Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits around the world. The perfect balance of sweet and sour taste in a ripe red strawberry makes it so lovable. According to sources people of the United States consume 4 pound of strawberry in a year. Fruits are not that easy to grow through Hydroponics. On the other hand, strawberries are different in this case. Through the hydroponic method, strawberries can be grown in large amount throughout the year.
How long does it take to grow strawberries?
The farmers prefer growing strawberries hydroponically from the runner. Growing strawberries from seed can be very time lengthy. A strawberry seed takes up to 3 years to grow into a plant. Where it needs very much care and harvesting during farming. On the other hand, fruits grown from these plants are not so good in quality.
If a person wants to grow strawberries in a year then the planting from the seed is not an option for him. He has to farm through the runner. The runner propagating is the most popular and largely occupied method, especially in hydroponics.
Strawberries are three types in quality one is June bearing, they called short day because they start bearing flower at the end of winter in June.
Another one is day-neutral they give fruit throughout the year, the temperature and the light does not affect it very much. The more Modern and developed form of these strawberries is ever bearing strawberries. These bear year throughout the year, whether is summer or fall. In hydroponics, the growing season doesn’t matter much. On the other hand, the availability of the runner has some effect on fruit farming. The runner can be out of availability in some seasons. However, in the late winter or at the starting of the spring, runners are highly available.
The light requirements in long day type grow
Strawberry is one of those plants which response most in the daylight. Ever-bearing strawberry is known as the strawberry of a long day or long day strawberry. These types of strawberries develop more flowers under the daylight. However, in the hydroponic method of cultivation strawberries need only 8 to 12 hour of daylight to yield.
Pollination of strawberries
Strawberries are one of those trees which have both male and female flower in the same tree. However, in the hydroponic technique the strawberry flower is pollinated differently in outdoor and indoor.
In outdoor the pollination, the job of pollination is done by the bees and by the wind. In the outdoor pollination has been done naturally. On the other hand, in indoor pollination, the job of pollination has been done in artificial ways. The farmer use fan or hair dryer for the wind to the pollination, in addition, he can move his hand or brush through the followers in all the trees.
Strawberries are the fruit of winter. They prefer the cool winter season to yield their fruit. The temperature of 15-27 degree Celsius is the ideal temperature for the strawberries. From the survey of agricultural cultivation in Arizona, it has seen that in the winter night at the temperature of 10-20 degree Celsius, the yield of the fruit of strawberry has been increased. However, strawberries are actually hibernating during the cold winter, some of it can be kept in the refrigerator for a long time, for those places whether the winters are not so cold.
Nutrient and trace elements for the growth of a strawberry plant:
Nitrogen is the main nutrient of the plants however plant cannot directly have the nitrogen from the air. They have it from the bacteria’s of the soil. Nitrogen is the protein element of the tree. It helps the tree to grow.
It transports the sugar through the tree, control stomata, and reduces chances of diseases.
It helps in cellular division.
Iron helps the strawberry tree to do the Chlorophyll synthesis
It is important in the photosynthesis process
It helps Auxins synthesis and active enzymes.
It has some influence on metabolism.
It is the main component of nitrate-reductase and nitrogenase enzymes.
Cobalt and chlorine
It helps the synthesis of essential amino acid.
EC AND PH level requirement
The optimal level of water ph required for strawberry tree growth is 5.8-6.2pH.
On the other, the Electrical conductivity (EC) required for the strawberry tree is 1.4-3.0 ds/cm.
The optimal level of pH and EC are very critical for the healthy plant and yield, both in soil and hydroponic gardening. Maintaining soil pH and EC in soil required frequent and regular measurement.
Through several sensors and meters like pH tester pen or EC tester pen a farmer can measure the pH and EC level. However, applying the appropriate amount of salt and fertilizer can balance the level of pH and EC.
Fertilizer for strawberries
Fertilizer for strawberries replenishes nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the soil. Whether you’re an organic gardener or choose conventional methods to grow berries, there are many choices of fertilizer.
Plants display several clues when they need fertilizer. Some of these clues may also point towards insects or other problems, so be sure to consult a local gardener or someone at your local garden center if your plants continue to struggle.
- Pale or yellow-colored leaves: This may indicate a strawberry plant needs fertilizer.
- No berries: Plants may produce flowers, but berries either fail to develop or never develop at all.
- No flowers: The plants look green and healthy, but never flower.
Types of fertilizer for strawberries
There are several choices for strawberry fertilizer.
