Pest Control & Maintenance
Controlling pests in your Aquaponics garden is not as challenging as crops grown in soil, however where there's food there will be pests to eat them. I don't mind giving a little food to the critters, but enough's enough, and in order to have organically grown produce you'll have to use producs that won't hurt you, your fish or the environment. I think that is a win, win, win.
First, consider planting Marigolds in your growbed. In addition you can make a good organic pest spray using the following ingredients:
- Organic Pest Control Spray:
- 1 quart of water plus 1 tablespoon of organic molasses.
- Spray directly on plant leaves especially on the backs of leaves.
- Aphids do not like the sweet taste and will soon leave.
Hold a towel or cloth beneath the plant to prevent the wash from getting into the water and irritating the fish. Don't forget to spray the backs of the plant leaves. Do this twice a week in the morning and evening.
Ladybugs are another useful tool in the battle of the insects, but once the pests are gone the ladybugs will go elsewhere, so unless they are available and cheap, then ladybugs could be costly.
If all else fails, pull out the plant, roots and all and dunk it in the fish water for 10-15 minutes. The fish will eat the pests off and leave the plant in tact. Another win/win.
Cleaning and Filtration
Depending on the system you have, you probably have a biofilter that filters out solids, keeping the fish water clean. There are different types of filtration available.
As with any type of farming or food handling, safety is important. If you are growing an aquaponic garden then you are already on the right track with using organic/natural pest control. In addition, when harvesting crops, especially from a raft bed system, take care not to contaminate your hands with the fish water and then harvest salad greens or any fruit or veggie that is to be eaten raw. Just to be on the safe side wash your veggies and fruit with a good organic vegetable wash bought commercially or you can make your own using the following ingredients in a spray bottle.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda
- 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract
Helpful links regarding food safety: