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Unless you are currently on a special diet, if you walked into your kitchen right now, there are likely multiple foods in the cupboard that contain some form of Wheat. This beloved grain has played a significant role in the dietary needs of billions of people around the world for thousands of years. The problem for many consumers today is that the cost of Wheat-based products seems to be rising like many other food sectors. To solve this problem, shoppers are now trading in their shopping carts for a pair of gardening gloves and growing Wheat in aquaponics gardens to have their own supply of the hearty grain.
In this article, we have gathered some of the best information to help you grow your Wheat in an aquaponics system.
Why Grow Wheat in Your Aquaponics Garden?
Wheat belongs to the botanical tribe Triticeae and originated in Western Asia and Northern Africa. According to history, people chewed the Wheat seeds right after rubbing off its husks. But as humans learned new skills such as milling, Wheat became more versatile. Further agricultural and culinary development widened its uses.
To date, Wheat has become a common ingredient for a lot of staple foods across the world. It plays a significant role not just in the global economy but also in health. With its benefits and uses, growing Wheat in aquaponics is like farming gold.
Types of Wheat
There are six common classes of Wheat that most farmers typically cultivate. Let’s take a closer look at these varieties:
Hard Red Spring
Hard Red Spring is a versatile type of Wheat and is ideal for making artisan and yeast-leavened bread. It has a reddish-brown color and is an excellent source of selenium. This type of Wheat also has a strong flavor, and has become a favorite of bakers.
Hard White is the newest variety of Wheat developed from Hard Red Wheats and was made commercially available in the US back in the 1990s. It was intended to make Asian noodles, pan bread, and steamed bread.
Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Winter is the most common type of Wheat that is cultivated in the US. This variety has a more robust flavor compared to White Wheat. Take note that this has high gluten content. It is a great source of dietary fiber that can promote proper metabolism. If you are following a Mediterranean diet, this is commonly the type of wheat you would use.
Soft Red Winter
This type of Wheat has lower protein content and has less gluten. But those who are allergic to gluten should still avoid this. It’s the perfect variety to make pretzels, flatbeds, and crackers. Soft Red Winter is grown in humid conditions. The course form of this variety can be used for cereals and pasta.
Soft White Wheat is commonly used for Asian-style pastries, muffins, and cakes. It has a more delicate structure than Hard Wheat and is known to have high amounts of phosphorus and manganese.
Durum or pasta Wheat is considered the hardest variety of Wheat. It is bigger than the other types and is amber-colored.
How to Serve Wheat From Your Aquaponics Garden
There are several ways to use Wheat. The most popular product we can get from it is flour. It is also needed to create beer and other alcoholic drinks. Wheat straws are used for different furniture, such as manufacturing chairs or as a stuffing for mattresses. Wheat is also a good option as a food for livestock.
As of the moment, experts are now looking into the possibility of using Wheat in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
Health Benefits of Wheat
Wheat is undeniably the world’s most commonly consumed cereal grain due to its availability and health benefits. It has high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. You can also find selenium, manganese, copper, folate, and phosphorus. Let’s talk about the most popular health benefits of Wheat:
- Improves gut health and digestion
- Prevents colon and breast cancer
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure and blood sugar
- Protects gum and teeth
- Maintains optimal health
Cultivating Wheat in Your Aquaponics Garden
If you are thinking of making your own flour out of Wheat, then you need a vast area for your crops. But if your purpose of growing Wheat is to just add an extra kick to your smoothies and dishes, a smaller space should be enough.
Should you wish to push through with your plan, here are a few things to remember when growing Wheat in aquaponics gardens.
Aquaponic System Types
The best grow media for Wheat is expanded clay, vermiculite, and coconut coir.
Water and Air Temperature
Generally, the temperature that humans are comfortable with should work well for your Wheat. You should maintain a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can even survive up until 45 degrees and might suffer when it reaches 95.
The average spacing for Wheat crops is between six to eight inches.
Wheat thrives well if exposed to full sunlight. But you do not have to worry if some of your Wheat crops are partially shaded. Just make sure that you maintain the right temperature.
Tilapia is commonly used for aquaponics as it is hardy and easy to breed. However, you can still use other fish types that can thrive in similar conditions. Catfish, bass, goldfish, and koi are good options too.
The first sign that your Wheat is ready for harvesting is when the stalks and head turn from green to yellow. The heads of the seeds should be bowing down already and must be firm at this time. Doughy texture means you have to wait for a little bit more. It will take around four months for the Wheat to fully mature, and you can harvest it by hand.
Your Wheat crops can be attacked by several pests, including aphids, armyworms, stinkbugs, and wireworms. Always be on the lookout and use natural controls for pests as the first line of defense. We discourage you from using chemicals, as this could affect your whole aquaponics system.
The common diseases that can affect your Wheat are leaf streak, Barley yellow dwarf, eyespot, Fusarium head blight, powdery mildew, and Pythium root rot. Before you take the next actions, identify what type of disease your Wheat has. There are different approaches for each condition, and a thorough understanding is necessary.
Where to Buy Wheat Seeds
To end this post, here are a few essential things to remember about Wheat:
- Keep your Wheat dry before storing to avoid mold
- Make sure that you are not allergic to gluten
- White Wheat does not have the same nutritional content as the Brown Wheat
- If you are to make bread with your own Wheat flour, never refrigerate it