How to grow Hydroponic STRAWBERRIES?
Growing hydroponic strawberries can be an efficient, clean, and fun new way to grow one of your favorite berries from the comfort of your own home.
IT’S EASY – Hydroponics are a fantastic beginner gardening technique because they’re so easy! In fact, you don’t even need to know how to garden in order to do it (although it won’t hurt if you’ve got some experience under your belt).
MAKES GREAT USE OF SPACE – Growing hydroponic strawberries is a great use of space because it allows you to grow food indoors or outdoors in areas where there’s no natural sunlight, such as on top of your fridge or with no direct sunlight at all. It also works well for people who live in areas with limited space, like the city.
BUILDS CONFIDENCE AND PRACTICE – Growing hydroponic strawberries is a fantastic way to work on self-improvement skills, such as patience and perseverance. You’ll have to wait several weeks before you see any fruit, but it’s well worth the wait!
GROWING IS FUN – Whether you do it yourself or with your kids, growing hydroponic strawberries is a great way for everyone to exercise and enjoy some fresh air while making food right at home.
What Is The Best Hydroponic System For Strawberries?
There are a few different hydroponic systems that allow you to grow strawberries indoors. The two most popular methods are water culture and aeroponics.
What Is Water Culture Hydroponics
In water culture, the plants’ roots sit in an inert medium like perlite or gravel, which is filled with nutrient-rich water. The plants take their nutrients directly from this solution, without having any of the nutritious material leach out.
The main advantages of this type of system include low cost, flexibility (because the only materials required are a vessel and some inert growing medium), and ease of operation (there’s no need to pump anything).
On top of all that, it’s a good way to get started in hydroponics because it’s easy to set up and there’s no need to worry about pH or electrical components. All Things Plants has a great write up on using water culture for growing strawberries, that you can check out here .
How Much Space Does Water Culture Need?
You should have at least five gallons per strawberry plant (ten if it’s a large variety) but some experts say it would be better to provide each plant with ten gallons of space. To give your plants lots of room, you should dedicate an entire closet or cabinet just for them.
Water Culture Strawberries Are Best For:
People who want a simple way to grow hydroponic strawberries without having to invest in expensive equipment. This is also the best option for people in areas where the climate is unsuitable for outdoor gardening.
Water Culture Drawbacks:
Plants can’t be moved once they’re planted because disturbing the roots could cause them to rot. If you want to change your setup, or if you plan on harvesting and replanting each season, this will not be a good choice for you.
WHAT IS AEROPONICS?
In aeroponics, your plants are suspended in thin air without any growing medium (although some people may choose to use gravel). Instead of soil and water, plants are given nutrient-rich mist to feed them via their leaves (which is how many scientists believe flowering plants first evolved). This method is great for strawberries because there’s no need to worry about pH balance.
You can simply mix up a nutrient solution that’s healthy for your plants and water them with the mist to get results. One of the main benefits to this method is that there’s no transplanting needed . The strawberry plant stays in its original container until harvest time, so all you’ll need are some starter plugs to give your young plants some extra support.
A DIY option would be to use straws from your local coffee shop as a base for starting out seeds or tiny plants (you can read more about how other gardeners have used this technique here ).
What need to start Hydroponic Strawberries
ebb and flow, deep water culture (DWC) and nutrient film technique (NFT) are four popular types of hydroponic systems that are often used to grow berries in.
The first step is to find a good hydroponic system. They vary in price, how many plants they can grow and their performance. Spend some time looking at different systems before you buy one.
When you first start growing, it is best to use an ebb and flow system or a hydroponic drip system. There are also some good ones that are ready to grow.
You can do this at home with a garden tray, a water pump, and other things. You can get started without spending too much money.
Building a system for growing plants is easy. To do this, set up the water reservoir under the tray with your plants. Then, put in a pump and timer so that water flows from the reservoir to keep your plants watered and fed.
You will need to choose a growing medium. You can use growstones, clay pebbles, coconut coir, or rockwool. There are many different types of growing media that you can choose from!
If you want to cross-breed strawberries, you need to pollinate them. If bees don’t have access to your plants, it may be necessary for you to pollinate them yourself. Hydroponic systems are an indoor growing style, so a supply of bees is important if you want your strawberries to produce fruit.
You can pollinate strawberries by hand. You don’t need to find male or female flowers, so use a cotton swab to collect pollen from one flower and transfer it to another, then repeat across all your plants. This will become tedious if you have many plants to pollinate, but it is simple and very effective.
If you are growing your plants outside, and you have pollinating insects around, you won’t need to do this. But anyone who grows their plants inside will want to hand-pollinate for better fruit development.
To keep your strawberries healthy and growing well, cut off the runners. Runners are leafless stems that grow out of the plant. If you don’t want more plants, cut them off as close to the base of the plant as possible. You can use a runner with a new plant growing at its tip for propagation!
