You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.
Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants! In today’s episode we’re talking about growing microgreens in an aquaponic deep water culture system!
This is new to me. I won’t lie. I’ve only started really looking into microgreens this year but have been fascinated by many things with them. One of those cool things has been growing them in my deep water culture raft system!
So, I won’t go in to how I got started with microgreens, but getting them to grow in the raft system has been a cool thing for me.
Why did I even bother trying to get them to grow in the raft system?
Well, if you’ve listened to this podcast at all, you know I like to get as much as I can out of anything I use, and I try to minimize my errors. I guess you could say that’s some kind of automation. But one of those error types I’m prone too is watering issues—I’m too late and things dry out, or I hover water and may actually water too much. That’s one of the beautiful things about aquaponics I love so much—it’s essentially automatic watering for me. That’s probably the main driver in my attempts to grow microgreens in my system!
So, if you can’t tell, I’m still new to microgreens and I don’t have much equipment for it all. I essentially have similar equipment for my aquaponics setup and that’s what I’ve been using.
But, the two don’t completely overlap, so I had to do some modifications.
It wasn’t hard, but I had to donate one of my Styrofoam rafts as an experiment. It was already cut to hold a lot of 2” net pots, so I did cringe as I cut all that hard work out to make room for a 1020 tray to fit instead.
I cut it a little small so that the tray didn’t slide all the way down on the foam. Instead, it sits up a bit high off the foam, but the weight of the tray brings everything down a bit more, so I guess that balances out. Sorta.
Regardless of how ugly or strange my new raft is, it holds the tray just fine and the seedlings have taken off like wildfire in there!
So far, I’ve only put a Chinese cabbage microgreen and some broccoli microgreens in the trays, but no complaints at all!
I will say there are some things to improve as I go along. First is the raft. The raft is actually pretty flimsy right now since it’s essentially a modification to do a test. And since cutting that foam is a mess I try to avoid, I’ll probably make the change once I break this raft.
Second, I’d like to get some thin trays for microgreens that make it easier to handle and use less substrate as well some other containers to see about space optimization for my little system. The 1020 tray is not well suited for my space right now, so it would be easier to change the tray, not the grow bed.
And the last thing, for now, that I’d like to change is figuring out a timing system for when to put trays in and take them out. My mini operation is pretty serial—that is one goes in and one goes out. I’d like to be able to predict or time that swap better so I don’t worry about having a gaping hole in my system.
Well, I’d like for you to walk away from this episode with some useful information. Something that could really be applied to your aquaponic situation. Sadly, I think this is mostly an FYI story-telling event. I’ve not really seen or read about anyone doing deep water culture microgreens, so I may hit a brick wall here soon that will save you time by NOT doing it. Right now, it’s fine, but I think the more common aquaponic adaptations are NFT and flood and drain for microgreens. I’ll get there too, but again, space is limited for me and I have a small deep water system in place right now. Who knows, I may have all three up and running before deciding on which one I like best.
But for right now, just know that microgreens LOVE the aquaponic environment and the deep water culture I’m using right now seems to be no exception.
I hope this episode has been intriguing and provided a few thoughts to mull over as you contemplate what microgreens could do for you in your aquaponic system.
Take care and happy aquaponicing!
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This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.