Nothing beats the sweetness and softness of a perfectly ripe strawberry.
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There are many of us who want to cultivate our own because it is one of the most popular fruits in the country.
Hydroponics is a method of growing this berry in our gardens.
We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for hydroponic beginners and experts alike.
Hydroponic strawberry plants can be grown in half the time it takes to grow strawberries in ordinary soil.
Due to the use of nutrient-rich containers, hydroponic farming eliminates the requirement for soil.
As a beginner in hydroponic strawberry cultivation, strawberries are an excellent choice.
As a result, you’ll have the experience and confidence to cultivate various sorts of food in similar manner.
What Are Hydroponics?
In the hydroculture family, hydroponics is a subset.
Plants can be grown without the usage of soil in garden terminology, which is what this signifies.
A nutrient-rich aqueous solvent replaces the typical growing method, resulting in plants that flourish and even grow better than they would in soil.
We have been cultivating plants in similar ways for thousands of years using the term hydroponics.
Early examples include Babylon’s Hanging Garden and China’s Floating Gardens. [source]
Our new technology allows us to use the same gardening methods to grow plants faster and more efficiently.
This method of growing plants without soil was pioneered by William Frederick Gericke of the University of California in 1929, who thought hydroponic farming will revolutionize plant agriculture. [source]
Can You Grow Strawberries Hydroponically?
Strawberries can be grown at any time using a hydroponic system.
It’s possible to eat fresh strawberries all year round, unlike with traditional growing methods.
Strawberries grow particularly well hydroponically because of their high water content.
Almost everywhere, from your garage to your kitchen, can be used to cultivate them using this method.
To get started with hydroponic strawberry farming, you’ll need to set aside some money.
We’ll walk you through the two most common system configurations and show you how they work.
Investing money in your own DIY hydroponic system may seem daunting at first, but the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
When compared to regular soil, there are numerous advantages to employing this method to grow strawberries.
What Is The Best Hydroponic System For Strawberries?
Strawberry plants can be grown hydroponically in a variety of ways.
You’ll need to set aside some money for the initial investment in equipment for both of the choices we’ve listed below (which are common among strawberry farmers).
You’ll gain the benefits of adopting either of these soilless approaches once they’ve been set up, however.
Hydroponically growing strawberries can be accomplished in two ways:
N.F.T. (nutrient film technique) is the most frequent hydroponic method for strawberries since it entails placing the plants in a net pot and ensuring that their roots are hanging freely in the ‘root zone.’
The nutritional solution can be reused due to the effectiveness of this procedure.
On an inclination, the solution is pumped around a circuit, and the tray is placed there.
Having a backup power source ready in case of a power outage is essential.
Ebb & Flow
This hydroponic system, often known as the flood-and-drain method, is quite similar to N.F.T.
To flood the plant, a nutritional solution is pumped in to keep the roots buried in a growing medium.
The whole process will take a few minutes.
Using gravity, the solution will naturally drain from the growing media after being flooded.
Hydroponic Nutrients For Strawberries
Consider the nutrients in the solution if you plan to produce strawberries hydroponically.
Because the berries are completely reliant on the materials accessible to them, it is critical that you use the following:
- Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are among the most important nutrients. A strawberry’s survival depends on the presence of these three nutrients. Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to produce cells and to grow their leaves and stems, while photosynthesis is facilitated by potassium.
- In addition to the essential nutrients, strawberries also require trace levels of other components. Your nutrient arrangement should include manganese, copper, iron, cobalt, chlorine, zinc, and molybdenum. A plant without them will not produce fruit.
Hydroponic Strawberries vs Soil Growing
Hydroponic strawberries have a number of advantages over those grown in soil.
As previously stated, hydroponic strawberry farming requires no soil at all.
Hydroponically cultivating strawberries saves a lot of water compared to soil-based methods.
A hydroponic system collects and re-uses the drainage water.
Strawberries are irrigated from the top in conventional soil gardening.
Hydroponic systems have been shown to reduce water consumption by up to 85% on some farms.
Pests aren’t a problem with hydroponic systems because there isn’t any soil for them to live in.
Hydroponic strawberries, on the other hand, don’t need to be sprayed with pesticides, making them healthier to eat.
Weeds compete with strawberries that are cultivated in the soil.
Using a hydroponic system, strawberry plant containers can be stacked vertically, saving space and making them easier to tend to when compared to strawberries grown on ground-level.
Strawberries planted vertically in a hydroponic system can save space and make them easier to maintain than strawberries grown on the ground.
Even while hydroponic systems are more expensive to put up in the beginning, you’ll reap the benefits of year-round harvests.
The quality of the plants can help many commercial farmers earn more money.
Hydroponic systems are widely regarded as the most productive method of growing crops.
With comparison to soil methods, where plants are at risk from pesticides, the weather, and other external factors, losses are fewer in soil methods.
Growing Hydroponically From A Plug
You’re probably anxious to get started now that you know more about the many hydroponic systems that may be used to cultivate strawberry plants.
Most gardeners will opt to employ hydroponic methods to grow their strawberries in a greenhouse specifically designed for this purpose.
You can, however, do it yourself and cultivate your plants indoors.
Before beginning your new gardening project, make sure you have everything you’ll need to grow the fruit in this soilless approach.
A starter plug plant can be purchased from your local garden center or online vendor and used to grow strawberries in this DIY technique.
1) Clean the plug
Remove any soil from the plug’s root.
Gently shaking the plant will accomplish this.
To remove any remaining soil, first soak the roots in water for a few minutes, then rinse well under cold running water.
2) Secure the plant
You’ll need to use clay pebbles or another growing material to secure the plant in the net container.