Compost is a rich, natural fertilizer that strawberries love. Compost is an organic fertilizer and soil amendment made by nature decomposing leaves, grass clippings, and other plant material. You can add shredded newspaper, discarded outer leaves of lettuce, apple peels and any other vegetable material from the kitchen into the compost pile. Over time, heat and moisture encourage microbes to break down the plant material, and worms chewing their way through the pile leave behind casings, or droppings, that add rich material to the soil. Compost is an excellent all-around soil amendment and recommended for nearly every garden.
Whether you make your own compost or buy it bagged at the store, add a layer of compost about one to two inches thick to the soil before planting strawberries.
Commercial fertilizers contain a chemical blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, along with some trace minerals. Fertilizer bags list these elements as numbers in a ratio such as “5-10-5” and “10-10-10”. The numbers reflect the percent for each element, with nitrogen always the first number, phosphorus the second, and potassium the third. If choosing a commercial fertilizer for strawberries, look for a balanced fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer will show all numbers as the same, like 5-5-5 or 10-10-10. The safest fertilizer for strawberries is a 10-10-10. Use about two and a half pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 feet of rows of strawberries. Broadcast or sprinkle the fertilizer around the plants and follow the package directions.
The demand for strawberries is rising day by day. Thus to meet the market demand the farmers are using several methods to cultivate the strawberry tree. Apart from all kind of cultivation, the hydroponic method is the fastest and the easiest method of strawberry cultivation. Hydroponic is the branch of hydro-culture cultivation. Here the plants have been grown without seeding them into the soil. Here the required nutrient and the trace elements have been dissolved into the water in proper pH and EC level. After that, the root or runner of any plant has been exposed into that water. This method of cultivation is called Hydroponic system. However this method also has some several subsets.
Deep water culture
in this method of plant production the root of the plant is exposed deep into the enriched solution of nutrient, oxygenated water. In this method, the plants grow very fast as the oxygen level in the water is very high. It is a very traditional method of hydroponic systems. Here the plant has been situated inside a bucket full of nutrient water which has a high level of oxygen.
Ebb and flow
Here the pot of tree situated above a tray which is filled with a nutrient solution along with some growing medium likes clay. Here the plant directly planted over pot above the tray. There is a timer has been set in the tray. According to the timer, the tray pumps the nutrient solution of water to the pot of the tree.
Nutrient film Technique:
A here shallow stream of water contains the entire nutrient. However, the excess nutrient passes to the bare root of the plant’s trough channel in this method of hydroponics. Here in this process, the wastage of nutrient water is very minimal than other methods of hydroponics.
It is a micro irrigation system. It can save the plant allowing them to drip into the water from above the soil or below the soil.
The wick system is kind of passing system. It has no moving parts. Here the nutrient solution has released to the growing root of the plant through a wick. Here the wick uses the capillary action to release the nutrient water to the root.
In this system, the plants continuously or randomly kept in the environment saturated area with the fine droplets of water filled with nutrients and trace elements. The good thing about this method is that any kind of plant can be grown with this, as it is situated in the environmental circumstances.
The strawberries are one of the best plants which are grown hydroponically. The solution of water gives the plant plenty amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, sculpture, and other trace elements for growth. On the other hand, it saves the tree from several diseases attacks from the soil. The maintenance of nutrient water pH and EC is also very easy in Hydroponic system.
As one can consider, that among all these methods of hydroponic system, the Wick system is very much preferred for the cultivation of strawberry. Wick method is actually very much suitable for the small plants, like strawberry.
As well as this method is very much cost effective of the farmer as it is least bother with several lists of material requirement. For a farmer it is very easy to collect the material for the wick system; however, the process of cultivation is also very easy to apply without any technological help. It is the most basic and easy from hydroponic cultivation. In this wicked system there are two or more wicks are delivering the nutrient water from the tray to the root of the plant with help of capillary action.
Hydroponics Vs Soil Strawberries
As per the data analysis, it has shown that there are two kinds of strawberry in existence.
However, there are some differences between these two kinds.
One kind of strawberry has been grown in the soil; another one kind has been grown in the hydroponic cultivation.
The soil strawberry is few in number, where the number of strawberry production in the hydroponic method is huge.
It takes 2-3 years for strawberry production is it has cultivated in the soil. On the other hand, a hydroponic system produces fruits in a year.
The disease and pest harming chances in soil grown are much higher, wherein a hydroponic system there is no chance of disease or pest harming.
