growing Raspberries
It’s not uncommon for you to pick a misshapen raspberry. This usually results from poor pollination brought about by a cold and wet environment. In that case, keep your water flow consistent.
Powdery mildew is another common disease found in raspberries. To prevent this, make sure you clean up after fallen fruits and leaves.
Raspberries are highly susceptible to a fungal disease called verticillium wilt when it’s planted close to tomatoes, potatoes, peppers. You might want to watch out for that and give your raspberries different neighboring plants.