Looking to add some spice to your salad? Check out arugula! This peppery green is a great addition to any meal and can be grown in an aquaponics system with ease. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about growing arugula in an aquaponics system, from planting to harvesting. We’ll also give you some tips on how to get the best yield from your plants. So, let’s get started!
As we have described many times in this blog, aquaponics is a type of gardening that combines hydroponics (growing plants in water) with aquaculture (raising fish in tanks). In an aquaponics system, the fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants help to filter the water for the fish. It’s a symbiotic relationship that results in a healthy ecosystem for both plants and fish.
Why Aquaponics is Great for Arugula
Aquaponics is a great way to grow arugula because this leafy green thrives in water. In fact, you may have noticed that arugula grows best in the spring and fall when the weather is cooler and there is more rainfall. This is because arugula is a cool-weather crop that does not tolerate heat well. By growing arugula in an aquaponics system, you can provide the ideal conditions for your plants to thrive.
Aquaponics systems also offer a number of other benefits for arugula growers. For example, because the roots of the plants are constantly submerged in water, they will never experience drought stress. This means that you will not have to worry about watering your plants as often. In addition, aquaponics systems are very efficient with water usage. In fact, you can expect to use 90% less water than if you were growing arugula in soil.
Finally, aquaponics systems offer a controlled environment for growing plants. This means that you can more easily control the temperature, humidity, and light levels in your system. This is especially beneficial for arugula, as this crop requires cool temperatures to grow well.
What You Will Need to Grow Arugula in Your Aquaponics System
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of growing arugula in an aquaponics system, let’s take a look at what you will need to get started.
First, you will need a fish tank. This will be the home for your fish, and the source of nutrients for your plants. We recommend using a rectangular tank that is at least 50 gallons in size.
You will also need a grow bed for your plants. This can be any type of container that can hold water, such as a plastic tub or storage container. Your grow bed should be large enough to accommodate the number of plants you want to grow. We recommend using a grow bed that is at least 30 gallons in size.
Once you have your fish tank and grow bed, you will need to add a pump to your system. This will circulate the water from the fish tank to the grow bed and back again. We recommend using a submersible pump that is rated for at least 400 gallons per hour (GPH).
You will also need some growing media for your plants. This can be anything from gravel to expanded clay pellets. We recommend using a media that is easy to clean and won’t compact over time, such as hydroton or perlite.
Finally, you will need some plants! For arugula, we recommend starting with seedlings or transplants. This will give your plants a head start on growth and will allow you to get a jump on the growing season.
Now that you have all of the necessary supplies, you are ready to set up your aquaponics system and start growing arugula!
Setting Up Your Aquaponics System
The first step in setting up your aquaponics system is to fill your fish tank with water. You will need to use a water source that is safe for fish, such as treated tap water or filtered rainwater. Once your tank is filled, you can add your fish. We recommend using goldfish, tilapia, or catfish.
After your fish are in the tank, you can add your plants to the grow bed. If you are using seedlings, you will need to transplant them into the grow bed. If you are starting with seeds, you will need to plant them in the grow bed according to the instructions on the packet.
Once your plants are in the grow bed, you can add your pump to the system. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your pump. After your pump is in place, you can turn it on and let the water begin to circulate.
Finally, you will need to add your growing media to the grow bed. We recommend using a layer of hydroton or perlite that is at least two inches deep. This will provide plenty of room for your plant’s roots to spread out and absorb nutrients.
Now that your system is up and running, you can sit back and watch your plants grow! Be sure to check on your system regularly to make sure everything is working properly.
Caring for Your Arugula Plants
Once your arugula plants are established, they will need very little care. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure a bountiful harvest.
First, be sure to keep an eye on the water level in your fish tank. You will need to add water to the system as it evaporates. We recommend using a hose with a shut-off valve so that you can easily control the amount of water you are adding.
Second, you will need to feed your fish regularly. We recommend using high-quality pellet food that is specifically designed for aquaponic systems. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when feeding your fish.
Third, you will need to monitor the pH of your system. The ideal pH for an aquaponics system is between six and eight. You can test the pH of your system with a simple test kit from your local garden center.
If you notice that the pH of your system is outside of this range, you can adjust it by adding either lime or vinegar to the water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when adjusting the pH of your system.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure a successful harvest of delicious arugula! Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!
If you have any questions about setting up or caring for your aquaponics system, be sure to check out our Aquaponics FAQs page. You can also find more information about growing other plants in our Aquaponics Plant Guide. Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!