How to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically
Strawberry growing hydroponically means strawberries are grown in nutrient water rather hand in the soil. However, this process gives the strawberry a chance to do the cultivating whole year. Here the process has been shown that is wicked system hydroponic. In this method, least type will be needed, like, for reservoir a large bucket or tub, a container for growing, wicks, nutrient solution, and the runner stock of strawberry. These whole processes are divided into two parts,
Part 1: preparing the hydroponic system:
Though there are several other hydroponic systems are available to grow strawberries, but the wick method is the easiest among all. Wick method is also well suited for small plants like strawberries.
First, in the hydroponic system one has to choose an area for the hydroponic cultivation. Strawberries are preferred to grow in the temperature between 15 -27 degree Celsius. One needs an area with this temperature range to cultivate his strawberry tree. For the colder weather one can use artificial glowing light.
After that farmer buys or makes their own nutrient solution. The strawberry needs Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, along with some nutrient and trace element to grow properly.
Thereafter, a tub or bucket needs to be picked as. The bucket needs to be large and deep in size. Thus it can contain a sound amount of nutrient solution for the hydroponic cultivation, otherwise, if it is small, or not deep then the farmer has to refill it several times.
After that, the bucket or the tub needed to be filled with nutrient solution. If the solution has been brought from the market then it has to be made sure that the water has been used in the right amount.
After that, another bucket is needed to be chosen as the container of the strawberry trees. One can have one large container or can have several numbers of the container for an individual tree.
Thereafter the most important part of preparation is to choose the wick. As the wick delivers the nutrient solution to the plant root, thus one need a wick is an excellent absorber of water hence, not getting rotten easily. There are several options are available in the market one can consider as the wick for his hydroponic method. Those are Fibrous rope, rayon rope, cotton rope, polyurethane yarn, woolen stripe etc. Wick need to be clean without any harmful chemical that can spoil the tree. Thereafter wicks are placed between the reservoir and the container.
One needs to use several numbers of wicks to pass the sound amount of fluid solution to the tree container.
After that one farmer needs to choose a growing medium instead of soil. In the cultivation of strawberries Perlite and vermiculite are used. On the other hand, the medium like peat moss and coconut coir are needed to be avoided, it may be able to absorb a lot of nutrient water. The medium needed to be filled in 2/3 portion into the container with some water which has an accurate level of pH and EC level.
Part 2: Growing strawberries from seed:
Cultivating strawberry from the seeds can take 2-3 years to give fruit, wherein hydroponic cultivation fruit will come within months. As the wick method is an indoor method that is who ever-bearing or day neutral varies is recommended.
First, we need to remove the strawberry tree from the container, and clean it by shaking, or brush. The root of the tree needed to be clean very carefully in the wick method. After that one need to rinsing the root with cools running water. Breaking too many hairs of the root can harm the tree thus this operation needed to be done very carefully.
After that let the strawberry plant soaked in the cold water for some minute, so that any particle of the medium will be removed from it. This will ensure the strawberry runner is hydrating while it will be replanted.
After all these processes again farmer needs to replant the strawberry runner into the growing container with enough of the growing medium so that the root of the runners can be cover up.
After that farmer needs to refill the reservoir with an accurate portion of nutrient water. The nutrient water portion required accuracy so that the plant can grow properly. A farmer needs to give water to the plants on schedule basis thus; excess nutrient like salt, minerals can be flush out from the medium. It is mandatory for the farmer to regularly check the reservoir. However, the water, which has been used in the hydroponic method, needs to have accurate pH and EC level. Hence, the regular test of pH and EC level is mandatory for wick method.
As the wick method is the indoor method of cultivation thus the farmer needs to pollinate the strawberry tree by himself. With a hairdryer or by simple brushing over the flower in the entire tree collection the pollination of the strawberries has been done. For the brushing small paintbrush or the makeup brushes can be taken into uses. Pollination should be done in entire pistil or else the strawberries may not be producing any fruit.
There is also some mandatory caution should be taken in case of strawberry harvesting. Strawberries are not one of those fruits, which are getting ripen even after picking up from the tree. Thus it is mandatory to let the strawberries get ripen in the tree. After getting fully ripen that strawberries are ready for harvesting. The strawberries can be harvested into the refrigerator for a long time.
Being the world’s most favorite fruit strawberries are not so easy to produce. As it takes too much time from the seed planting process, the agricultural developers take an effective step toward growing strawberries according to its demand through the hydroponic method. This method is easy to accommodate, and the fruits are coming fast in this method. With this hydroponic method of cultivation, the world can continue eating strawberries whenever it wants without any pause.