Strawberry plants start with seeds or plantlets.
Get seed from a reliable source. For example, you can get it by collecting berries from the plants in your yard. But if the plant is a hybrid, it may not grow true. So buy seed and plant it in potting soil indoors and wait for it to germinate and become a small plant. Then keep the seed moist and warm, provide light so that the small plant will develop properly.
Cut off a plant from your garden. Put the cutting into some wet soil. Take care of it and make sure that it is not too cold or hot. Give the plant light and cover its roots with soil so they can grow.
For both seedlings and plantlets, wait until the plant has grown roots that are at least 2 inches long. Then carefully take them out of the pot. Brush off most of the soil, then rinse to remove any soil clinging to the strawberry roots. You can then put these plants in your growing medium for planting.
Which Variety Of Strawberry Should I Use?
There are different kinds of strawberries which can be grown in a hydroponic system. You want to plant a day-neutral variety because it will flower and produce fruit all year.
We’ve set out some of the varieties that you could use below:
- Seascape – firm, good-sized with delicious flavour.
- Albion – sweet with a long, conical shape.
- Quinault – wider berries that are self-pollinating.
- Mara de Bois – firm, good-sized with a sweet delicate flavour.
- Tribute – flavourful and medium-sized.
If you grow strawberries, you can choose between hydroponic and soil-based strawberries. In some cases, the fruit is better tasting.
Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil. You provide all of the nutrients they need in a solution. This will never limit the quality of their taste because they will still receive all of the right nutrients.
Hydroponic Nutrients For Strawberries
- Key nutrients are needed for strawberry’s to live. Nitrogen is important and will help build cells in the leaves and stems. Phosphorus helps with roots, and potassium lets photosynthesis happen.
- Outside of the key nutrients, strawberries need other elements as well. Manganese, copper, iron, cobalt, chlorine and zinc are important. Without them your strawberry plant will not grow fruit.
In hydroponic systems, plants need certain nutrients to grow properly. One of these is nitrogen and this is usually provided by many types of fertilizers. Nitrogen is used for rapid leaf development . Nitrogen is given out as a gas at the rate of approximately 224 grams per square meter in 24 hours to fully mature plants with 10% moisture content.
Phosphorous also plays an important role in the growth process. Phosphorous helps promote strong roots and fruit production and quality . It’s measured in parts per million (PPM) or milligrams per liter (mg/L). Water soluble forms are available as well as solid forms which contain 9-34% elemental phosphorus which can be dissolved easily in water.
Soil solution tests should be run every 3-4 weeks until the desired nutrient levels are reached. This will determine how much fertilizer needs to be added.
Many factors affect nutrient uptake rates by plants including light intensity, temperature, humidity and soil contact time so these must also be taken into consideration when calculating amounts needed. It’s best to use a complete commercial fertilizer with microelements rather than solely relying on a single source such as chicken manure which may have
Water for Hydroponic Strawberries
Growing strawberries in water is more efficient than growing them in soil. In a hydroponic system, the drainage water is collected and reused. When strawberries grow in soil, they are watered from above. Some farms have reported using 85% less water by using hydroponic systems to grow strawberries.
Hydroponic strawberries are drip fed nutrients. The plant’s roots hang in a reservoir of water mixed with nutrient solution, and the solution is constantly dripped at a very slow rate onto the roots.
HOW TO GROW STRAWBERRIES: STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
1. Start with a few fresh seeds [or buy some started plants, which should have already grown some roots and leaves]
2. Place your strawberries in a medium that will allow the roots to grow downward (soil, rockwool, or perlite)
3. Place leaves above the surface of solution
4. Make sure everything is kept moist – you can’t overwater them once they’re growing!
5. In about 6-8 weeks you’ll see fruit hanging from your plant
6. Give them plenty of light when they start producing fruit
7. Harvest every other day in order to keep your berry production high
Set up your dirt – grab your chosen container, potting soil, and get everything set in place. Next we’re going to take care of the plant itself. Take a look at this picture for reference: You should have thick roots that will grow downward, as well as white leaves poking out above the solution. If you don’t have any yet, take some time to let them grow before moving on!
Once you’ve got your plant, it’s time to write down what seeds you’re growing – learn how to identify strawberries here. Next draw a circle of dots around the strawberry on the paper. You’ll be using these later as a guide for planting!
Next up: water. If you can’t find pure distilled water where you are, just use tap water and let it sit out overnight so that all of the chlorine evaporates out. Don’t worry, none of the good stuff will go away too! Pour some into your soil until it’s moist throughout but not sopping wet. It helps if this is done with a mister designed specifically for hydroponics . Your soil (or rockwool or perlite) should have come with a recommendation for how much water it needs, so use that guideline. So far we’ve got dirt, paper, and liquid – now it’s time to add the seed!
