Chives are part of the onion family and are scallion and ramps relatives. Unlike the traditional onions, chives lack underground bulbs. Chives are a favorite among many individuals, which is one of the reasons they are now grown in aquaponic systems. Cultivating chives in aquaponics is doable and can be very advantageous. In case you are considering aquaponics chives, then you need to read on.
Why consider aquaponics chives?
Chives are nutrient-dense herbs, very low in calories but rich in vitamins A, C, and K. They contain phosphorus and choline. Choline is a nutrient essential for nurturing the cellular membranes. It also helps in muscle control, nervous and brain activities. Chives can prevent cancer and osteoporosis.
During the summer and spring seasons, they produce edible flowers that have a mildly spicy taste. These are used for cooking or as garnishes. The mild flavor of chives makes them excellent for blending dips, fish, soups, mashed, and baked potatoes.
Essential factors and considerations
The Aquaponic setup
You can grow chives using a media bed, the nutrient film technique, or the deep water culture method, depending on the produce yield intended. The setup should be accessible for constant monitoring of the fish and plant growth.
Growing chives from seeds can be quite a challenge, and therefore, only use seeds if you can’t find the plants. If you grow them from seeds, they will be ready for transplant after four weeks. For your chives to receive almost equal nutrient amounts and avoid competition, position them 8-12 inches apart.
As the plants grow, it is crucial that you take out the flowers after blooming. This prevents seed scatter. If they scatter, the plant may propagate quickly to take control of the entire system.
Temperature and sunlight
Chives prefer full sun, but they can also endure different temperatures. The preferred range is 65-80 degrees F. You will need the chives to be exposed to sunlight for 12 or more hours daily for them to flourish. This may be unattainable in areas that lack ample lighting, and here, artificial lights- fluorescent tubes, light-emitting diodes, or incandescent lights can be incorporated.
It is vital to note that natural light offers the plants the full spectrum (color and heat) for growth, conditions artificial lights may not fully provide. However, there are full-spectrum artificial lights available.
Suggested article: Aquaponics Grow Lights – Best Types Of Aquaponics Grow Lights
For optimal growth, chives will need the pH maintained between 6.1- 6.8.
Chives will be ready for harvesting 6-8 weeks after planting. Trim them back 1-2 inches above their crown. They should be harvested every 2-3 weeks. A routine harvest is best as it keeps them productive, in shape and also prevents them from growing out of control.
Chives are tough crops, and with all their benefits, choosing to cultivate chives in aquaponics is a worthy option. Whether you wish to grow them for personal use, as a hobby, or for commercial purposes, the growth requirements highlighted above must be checked for them to thrive fully.
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