If you are a fan of Chinese cuisine and love to grow different Chinese plants in aquaponics for culinary purposes, thinking about growing fresh bok choy will simply thrill you. This nutrient-rich Chinse cabbage is known for its refreshing taste to almost any recipe to which it can be added.
Cultivating bok choy in aquaponics is ideal for commercial cultivators, as it grows quickly and is tolerant to climate. It matures within 30 days of germination. If planted well, you can obtain three harvests from a single suite of bok choy roots.
In this post, let’s go through the essentials of successfully growing this cabbage in your aquaponics system.
Water / Solution
It is recommended to use soft water for proper germination and for the initial few days post sprouting. After three or four days of sprouting and for the next one week, using only a half-strength solution rich in nutrients is indispensable. Slowly, you can then use a full-strength solution.
Avoid using more nutrients than those that are required. Do flush your solution regularly or else the salt accumulation and other factors can damage your plants.
You should also consider maintaining the desired pH level of your solution. For growing bok choy in aquaponics, this level should be between 6 and 7. The most recommended level is between 6.3 and 6.5.
However, keep in mind that maintaining an exact level is impossible. This is because the pH will float around in a solution.
A level of pH above 7 or below 5 will result in more nutrient uptake problems and critical deficiencies.
If cultivated using soil, bok choy grows well in cool climates. This means that a high temperature is not suitable for its growth. This is because it will then attach to the seed, which will result in low-quality leaves. The same is also applicable to bok choy in aquaponics.
You will also have to maintain the required water temperature, as it will impact the quantity of oxygen to be retained in the water. This means that a higher water temperature hinders oxygenation. Thus, consider retaining the temperature of your solution a bit below the air temperature.
The air temperature should be between 50 and 70°F, and that of water should be a maximum of 65°F.
This is required for the hydroponic solution to give optimal results. Depending upon the type of system in place, the method of aeration can vary. For example, Deep Water Culture (DWC) needs sufficient oxygenation of the immersed roots. Oxygenation is also required in floating beds and drip systems but in less proportion to DWC.
It is essential to visually monitor the oxygen levels and roots’ health. Skinny browning roots getting separated easily from the plant mean insufficient oxygen to the plant.
Around six to seven hours of light is required for bok choy. This cool-season crop cannot bear excessive light. When it comes to aquaponics, fluorescent lights tend to work for cultivating bok choy. This is because of their soft light intensity and low emission of heat. Even LEDs T5 grow lights are suitable due to low heat emission.
With the right solution and temperature as well as proper aeration and light, it is easy to grow bok choy in aquaponics successfully.
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