Water thirsty plants LOVE the aquaponics system ❤
According to my diary, we started the aquaponics system at the end of January. It came together with a whoosh … technically we were supposed to cycle the system, allow time for the bacteria to sort themselves out before we introduced plants and fish, but it didn’t happen like that. And despite many misgivings I had that we would get it wrong, the principle of ‘diving in and having a go’ has been, for the most part, successful.
The images above give an idea of the vigour of growth in the system. We have found that not all plants are created equal when it comes to aquaponics, and, as described in earlier blogs, have jettisoned plants that just don’t survive. Currently, the big players in the grow beds are the celery, chard and cucumbers. We have never grown celery before, and are using poly pipe to keep the stalks together. We are not sure when we will harvest.
Meanwhile in the home-made NFT we are having success with Pak Choi, lettuce of all types and tomatoes. We are hoping that the tomatoes do well here, as they are straggly and under performing in the grow beds—and we have quite a demand for tomatoes in our diet … both fresh and for the relishes that can be made.
The solid garden is also coming along with winter crops—mostly brassicas. We have had a few pests, but home-made bug spray makes them very unhappy players. The sweet potato, newly planted corn and beans all seem to be growing well.
What we are noticing, however, is a huge increase in the number of mosquitoes … and it is not just here—they are everywhere! Initially we thought we had created a perfect environment for them, with lots of water around the place, but the fish tanks are covered (and the fish would eat any mosquito larvae anyway), the grow beds rise and flush with regular precision, and the water in the NFT is moving—which I am sure is not a good environment for mosquitos. We live not too far from mangroves and wetlands, and I think because of the rather unseasonal weather we are having—daytime temperatures remain in the low 30s and we are 6 weeks into autumn—that conditions are allowing for mosquitoes to continue to flourish 😦
Hopefully when the weather starts to cool we will see the populations of these nasty biting pests drop off!