Aquaponic Basil 101 - Your Complete Growing Guide
Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow in aquaponic systems. It’s famous for its health benefits, taking less space, and fast growth. It is a delicious herb used in a meat stew, soups, and other delicacies. In some communities, basil is used for medicinal properties. Basil is recognizable for its glossy, pointed leaves and deep green color.
Basil flavors add sweetness to dishes, but they’re also worth more than adding flavor. It is rich in antioxidants, calcium, and vitamin K, which provide health benefits to a healthy diet. Recent research has it that the herb may be able to lower blood sugar and alleviate prolonged effects of the condition. Green basil also exists in over 150 varieties, which may not be known below.
Green Basil Varieties
- Sweet basil is most common and widely available with a sweet aroma and flavor and is mainly used in Italian cuisines.
- Thai basil is smaller, spicy, has darker leaves, and is used to garnish Thai and Vietnamese foods.
- Cinnamon basil – It is called so because of its cinnamon-tinged relish.
- Lettuce basil – It is often used as a foundation for salads.
- Holy basil is mainly used for religious purposes, especially in the Hindu religion, as it is placed around their shrines.
- Purple basil – It has a deep purple tone and is used in Italian cuisines to add a hint of purple color and flavor.
- Greek basil
- African Blue basil
- Cardinal basil
- Christmas basil
- Spicy basil
- Genovese basil
Hidden Benefits Of Basil
- It helps in digestion by balancing the acidity within your body.
- Anti-inflammatory properties help lower the risk of heart disease and soothe cold, flu, sore throat, and fever.
- Basil provides skin benefits because of the oil it possesses. When mixed with rose water, this oil from basil leaves helps prevent acne.
- Basil is believed to stimulate neurotransmitters that control the hormones that bring about happiness; hence it helps as an anti-stress agent.
- Lessen diabetes effects. Aquaponic basil helps reduce sugar levels in the blood, hence helping diabetes management.
- Basil works as a detox agent, vital to prevent fat build-up in the liver.
- The basil oil has been long used as a traditional remedy for tummy problems. Basil helps also cure acid flux.
Can You Grow Basil In Aquaponics?
As discussed earlier, aquaponic basil exists in several varieties, and its benefits are exceptional. Additionally, basil can be more profitable than other leafy greens, making them suitable for market growers. But can you grow green basil at home? Is growing basil in aquaponics the best idea?
Yes, growing basil in aquaponics has been proven to work and yield very well in considerable time. In addition, aquaponic systems’ unique growing conditions (warm water and light) make it ideal for green basil to prosper.
How Do You Grow Basil In Aquaponics?
Some basil seeds are disease resistant and yield higher. You can plant aquaponic basil in two ways: germinating green basil seeds or clipping a node of another basil plant. Place the cut or pruned basil plant in a glass of water or aquaponics pot for a week or two where there is sunlight so it can grow.
- Green basil is a plant that works well in warm weather, so your system needs to maintain a 70 to 80 degrees F temperature after sowing your seeds; water the trays at least two times a day.
- Keep your seedlings from direct sunlight until they germinate. You can also cover the seedling tray with a polythene cover, and the seeds will sprout out in a few days.
- Once small leaves sprout out, place them in partial sunlight and moisten the seedlings with a 10% nutrient solution or plain water at least two times a day. It would be best to be careful not to overwater the seeds when they are still germinating as they may rot. Keep watering the plants in the tray until their roots reach the bottom of the cube for about three weeks, then transplant them into your system.
- Transplant the plants with a 10 to 12 inches spacing between plants to avoid nutrient competition and make room for higher yields.
- Once you transplant them into your system, provide 6 to 8 hours o sunlight daily.
- Every variety of basil in your system has a separate Nutrient composition suitable for the plant to yield aptly.
- Basil plants grow 18 to 24 inches taller and produce many offshoots that can be harvested per plant.
- A young basil plant less than 10 inches has buds on the stems that haven’t grown yet. You can clip the stem above the buds to trigger them to grow out. This pruning helps the plant be more productive and maintain a good shape.
- The best time to harvest your green basil leaves is before they bolt to flower.
- Avoid pinching the leaves; instead, use sharp shears. After harvesting, store the harvested basil in plastic at temperatures between 52-58 degrees F.
- When stored properly, green basil leaves can remain in an airtight container for 22 weeks while still fresh.
Green basil is popular because of its many advantages in medicine and food cuisines. It is also available in many species; hence you need to make the right choice for the species you ought to grow. Growing basil in aquaponics is practically easy and safe to implement as it yields well. You can grow green basil by planting seeds of the species you ought to grow or clip an already developed species.
Pruning basil stems to ensure that they yield well and maintain a good shape while it extends laterally. Make sure to store green basil at low temperatures to ensure long-time freshness. Choose the best aquaponic basil species that suits your needs (flavor and benefits) and is easy to grow with available nutrients.