What are the Best Plants for Aquaponics?

Dr. Nate Storey: So what crops to start with
is one of the most common questions for beginning aquaponic growers. It’s kind of a complicated question. You’ve got climate concerns. You have growing space concerns. All of these things are things you should
be thinking about. But in just about any case, just about any
scenario, we can recommend a few crops to start with. One of them is bok choy. Right here, you see towers of bok choy growing. This is a plant in the mustard family. Most of the mustards do really well in aquaponic
systems. But we really like bok choy because it grows
in hot weather. It grows in relatively cold weather. And it produces really, really nice yields
for us. This is what bok choy looks like growing in
towers. We’re going to walk around and look at a few
other greens crops, herbs crops, and fruiting crops. Lettuce is another crop that grows really
well in these systems right off the bat. The one concern with lettuce is that it can
have some bug issues. So keep that in mind before you start growing
it. Know how you’re going to control things like
aphids. But this is a romaine here, and we grow a
lot of romaine. We grow some butter head. One of our more recent lettuce varieties that
we really like is one called the Amish deer tongue. It grows really nicely in towers. It’s got good flavor, and it’s a great heirloom
variety of lettuce. Swiss chard is another really great crop. It’s really nutrient dense, and people really
love it. It’s got a great flavor. I will say, though, that it prefers cooler
weather to warmer weather. Another nice thing about Swiss chard is that
you can do multiple harvests. Here you can see that we’ve harvested off
of these towers for a while now. We just keep on cutting away the outside stalks,
the outside leaves, and kind of the inner crown, the core of the plant just keeps on
growing. That’s a really nice aspect to crops like
Swiss chard. Kale can be a really nice crop for towers
as well. Here we’ve got some good Tuscan kale. This has been growing for a little while. Most of this we send out through our CSA,
so it allows us to just pick off the outer leaves, let the main stalk keep growing, and
we can get a lot of harvest out of this kale over the coming weeks and even months. Another crop that we really like are collard
greens. You can see we’ve been growing these for a
while. We’ve been sending these out through our CSA. We’re just picking off the outside leaves
and letting kind of that main stalk keep growing. These, honestly, we’ve been harvesting on
for several months now. It’s a great crop. It’s very nutrient dense. It’s healthy. It’s delicious. It’s just an all-around great crop for hot
weather, cold weather, just about any kind of weather, really. This is a great crop for beginning aquaponic
growers. Fennel is a great herb for beginners. Now I will say that it has a really large
stature, and you can kind of see how crazy these towers are getting here. It’s a large-statured herb, but it’s really
delicious. Now if you like fennel tops, you can harvest
the fennel tops for a while without actually harvesting the bulb. This is the bulb down here. It’s not a true bulb, but you get the idea. It’s just an all-around great herb. It likes longer day length. If you’re trying to grow this in the winter,
you’re going to have terrible luck. If you’re trying to grow it in the spring
or the fall, you’re not going to have great luck. But if you’re in the summer, and it’s a little
bit cooler where you live, fennel can be a really productive, really delicious herb to
grow. There are a lot of herb that beginning growers,
whether you’re hydroponic or aquaponic, can grow. They can be really, really delicious additions
to your dishes, and they can supplement the flavors of your greens and your other crops
really, really nicely. Basil is one of those. This is not, I would say, an easy crop to
grow, necessarily. But, it’s well worth the effort. It loves a lot of sun, so wait until you have
good sunlight hours to start growing it. You can see this is a brand new tower that
was planted a week or two ago. In towers it grows very nicely. In most aquaponic systems it will grow fairly
well. There are some issues with it, but it’s certainly
worth the attempt for all of the flavor, and all of the things that it can add to your
dishes and to your cooking. Chives are a great starter crop for beginners,
because they’re really productive, and they’re really forgiving. It takes them a while to get going, so if
you plant from seed, or if you can take basically divided bulbs from someone’s garden, something
like that, it takes a little while to get established. But when you’re first starting, plant them
right on top of each other, and within a few months, you’re going to have a really dense
tower of chives that you can cut again and again and again, for years sometimes. Mint is another really nice herb to grow,
because it’s really easy to grow, and it’s really tolerant of a lot of abuse. We grow mint, and I will warn you, it gets
a little bit out of control, so you kind of want to contain it. If you’re growing in towers you’re fine. Basically, the towers will kind of contain
the roots, and it’s not going to spread to other towers, something like that. But if you are growing in a bed, you need
to be concerned about the mint plants actually kind of spreading out and taking over the
whole bed. Its a very simple crop to grow. Its very tolerant of a lot of different water
conditions. If you drink a lot of mint juleps or a lot
of tea, it’s worth growing a number of plants of mint, in just about any beginning hydro
or aquaponic setup. One of the last herbs that I always recommend
to beginning growers is, of course, parsley. This is an Italian big leaf. It’s really delicious stuff. It’s good in a lot of different dishes, kind
of like basil. It grows really nicely. It’s pretty easy to grow. It’s tolerant of cool weather, of relatively
warm weather. You do got to watch it. It does like to kind of go to flower and go
to seed on occasion, especially once it gets real hot. But by and large, it’s a really nice herb
that grows very well in towers as well as conventional aquaponic systems. A lot of beginning growers, whether they’re
aquaponic or hydroponic, have questions about fruiting crops, things like strawberries and
cucumbers and tomatoes. By and large, I tell folks to stay away from
things like tomatoes and cucumbers. But as you can see here, we’re growing a few
strawberries. These were actually just planted about a week
and a half ago. They’re coming along really nicely for their
age. Strawberries grow pretty well. They grow really nicely in these towers, and
they don’t get so full statured that they become a problem. They’re also not quite the nutrient hogs that
things like tomatoes are. Even though I know you want to put tomatoes
in, as a beginning grower, I would recommend you stay away from tomatoes. Learn on the crops that we’ve gone through
today. Learn on things like greens and herbs. If you’ve got to do something fruiting, maybe
try something like strawberries. Stay away from those really nutrient-demanding
crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and of course, those kind of large-statured vining crops. I hope that this is all really useful to you
today. If you have any questions, please feel free
to post them below. Also subscribe and check out the Vertical
Food blog. For most hobbyists, you’re buying mixed fertilizer
solution. So you’re buying a liquid mix. A good example of it would be something like
this stuff.

