Hydroponic Strawberries: What You Need To Know
- 1 Hydroponic Strawberries: What You Need To Know
- 1.1 Hydroponic Strawberries
- 1.2 Environmental Factors to Consider
- 1.3 FAQ
- 1.4 The Bottom Line
Nothing beats a juicy, perfectly red bowl of strawberries. Strawberries are easy to grow hydroponically, making them the perfect choice for beginners.
The good thing about growing strawberries hydroponically is that you have a constant supply of fresh berries all year. In this article, you will find a detailed guide on how to grow strawberries hydroponically, including tips to get started.
- You can grow hydroponic strawberries from seeds or starts; however, starts produce quicker.
- The two recommended hydroponic systems for growing strawberries are the Nutrient Film Technique and the Ebb and Flow system.
- The water quality highly affects the production of strawberries as much as pH, humidity, temperature, and light do.
It is essential to plan how to start your hydroponic strawberries garden to ensure you reap the most benefits from it. Before you start, there are several things you need to keep in mind.
Seeds or Starts
What do you intend to start your garden with? Using seeds to grow the plant to produce fruit takes a long time, so it might not be the best option.
The best approach is finding young strawberry plants and using them to start your hydroponics garden. You will need to rinse off all the soil from the roots before sticking them into the net pots and medium.
Choosing the Hydroponic System
You can choose from the multiple systems available for your hydroponic strawberries . These below stand out among hydroponic strawberry growers and have proven to work well.
Nutrient Film Technique
This is one of the easiest systems to run and one that does not need constant control. The plants sit in a net pot with the roots hanging in the root zone. The system allows you to reuse the nutrient solution making the most out of it.
The growing tray sits on an incline. With the constant pumping of the solution, nutrients are circulated all around the plants . The system is efficient; however, you will need a power backup to ensure continuous circulation in the vent of electricity failure.
Ebb and Flow
This is another efficient system where you can choose to grow strawberries hydroponically. It is similar to the Nutrient Film Technique as the roots stay submerged in the growing medium. Large amounts of nutrients are pumped into the system in cycles lasting a few minutes.
After flooding the growing medium, the solution, through the use of gravity, drains itself naturally. This system needs regular maintenance but works well to ensure a constant supply of nutrients to the plants.
Preparing the Nutrient Solution
Like other hydroponic plants, your strawberries will need a balance of nutrients to grow and produce. Generally, strawberries need an adequate supply of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus .
The best nutrients for hydroponic systems are usually in liquid form to prevent clogging the system and allow easier absorption. Therefore, ensure the nutrients you get are soluble in water or source for already prepared nutrients solutions.
Choosing the Growing Medium
You can choose any growing medium to grow strawberries; however, not all may suit a small, beginner garden. The best option for strawberries is coco coir. It is inert and does not alter the pH of the strawberries. Additionally, it is beginner-friendly and easy to acquire.
Environmental Factors to Consider
The kind of environment you provide for the strawberries will directly affect their growth and production. You want to ensure each parameter is conducive to ensure optimal development and consistent production. Here are the factors to keep in mind.
The quality of the water directly affects the efficiency of the hydroponic system. The roots are directly exposed to the water; therefore, any mishap in the water will translate to the condition of the plant.
It would be best to use a water filter to ensure your strawberries are free from impurities found in tap water.
The pH of the water highly affects the results you get from your strawberry plant. The most favorable pH for growing hydroponic strawberries is between 5.8 and 6.2. You may need to invest in a pH meter to keep the levels in check and avoid nutrient issues in your system.
Strawberries do not thrive in humid areas as the excess moisture causes mildew and mold growth around the plants. If you live in a humid area, consider using a dehumidifier to bring the levels down. Ensure adequate ventilation to facilitate the free flow of air and control humidity.
Strawberries do not need a constant supply of light to grow and develop fully. However, they need at least 8 to 12 hours of daylight to facilitate proper growth and development. The best thing is you do not need to supplement light as they quickly adapt to slight light changes between seasons.
If you choose to grow the strawberries in a greenhouse, the plants will get adequate natural light. But if you choose to keep them indoors or in a low-light environment, you may need to invest in grow lights to meet the light needs.
The best thing about hydroponic systems is the climate-controlled conditions that favor most plants. Generally, strawberries do well in a temperature between 18 to 26 degrees Celsius. A relatively warm environment is conducive to facilitate optimal growth.
How Long Do Strawberries Take to Grow Hydroponically?
Like other fruits, strawberries take quite some time to grow, develop and yield. If you start your garden using seeds, it can take between 2 to 3 years for the plant to start producing fruit.
If you start with rootstock, it can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months to yield fruit. This is, however, dependent on the variety used as some develop quicker than others.
How Often Should You Change the Nutrient Solution for Hydroponic Strawberries?
There is no definite timeline that you should keep when it comes to changing the nutrient solution. Smaller plants will require fewer nutrients compared to mature, producing plants.
Additionally, the consumption will go up significantly during the summer as the plants require more water than in the winter. Therefore, keep an eye on reducing levels and change accordingly.
The Bottom Line
You can successfully start and grow hydroponic strawberries with the tips above. As long as you choose the right system, provide essential nutrients and ensure favorable environmental conditions, your hydroponic strawberries will thrive.