Water Chestnuts

Originally posted by TCLynx on AGC, June 20, 2010

Just lately I ordered some water chestnut plant starts. I’ve read that fresh water chestnuts (which of course are not nuts but actually more like a corm that grows attached to the plant roots under ground under water) are so much better than the canned variety that I thought I should try growing some for myself. They like a hot climate and I’ve heard they grow fast so it could be a great thing to have.

I’m not sure if they will like aquaponics or how best to grow them in aquaponics so for the moment I mixed some sand and mushroom compost in a mortar tub and topped off with AP water and stuck the starts in. I’ll see if I can figure out how to hook up a good growing space to the AP system and move them over later.

Well when I first wrote this post I had not yet even gotten the plants and then I was not diligent about posting updates.

Water Chestnuts

Water Chestnuts

When I first planted them, I left the water level above the gravel and you can barely even see many of the tiny plants in the bins.

Very quickly the bins started growing a brown sting algae which greatly affected my system pH.

This algae just would not do

so I decided to test out some different options to protect the water from the sun.

Perlite just installed (I don’t recommend this)

Foam bits (Not a good solution either)

Bottle Caps (seems to have worked but there are worries about using the plastics)

This is what happened with the perlite pretty quickly

Now I didn’t observe much new growth in the perlite bin and the foam tended to block new growth in the foam bin. The bottle cap bin is growing well.

I have removed the perlite as best I could (not easy when it’s saturated and mixed with gravel now!) I’ve removed the foam bits from that bin and used the gravel from the bottom of the perlite bin to fill up the middle bin to about the water line. The bottle cap bin is still intact and the plants from the perlite bin have been moved to a regular gravel bed that is constantly flooded.

That first bin that once had the perlite will probably get new gravel and I’ll try water cress in it.

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