3) Plant your plug
It is critical that the crown of the plant be put at the correct height within the growing medium when you are planting a plug in the ground.
You risk root rot if you plant too deep, and if you plant too shallow, you risk drying out the roots.
Plants should be placed somewhat lower than typical, and then pulled up the growing medium while simultaneously shaking the pots in order to maintain the roots in place,
4) Remove early flower buds
Despite the fact that the plant may already be producing flowers after just a few weeks, it is best to remove them to foster healthy growth.
The blossoms can be left to bear fruit once the plant has grown to the proper size.
5) Allow time to grow
Runners from the plant can be used to propagate further plants once flowers appear.
Continuous fruit production
You’ll be able to continue harvesting strawberries throughout the year if your plants start producing fruit.
The seasons aren’t an issue when producing strawberries indoors in a hydroponic system rather than in the ground.
You must ensure that your plants are in an ideal atmosphere, as well as that a nutrient-rich solution is used to hydrate them.
Strawberries Varieties that Grow Well Hydroponically
June-bearing, ever-bearing, and day-neutral strawberries are all varieties of the fruit. Once a year, big berries are produced by June-bearing plants. Plants that give fruit year after year are known as “ever-bearing.” Plants that don’t require direct sunlight to bear fruit and flower can do so all year round. Our recommendation for your hydroponic system is to use day-neutral plants.
Varieties for Any Time of Day:
- Albion is a huge, juicy fruit with a great taste.
- Fruity, firm, and juicy, Seascape is one of the most popular varieties.
- Wide, self-pollinating berries are the hallmark of Quinault.
- Tribute: big to medium-sized fruit
- Producing, firm, and of good size, the mara de bois fruit has a very pleasant flavor.
For hydroponics, we suggest the following Ever-bearing varieties:
- A juicy and flavorful treat from Ozark, the Ozark Beauty
- a good crop, outstanding taste, and slightly smaller fruit can be found in Fort Laramie.
Here are some recommendations for optimal plant health and fruit production:
- The optimal pH range is between 5.5 and 6.0.
- During the early phases of growth, keep the total salt PPM between 800 and 900 ppm. Flowering plants should not exceed 400 – 500 ppm throughout this time period.
- 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for bath water.
- Provide a minimum of six hours of full sunlight or twelve to fourteen hours of artificial grow lighting per day for your plants.
- low relative humidity
- Increase and maintain fruit output by pinching runners off.
If the wind or bees aren’t there, strawberries can self-pollinate, but they’ll usually require support from someone else to do it. A simple brushing of the blossoms together will aid in pollination by transferring pollen from the stamens to one other. You can accomplish the pollination yourself by following this helpful visual tutorial.
Avoiding Root Rot
In hydroponics, this is a common issue. An anti-Pythium root rot product called Wilt Guard is on the market. In order to protect plants from root rot, this is our “go to” product.
If you’re interested in learning how to hydroponically produce strawberries, take a look at our Foody Towers. Strawberries are only one of the numerous things you may grow with them!
Frequently Asked Questions
For those of you who still have questions about hydroponic strawberry farming, we have a few more answers for you below:
Are Hydroponic Strawberries Organic?
Hydroponic strawberries are not organic in the strictest sense of the term.
The classification of hydroponic systems as organic growth methods has been a source of much discussion.
Organic certification has been given to some hydroponically grown product, however many farmers believe that this certification should only be given to soil-grown produce.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Strawberries Hydroponically?
Despite the fact that the process can take a long time, once fruit begins to develop, you can expect harvests all year long.
It can take up to two years for a plant to begin producing fruit from seed.
Rootstock, on the other hand, can yield fruit within two to three months, depending on the variety.
Which Variety Of Strawberry Should I Use?
There are a plethora of tasty strawberry cultivars to choose from, making it difficult to know which ones are most suited to hydroponic cultivation.
Choosing a day-neutral is usually a good idea because they can flower and bear fruit all year round.
Some of the options that are available to you are outlined below.
- Crisp, juicy, and full of flavor, Seascape is a must-have for any meal.
- Albion is a long, conical-shaped confection that is both sweet and delicious.
- Quinault berries, which are self-pollinating, have larger berries.
- Sweet and delicate, this Mara de Bois is a firm, medium-sized fruit with a pronounced flavor.
- Tribute — a tasty, medium-sized sandwich.
The taste and quality of your strawberries will never be affected by using a hydroponic system, regardless of the kind you choose to cultivate.
Some say the fruit’s quality is better than that of regular soil-based strawberry crops.
Hydroponically grown herbs, vegetables, and fruits are guaranteed to acquire the same nutrients as those grown in soil because of the carefully prepared solution utilized during the growing process.
How Often Should The Nutrient Solution Be Changed?
This is a critical question that must be addressed to ensure the health of the plants.
Smaller plants will need fewer nutrients because they are smaller.
Strawberry growth necessitates increased fertilizer and water use, especially throughout the summer.
If you want to know how much nutritional solution you’re consuming, you should evaluate conductivity on a daily basis.
Not only can hydroponic systems grow larger plants and fruits, but they may also grow smaller plants and fruits.
Those who are new to hydroponics choose to start with strawberries, which are a relatively easy fruit to grow.
The same method may be used to cultivate a variety of other fruits and vegetables as well.
Hydroponic greenhouses are also often used to cultivate vegetables.
Farmers and individuals who grow crops for a living can make a lot of money by cultivating basil and mushrooms, two of the most sought-after vegetables.
Consequently, hydroponics could be the appropriate choice for you if you’re seeking for a new gardening challenge or a less taxing alternative to scooping down to gather your strawberries.