Aquaponics kit in Kindergarten

Asked December 28, 2015, 4:34 PM EST

I teach kindergarten and we are studying the plant and animal cycle. I purchased an aquaponics kit. I am trying to find out what best grows in this kit. I wanted to grow strawberries, but I don't know if this is the best choice. What is your expert opinions.

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

The kids are going to love learning about aquaponics! I recommend choosing plants that will be the easiest to grow. Some that the kids would enjoy eating and/or smelling include lettuce, basil, and mints. Other easy-to-grow plants for an aquaponics system include spinach, chives or other herbs.
Plants that need to flower & fruit (like tomatoes or peppers) or that have thick fleshy crowns (like strawberries) are much more finicky about the nutrient levels in the system or tend to decay (the strawberries). I wouldn't recommend that a beginner start with those.
You can start your own plants in a soilless media (like a rock wool cube) or a coconut coir based mix and then transplant the plants into the aquaponic system. Other options include trying to direct seed into the system (can be tricky for getting the seeds to germinate). You can even purchase lettuce or basil transplants from a local garden store-just rinse the soil off the roots before adding to the system.

More general aquaponics information can be found here from New Mexico State University Extension. If you still have questions, please contact me at brooke.edmunds@oregonstate.edu and I'll walk you through it.

Thanks for using Ask An Expert and good luck!