A bit of a departure from my usual tech posting, but I needed to keep this somewhere and here seemed as good a place as any (there's SOME tech involved). I'm reinstating my aquaponics setup after moving it and so found a local general planting calendar that will help me know what to plant in what month. My plan is to keep this updated with additional info as I come across it / figure it out. It's not specifically an aquaponics planting guide at the moment, but I'll notate it as the months come.
We've had an aquaponics setup for about 5 or 6 years and had varied success with it. Some stuff has grown very well, but other stuff that generally seems to thrive in everyone else's setup, has not done so well for us. I did put a lot of effort into things like seasonal planting, succession planting and companion planting, but it is very hard to get right, especially in such a small space. One of the issues was probably the planting guide I was using as it was not tailored for South Australia, so I've started to put together a tailored guide, as below. It's a mix of several sources; both books and web, and my plan is to notate it with information specific to aquaponics husbandry that will provide a reference for me each season.
Another part of the issue with my previous attempt was that whilst we had pretty good success growing from seedlings, trying to grow from seed was not as successful. Germination rates were low, plus transplanting seedlings into the grow beds also ended up with casualties. Buying seedlings, whilst more successful is obviously massively more expensive than raising from seed so I am determined to make more of a a success of things this time, although we did have great success buying seedlings from the 'death-row' section in Bunnings.
A big part of previous failings is that whilst I love gardening, I am a complete novice when it comes to raising from seeds. This time around I've been trying to learn from my past mistakes and have been reading up a lot more. There's also heaps more info online regarding aquaponics than there was even just a few years ago, including some easy to digest youtube videos that have definitely helped. Plus I've managed to get some good advice from our local hydro shop.
One departure from previous is that I've invested in a decent propagation set up with a heater. If we are to be successful with succession planting we need to ensure predictable success rates so that crops can be run continuously, this is key to ensuring a continued supply. I'm also going to try using a method suggested by the local hydro shop and see how this fares.
My Setup (for reference)
My setup consists of two seperate IBCs. They are placed up against the rear wall of my garage and have steel mesh trellis mounted to the wall above them for climbers or to stake large plants. The rear wall of the garage is South facing and gets full sunlight most of the day.
I am also considering adding an NFT type of setup along the western wall of the garage but that's a way off at this stage.
At this stage (April 2019) I'm running goldfish. Basically Comets, Chubunkins and Fantails from my pond. I have previously raised Silver Perch, which I will get back to at some point, but for the time being Goldfish it is
Okay. so now on to the guide itself. There's a few things I want to try and achieve with this.
- Monthly planting regimen - This one's pretty easy and pretty much laid out already on a month-by-month basis, however i want to split this up further into week-by-week and extend the planting range to suit aquaponics setups
- Succession planting volumes and times - This is a little harder but just takes some time to map out. I'm going to base my planting regime on a family of four, you may need to adjust it to suit your needs.
- Companion planting - Again, this is going to take a little time. I did have my beds mapped out at one time, I will see if I can find the mapping and enter the information.
Now this may seem like some mumbo-jumbo but I was once told by a successful commercial farmer that planting in accordance with the moon phases is one of the keys to his success. So I am including moon phases along with the other information The moon has four basic phases, each phase or 'quarter' relates to different activities as follows:
From New Moon (crescent moon or dark moon) to the first quarter moon - The moon is waxing (growing bigger) in this phase. gravity pulls water higher, sap rises. Delay doing anything in the patch until a tiny wee fingernail of the moon is actually visible. This phase of the moon is ideal for sowing plants with edible leaves and seed heads.
From First Quarter to Second Quarter - The moon is still waxing (growing bigger) in this phase, and the sap is still flowing! Gardening is NOT recommended in the 12 hours before the full moon. There is less gravitational pull, making this time ideal for leaf growth. Still a great phase for starting things off and even better for planting, grafting and transplanting fruiting annuals (those that produce above the ground, and have their seeds inside, like tomatoes, capsicums, beans and peas). Cereals and grains can also go in now, and it’s still okay to feed if you need.
From 12 hours after Full Moon to Third Quarter - Gardening is NOT recommended in the 12 hours before the full moon. As the moon wanes and light decreases gravitational pull returns downwards pulling water lower, making this a good time for root system growth. This phase of the moon is ideal for root crops, bulbs and transplanting. Sap is flowing downwards during this time, so whacking in bulbs and root crops that produce underground is perfect. Pruning and harvesting is recommended during this phase, but avoid planting most foliage and edible plants, as their initial growth will be impressive but will wane (just like the moon during this phase)
From Third Quarter to New Moon (dark moon) - harvest & cultivate - In the fourth quarter moonlight decreases further as does gravitational pull making this a rest time for the garden. This phase of the moon is ideal for harvesting, fertilizing, maintainence, doing those annoying jobs in the garden, the ones we put off all the time, like weeding, cultivating, pest control. It’s also the best time to mow the lawn, especially if you want to slow down the growth of the grass. Preparing patches for impending planting is a perfect project during this phase.
|Jan||6:, 14:, 21:, 28:|
Seeds & Seedlings - Beans (bush), Beetroot, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery Cucumbers, Endive, Lettuces, Parsnips, Radishes, Silverbeet, Swedes, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Zucchini.
