Hydroponic Strawberry Growing
Most people are used to the fact that strawberries grow on street beds and yield only a short period in the warm season. However, recently a modern productive method of growing berries in hydroponics has become increasingly popular. It allows you to get an environmentally friendly crop and enjoy it all year round.
What is hydroponics
The very word "hydroponics" came from the Greek language, its meaning is "working solution" . This name was invented by US biologist William F. Gerrick. The method is based on the method of plant development not in ordinary soil, but in a special substrate. It was first tested in ancient times, when the famous gardens existed: floating - Aztecs and hanging - Babylon.
Important! C ustrat is not a source of strawberry nutrition elements, but only supports its roots.
Is it possible to grow strawberries hydroponically at home
At home, hydroponics allows you to not only grow this culture, but also to do it regardless of the time of year. The method can be used both in the house and in a separately equipped room.
The experience of gardeners shows that hydroponics is suitable for all maintenance cultivars. The most popular strawberry varieties for him are Generous, Mount Everest, Olbia, Yellow Wonder, Fresco. Of the representatives of the Dutch breeding, Gigantella M, Korona, Elvira, Zanta show themselves excellently. All these varieties are available for cultivation for both specialists and beginners, and constantly bring excellent yields.
Read about the features of growing strawberries in greenhouses all year round.
Methods and technologies for hydroponic growing in a greenhouse
In hydroponics, valuable elements for strawberry nutrition come from special solutions.
Their supply to the roots can be carried out in various ways:
- Drip irrigation . The hydroponic substrate is saturated with a nutritional solution that is constantly delivered in small doses.
- Periodic flooding . From time to time, a solution is supplied from the tank and fills the roots of the plants, after which it merges back. Used for large-scale landings.
- Nutrient layer . The solution continuously circulates in tanks located under the landing tanks.
- Aeroponics . The fog generator creates a permanent moist environment in the root area.
- Deep sea . Strawberry roots are constantly in solution, where oxygen is supplied by compressors. Not very suitable for this culture, because it can provoke rotting of the roots.
Substrates must have high porosity, breathability and moisture capacity. They can be made of mineral wool, expanded clay or coconut fiber. For planting containers, plastic containers with a volume of at least 3 liters per 1 plant are used. Did you know? Strawberry seeds are not located inside the pulp, but outside. Moreover, each berry is studded with approximately two hundred seeds. The necessary equipment can be bought ready-made or made yourself, for which you need a pump, a solution tank, pipes, hoses and an electrical network. It is also necessary to install lighting lamps.
Video: How to assemble hydroponics at home. DIY hydroponics
Planting strawberries in a hydroponic substrate occurs as follows:
- The root system of plants along with the soil is soaked for 2-3 hours.
- Strawberry roots are cleaned from the ground and washed with a little warm running water.
- Bushes are placed in containers so that the roots are arranged vertically, and are covered with a special substrate.
- The substrate is poured with distilled water, it is also poured into the lower tank.
- After 7 days, nutrients are added to the liquid.
How to make hydroponic solution with your own hands
The development and fruiting of strawberries depends on the quality of the preparation of the nutrient solution, so this issue should be approached with the utmost care. The content of elements in the solution depends on many factors, including the season and the stage of growth of the bushes. For home, you can use the universal recipe described below. Please note that nutrients should only be diluted in distilled water.
The content of elements (in mg) per 1 liter of water:
- calcium (Ca2 +) - 200 mg;
- magnesium (Mg2 +) - 50 mg;
- potassium (K +) - 100 mg;
- ammonium (NH4 +) - 4 mg;
- nitrates, salts of nitric acid (NO3-) - 76 mg;
- phosphates (PO4-) - 45 mg;
- iron (Fe) - 3 mg;
- Manganese (Mn) - 0.5 mg;
- copper (Cu) - 0.05 mg;
- zinc (Zn) - 0.5 mg;
- boron (B) - 0.5 mg;
- molybdenum (Mo) - 0.05 mg;
- sodium (Na +), sulfates (SO42-), chlorides (Cl-) are absent.
Strawberry Processing and Care
Caring for a crop growing on hydroponics consists in creating favorable atmospheric conditions, supporting the supply system of the nutritional solution in good condition and collecting ripened fruits . It is also necessary to ensure that the nutrient solution does not fall on the leaves of plants. Did you know? Strawberries can be used not only as a sweet dessert. In some countries, it is actively added to seafood and poultry dishes. And even fried in oil with the addition of black pepper. Experts know how painfully this culture reacts to a lack of light, so it is extremely important to organize good lighting, especially in the cold season. It can provide artificial lighting with a capacity of 60 thousand lumens. Lighting plants should be 12-18 hours a day.
Features and disadvantages of hydroponic cultivation
The hydroponic method allows you to grow berries all year and not use the land. However, it has not only positive aspects, but also disadvantages.
- First, consider the benefits of the method:
- Full control and the ability to adjust plant nutrition.
- Economical consumption of water due to its turnover and minimal losses due to evaporation.
- Saving valuable minerals due to the directed effect on the roots and the absence of losses in the soil, as in a traditional planting.
- Obtaining environmentally friendly fruits due to the lack of weeds and, accordingly, the need to use herbicides and pesticides.
- Higher plant viability compared to those that grow on a regular bed.
- The rapid development of plants, excellent productivity and large fruits.
- Convenient planting care without the need for additional fertilizing, cultivating and harvesting weeds.
Read also our e-magazine on strawberry cultivation.
- Among the disadvantages of hydroponic cultivation are:
- The need for financial costs for the organization of the feed solution.
- The need for strict maintenance of the correct balance of elements due to high-quality solution preparation.
- The need to organize optimal conditions - temperature, humidity, lighting.
Hydroponic cultivation of strawberries can be done even without special skills with this crop . It is only important to choose a suitable variety, prepare the room and properly make a nutrient solution. And then strawberries all year round will delight you with a large number of large, fragrant and environmentally friendly berries.