As with most aquaponics plants that grow on vines, you will have the best results if you build something for the vines to climb and grow on. The best ideas are usually some sort of string configuration that is anchored directly above or to the side of the plants. You may also opt for a trellis or stakes, which will provide support and help the melons, cucumbers or squash to grow faster in an aquaponic system.
This is a bedrock for any garden with these types of plants, and with an aquaponics system, this is no exception. Sure, you can grow the squash, strawberries, tomatoes, and melons without any form of support – but they will not get the sunlight that they will when they are allowed to stretch upward towards the sun.
This type of aquaponics setup also works well to keep the bugs and insects from grouping on top of a plant that is coiled up on the ground and allows the nutrients to be distributed to the different sections of each plant with better circulation. Another great tip is to always use some sort of netting or patio screen type of material to cover the plants with. You can obtain this type of material by the square foot at Lowes or Home Depot, and you can shape and mold it to surround the plant stalk and leaves.
By protecting your aquaponics system with netting or screening, you are doing two things at once. You will need far less natural bug repellent with a screen to cover your plants, and it will also shield them a bit from the sun if they are outdoors. It will not keep all of the tiny bugs and insects off of the plants, and that is why you will want to make a garlic or pepper spray to repel these pests.
The best aquaponics systems will ideally be kept in a sheltered space, with a surrounding temperature of 75 to 80 degrees. The ideal nighttime temperature for cukes and squash is usually between 65 and 70 degrees.
American and so called “English” cucumbers usually will grow to maturity within about 6 to 8 weeks from the time the seeds are planted in the soil. You can expect very high yields of delicious cucumbers for the first 3 or 4 months, and they will keep producing young cukes for the rest of the year. Once these english cucumbers reach a length of 9 to 12 inches, this is usually the best time to pick and eat them.
Easy to grow vegetables
Most varieties of melons and squash can be treated in the same way. The different varieties of squash and melons that are known to grow particularly well in an aquaponic environment include:
- banana squash
- buttercup squash
- yellow squash
- winter squash
- acorn squash
- spaghetti squash
- zucchini squash
- many other varieties of summer squash
- cantaloupe – any variety
- fresh watermelon
- honeydew melons – all varieties
All of the vegetables and fruits listed will do best if you grow them with some sort of basic supports, and will do even better with better when they are shielded from insects and pests. If you remember to remove the dead leaves and stems from time to time, you will have better results as well. They all follow the same basic growing principles, and do really well if you keep them well pruned and give them plenty of sunlight.