The first time I came across hydroponic strawberries was during a trip to the Cameroon Highlands in Malaysia. There were farms all over growing these in rows and rows of plastic tubes above the ground. The flavor was quite good and fruit size large. You would never have known that’s how they were grown if you didn’t see the farms. So fast forward to today, I thought I would give them a try. This is my second attempt at doing this. The first time didn’t work out and I’ll get into that later.
Benefits of Hydroponics
The plants sit in a nutrient solution and grow about 20-30% faster than in dirt. The water, as a medium, is more efficient at delivering oxygen and food to the roots. Another benefit is also less bugs and potentially higher yields. You can grow these year round indoors as you have a lot more control over the climate. For example, moving the plants indoors during the winter when temperatures drops. Strawberries in the winter ? If you grow hydroponic strawberries then yes!!!!
Starting with bare root plants
I got my 20 bare root plants from Scenic Hill Farm in Oregon in the middle of June. On June 18, I planted 12 in two 16 quart Sterlite storage bins and put into a mini grow tent. I put of the plants in the dirt in pots outside to compare
After about a week of planting, they started to show green leaves and right away flowered after sprouting a few leaves. It is recommended to cut the first set of flowers so the plants have a chance to grow more green leaves and develop their root system.
For nutrients I am using the Technaflora brand. I have found this brand doesn’t swing the PH too much when adding to feed. I am checking the pH once a week and nutrients using a TDS meter as well; trying to keep pH between 5-6 and nutrients less than 1,000 PPM.
This is what they look like on July 17 or 4 weeks after I planted the bare roots. (Left is Tristar, Right Puget)
This is what they look like August 1 @ 6 weeks after planting. They are really putting out a bunch of runners, so I cut some off and allowed the more developed ones to continue so I have some new baby plants for next year.
This is how the plants I put in pots are doing at 6 weeks (Tristar)! You can see there’s a pretty big difference in progress between the strawberries in dirt vs hydroponic!! So far, hydroponic strawberries are winning the race.
Stay tuned for more updates on my hydroponic strawberries!
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