77 comments

  1. I have spent months studying aquaponics and discovered an awesome resource at Keiths Ponics Site (google it if you are interested)

  2. Great video, Collar Greens I'll remember that. I've had my Aquaponical system up and running for 4 months now and have found Rainbow Chard, Yellow Cherry Tomato, Red & Green Cos Lettuce grow really well in it. Cheers

  3. do you grow any Catholic corn or Baptist Butterbean? maybe some Episcopalian radishes or Lutheran watermelons? it's fucking deer tongue lettuce you dork

  4. I was thinking of setting up a tfd system in my basement and running lots of saffron plants in a rotation in order to get year round production. any avice or tips on planting bulbs in a soilless system? any ideas about if this is even possible??

  5. Dr. Storey, you advise against growing fruiting crops like tomatoes and cucumbers.  Why? Do they require different nutrients?

  6. Dear Sir, I want to ask about flower aquaponics, plz advise ; cause I seen many cucumber, strawberry but even flower ..

  7. Check out my Patented #hydroponic #aquaponic #puddlepipe #system It's pretty amazing. In the garden series with me…

  8. Hi BA, I just saw your other video about stacked vs vertical farming. Very nice channel. My question is that i live in an apartment in nyc and want to grow greens at home. Do you sell the verticals for home? Thank you.

  9. @6:03 and WHERE IS THE WATER? This seems a bit dry for aqua and no marine life means just hydro right?

  10. what is the best PH and PPM for the Aquaponic,
    if PH low or high what is the easy way to control
    if PPM low or high what is the easy way to control
    Thanks

  11. My aquaponic bed is going to be under a window, in a 65 gallon tub (south exposure). I am interesting in foliage plants that will consume a lot of nitrates, not really interested in vegetables. Any recommendations on plants? I have used Pothos, but I am not sure they are the best for purifying the water and looking really good to. Thank you

  12. if i had a knickel for every time someone requested or sold kale, chard or dark leafy greens at my farmer's market, i'd be BROKE

  13. thanks BA for such a informative video, can baby spinach be grown in such towers ? or generally in hydroponics?

