Planting in your PlantBed
Ideally the plants you put in your PlantBed will have been started in a pre-formed plug such as ROOT!T propagation sponges DO NOT USE STONEWOOL as the fibres may cause a problem in the fish gills. They should have the first roots visible outside the plug and at least 3 or 4 true leaves, but the better rooted they are, the quicker they will establish.
If you are using plants started in compost or soil, you will have to gently wash as much as possible off the roots before planting. Leave a few days after putting the first fish in before planting your system and it is a good idea to only plant up a small area, planting up more of the PlantBed only when you stock with more fish (the bacteria will do their job irrespective of plants).
Scoop out a handful of pebbles place the plants in position and then replace the pebbles so the plug is just below the level of the pebbles, if the plant is ‘bare-rooted’ plant it only slightly deeper than it was in compost or soil, ensuring the roots are deep enough for the ‘flood’ level to reach them. In the early stages we only suggest you grow salads, leafy vegetables and herbs, but when your system is more mature you may wish to experiment with more demanding plants.
Please see www.propagateplants.com for more advice on propagating plants for your system. The conditions for the tops of the plants should be the same as in normal growing. DO NOT USE SYSTEMIC PESTICIDES as they will be toxic to the fish. ONLY use physical modes of pest and disease control.
Many salads, leafy vegetables and herbs are described as ‘cut and grow’ so can be continuously harvested but even these will need replacing occasionally. To remove plants, take firm hold of the whole plant and gently ease as much of the root system out as possible, gently knocking the pebbles off as you go.