Place your strawberry in the middle of one of the dots you drew earlier. If there are holes present in your soil/growing medium already, you can just poke your seed right into them; if not then you can punch them in using a thumbtack or even just a nail. Next place your plant itself inside one of these new holes (do this gently because it may sometimes be soft), making sure to cover up all but 1/3rd of the white leaves’ length. Make sure everything is moist before leaving it alone for 6-8 weeks!
Hydroponic Strawberries vs Soil Growing
Growing strawberries is hard with soil, because you need to have dirt. But it is very easy when you grow them hydroponically. Hydroponically growing strawberries is the easiest of all.
Soil isn’t a bad place to grow strawberry if you know what you’re doing. You’ll just need a lot more work than hydroponics does, and sacrifice some yields for it too. If you have no choice, or don’t want to spend money on things then go ahead and use soil – but there are definitely better choices available!
Hydroponics simply allows plants to grow faster, bigger, and healthier than they could in dirt. Even if your soil is perfect for healthy growth (probably hard for any newbie) – nutrient levels may be off, or water purity might affect results as well. When we talk about “soil” btw, we really mean soil-less growing mediums like paper, rockwool, perlite, and more.
Do hydroponic strawberries have pesticides?
Hydroponic strawberry does not use pesticides which are harmful to the human body. However, it does use natural insecticides and fungicides
How many strawberries can you get from one plant?
One strawberry plant can give about 8-12 pounds of strawberries in a year. Each plant can give about 5 – 6 pounds of berries. You will notice that the more you pick, the more new ones grow back to replace them. This is one of the reasons these plants are considered perennial and enjoy first class status as far as home gardens go.
If you’re growing indoors, be sure to keep your containers in an area where they’ll get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day . If you’re able to put them right by a window, even better!
Should I grow hydroponic strawberries on my own? Why or why not?
Yes! Hydroponics is useful for maintaining vegetables without much effort
Are hydroponic strawberries bad for you?
The hydroponic strawberry is one healthy fruit because they have no pesticides on them. They are natural fruits which means you won’t get any chemicals in your body when you eat these delicious berries! This is what makes them so vibrant, crisp and sweet. Normally grown strawberries have been exposed to a lot of pesticides meaning that the taste isn’t quite as good as the organic ones.
How do I store my hydroponic strawberries?
You can store your hydroponics strawberry however you like best. If you plan on eating them right away, then take them out of the container you grew them in and put them into a bowl. If you are planning on freezing your berries for later use, then either leave the strawberries in their growing medium or transfer to an airtight container.
If you have any leftover hydroponic strawberries from your garden, then store them inside the refrigerator.
Freeze once ripe, if eating fresh-store at room temperature; otherwise one may keep storage of strawberries for up to two weeks by storing in paper cartons (do not refrigerate). Wash only when ready to eat or before transferring to another environment.”
Pest And Disease Prevention For Strawberries:
Pests and diseases aren’t a huge problem for strawberry plants until you get them into the fruiting stage. As your plants come into fruit, taking care of specific pests and diseases becomes especially important!
· Aphids  – if these guys are on your plant they don’t mean any harm; but it’s not good for your strawberries to have aphids hanging around. To get rid of them, use a soapy water mixture in the spray bottle mentioned earlier. Try to aim it at their bodies (not directly into flowers) as this will keep from knocking off pollen that helps with production.
· Spider mites – you can identify these by seeing little white spots moving around on leaves or the fruit of your strawberry; spider mites are responsible for these spots. To get rid of them, use a soapy water mixture in the spray bottle mentioned earlier. Aim it at all parts of your plant to ensure you don’t miss any pests lurking around!
· Mealybugs – unlike aphids and spider mites, mealybugs will make direct contact with your strawberries; if this happens then you’ll see a white powdery substance covering the offender which looks like dandruff (gross). If you find this on your fruit or leaves – scrape it off immediately before it spreads everywhere! Sanding sugar is specifically designed to stop them from spreading their disease elsewhere on your plant.
· Whitefly  – whiteflies are also very small, and again no problem unless you get a ton of them. Most people will never even notice one; but If you find them on your strawberry plants they can be identified by their flat bodies with two wings that look like mosquito’s wings. Use the same soapy water mixture mentioned earlier to wash off these pests as soon as possible!
· Spider mites – Whitefly  – if you have spider mites on your strawberries then they will appear as small red or black spots moving across leaves and fruit. Once again, use the same soapy water in a spray bottle to kill any that get near your plant!
These are just some common pests and diseases for strawberries we didn’t have room to deal with in detail. For more information, check out these pages:
· How to Prevent and Get Rid of Spider Mites on Plants http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-and-Get-Rid-of-Spider-Mites-on-Plants
· Mealybugs on Strawberry Plants http://homeguides.sfgate.com/mealybugs-strawberry-plants-34776.html
· Aphids on Strawberries and Other Fruit Trees https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/strawberry/aphids-strawberries.htm