  14. So I would have thought the point of aquaponics is that it would be great for nutrient hogs.  If it is just to save water then in a high rainfall area it isn't all that useful.

  15. China and Japan have been doing this for thousands of years….everyone has a large pond in their yard…gold fish. and you can eat the floating plants

  16. Thought, grow that which likes cooler temps lower on the tower, therein closer to ground temp and further from warm water source.

  17. Here in California much of the native soil is low in "fertility" and other things that equal low nutrition, so aside from potential ease of rot any native plant here should do well in aquaponics, such as sage, though unless the plant is something like strawberries which are from shady and costal parts of California, the plant should probably get an even smaller water flow as to not kill it, blueberries aren't s
    exactly small bushes, but they might be worth a try in aquaponics, sugarberry might be something to try too, but those are rather large so chances are it'll be too much of a hassle, while purslane isn't native it doesn't seem to mind the soil at all, and even at its largest it's still not too huge, though in its youth it might need more sprinkling than once established, and if you're growing from seed instead of cutting/leaf then you'll need 90F+ temperatures to propagate them, they should grow quickly as long as they aren't starved of water- even if they are they've surprised me before, no wonder they're often seen as a weed.

  18. Those veggies look better than anything ive ever seen in a grocery store, or death marts as i affectionately know them

  19. I'm not sure but ,if anyone else trying to find out backyard aquaponics system try Tarbetti Amazing Aquaponics Tutor (just google it ) ? Ive heard some interesting things about it and my work buddy got cool results with it.

  20. interesting points ,if anyone else is searching for aquaponics courses try Panlarko Expert Aquaponics Planner (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some pretty good things about it and my buddy got cool results with it.

  21. hi guys, the greatest results that ive had was by using the Keiths Ponics Site (i found it on google) without a doubt the no.1 course that I have ever tried.

  22. Appreciate video content! Sorry for the intrusion, I would love your opinion. Have you researched – Patlarny Gardening Expert Principle (search on google)? It is a smashing exclusive guide for learning how to expand your produce with the clever art of aquaponics without the headache. Ive heard some pretty good things about it and my mate got cool results with it.

  23. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else is searching for aquaponics course try Debuncar Amazing Aquaponics Aid (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some super things about it and my mate got cool success with it.

  24. I liked this video.Its short well explained .I key point you missed though is how to assemble the vertical gardens .Yours look unique from what ive seen elsewhere and i would have wanted to see you assemble them.

  25. Thanks a lot. This was pretty informative.
    I wanted to know what other berries can be grown? Like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries…

  26. I'm an Indian. I'm so interested in farming, organics especially. Aquaponics interests me a lot. I'm just afraid if I get succeeded here in Bangalore

  27. Very great video. I'm listening to you aquaponics podcasts as well. Is there any concern on chemicals leeching into the system from all the PVC? I'm in northern Minnesota and would like to start with a small greenhouse aquaponics system but the winter will be a concern. Any help is appreciated. Thanks for all the great content!

  28. How well do legumes grow in an aquaponics system?

    I kind of imagine that they would do well, as long as the nutrients are there for them, but would that be the primary concern?

    I don't have a system yet. I'm still working on figuring out what will work with my space limitations.

  29. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else wants to learn about aquaponics at home try Aqua Recovery Tactics (http://aqua.RecoveryTactics.com ) ? Ive heard some super things about it and my mate got amazing success with it.

  30. We have not so great soil on our property. We are looking into building an aquaponics system, and hope to have everything by spring. Our gardens have failed especially the last few years. Our grass isn't even the best. But we have to make the best of the scenereo.

  31. Hi, thanks for yr video.
    What is the black coloured media that you have in yr towers? (I saw you pull it into one of the towers, in the beginning of yr video).

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