Seedlings only - Capsicum, Eggplant.
|Feb||5:, 13:, 20:, 26:|
Seeds & Seedlings: Beans (bush), Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Endive, Lettuces, Radish, Silverbeet, Spinach, Swedes, Turnip, Zucchini.
Potatoes can be planted out now. Use whole, small seed potatoes. Sprout them first by placing them under a wet bag until the eyes start to grow (about 10-14 days).
|Mar||7:, 14:, 21:, 28:|
March is the time to harvest everything that's ripe, and distribute and/or preserve all surplus.
This is the time to plant Citrus, Avocado,& Olive trees,while the soil is still warm. It's also a good time to plant native trees & shrubs, and all evergreens.
Seeds & Seedlings: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Silverbeet. Seedlings - Beetroot, Brussel Sprouts.
Seeds only: Broad Beans, Parsnips, Peas, Turnip.
Evergreen trees, shrubs and climbing plants - plant out now while the ground is still warm.
|Apr||5:, 13:, 19:, 27:|
Seeds & Seedlings: Broad Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery; Endive, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Silverbeet, Spinach.
Seeds - Broad Beans, White Onions, Spring Onions, Shallot, Turnip.
Herbs can be grown from seed now, either in the open garden or in pots.
|May||5:, 12:, 19:, 27:|
Seeds & Seedlings: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower (late), Celery, Endive, Lettuce, Onions (white), Peas.
Seeds only: Beans (broad), Kohl Rabi, Rhubarb (crowns).
|Jun||3:, 10:, 17:, 25:|
Seeds & Seedlings: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Endive, Onions, Peas, Radish. Seeds only; Broad Beans, Lettuce.
Almond trees should be planted this month. Other deciduous trees, and bare-rooted shrubs, including roses can also go in later in the month, or during July.
|Jul||3:, 9:, 17:, 25:|
Seeds & Seedlings: Cabbage, Lettuce, Onions, Parsnip, Radish, Rhubarb.
Deciduous trees, vines, shrubs, and roses should be planted this month.
|Aug||1:, 8:, 15:, 24:, 30:|
Asparagus (crowns), Beetroot (seeds), Broccoli (seedlings), Cabbage (seedlings), Carrot (seeds), Garlic (seeds & corms), Leeks (seeds & seedlings), Lettuce (seeds & seedlings), Onions (seeds & seedlings), Parsnip (Seeds),Potato (seeds), Radish (seeds), Rhubarb (crowns), Strawberry (potted plants), Spinach (seeds & seedlings).
|Sep||6:, 14:, 22:, 29:|
Citrus, Avocado, Flowering, & Native trees and shrubs can safely be planted once the risk of frost is past.
Seeds & seedlings- Beans (bush), Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot,Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Garlic, Leeks, Lettuce, Marrow, Melon, Parsnip, Potato, Pumpkin (squash), Radish, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Tomato, Zucchini.
|Oct||6:, 14:, 21:, 28:|
Seeds & seedlings - Beans (bush), Beans (runner), Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Capsicum, Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Leeks, Lettuce, Marrow, Melon, Parsnip, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin (squash), Radish, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Tomato, Zucchini.
|Nov||4:, 13:, 20:, 27:|
Seeds & seedlings - Beans (bush), Beans (runner), Beetroot, Cabbage, Capsicum, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery Cucumber, Egglant, Endive, Leeks, Lettuce, Marrow, Melon, Parsnip, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin (squash), Radish, Rhubarb (potted), Spinach, Sweet Corn, Tomato, Zucchini.
|Dec||4:, 12:, 19:, 26:|
Seeds & seedlings - Beans (bush), Beans (runner), Beetroot, Cabbage, Capsicum, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery Cucumber, Endive, Leek, Lettuce, Melon, Parsnip, Potato, Pumpkin (squash), Radish, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes.
Additional related information
The following table shows the germination rate of various seedlings at different soil temperatures. The table demonstrates that there is a direct correlation between soil temperature and both the success rate and germination time. At the optimum temperature, the highest germination rate is achieved and the germination time is also the shortest.
The table shows that for a propagation heater set at 25 degrees you would achieve optimum germination rates for most varieties and only be slightly less successful with those varieties that require a slightly higher or a slightly lower temperature. The exceptions to this rule appear to be spinach, which requires a much colder temperature and watermelon, which requires a much higher temperature. Celery also requires a much lower temperature but as this is the food of the devil I care very little for it.
Percentage of Normal Vegetable Seedlings Produced at Different Temperatures
Numbers in brackets are the days to seedling emergence.
Numbers in red indicate optimal daytime soil temperature for maximum production in the shortest time
Moon Phases for Adelaide, South Australia, Australia in 2019
The following is NOT applicable to South Australias climate, but I'm going to include it here until I have had a chance to transpose it
It does have some useful info on which type of systems suit various veggies
Guide to Aquaponics Plants by Season
The season's on the table below are "S" summer, "A" autumn, "W" winter, and "S" for spring. They are the best times of the year to grow aquaponics plants in Brisbane and South East Queensland's climate.