Nothing tastes better than strawberries. From candies to yogurts, you will find strawberry flavor. How will you ensure regular supply of fresh strawberries all year round? The answer is to grow strawberries in the hydroponics system. In this case, you will get a constant supply of fresh strawberries and even sell the surplus. But how can you grow strawberries in hydroponics? Here is an ultimate guide for growing strawberries in hydroponics.
Select the strawberry plants
Strawberries grown from the seed takes up to 3 years to start bearing fruits. This is not advisable for hydroponic growers. Ideally, you should buy certified runners from reputable dealers. These runners are off-shoots that are cut from a mature strawberry plant.
Buy the nutrient solution
For optimum growth, Strawberries require Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. The other main elements required by strawberries are magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. The trace elements needed by strawberries include manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, cobalt, zinc and chlorine. How do you get the right nutrients for growing strawberries in hydroponics? You can buy strawberry nutrient solutions from reputable online sellers. Ideally, the strawberries that get the right mix of nutrient mature faster than those grown conventionally.
Prepare the container for growing strawberries
You will need a 5-gallon food-grade plastic bucket to grow hydroponic strawberries. Avoid containers that contain chemicals including paints. Ensure that your container is clean and dry. Then fill up to two-thirds of your container with a pre-soaked growing medium. In this case, vermiculite is the ideal growing medium for strawberries.
Plant your strawberries
If you are transplanting the strawberries from the soil, remove the attached soil with mild shaking. Then soak the entire roots system in a different bucket of cool water. Wait for about 15 minutes, then remove your strawberries from the bucket and rinse them with the fresh running water.
Remove any dry or discolored leaves before placing your strawberries on the pots. Holding the crown, put the roots above the growing medium. Then add the growing medium to cover the roots. The crown should be exposed to the air.
Your strawberries should get an adequate source of light. Ideally, 12- 16 hours of light per day is the best. In this case, you will have to install grow lights in your grow room.
Remember that your strawberry requires a constant supply of the nutrients. In this case, you should mix the nutrients as the directions of the package. Then water your strawberries with this nutrient solution. The nutrient-rich water should be added on a daily basis to ensure optimum growth of your strawberries.
Premature flowers should be removed until the plant is capable of supporting the weight of the berries. Moreover, runners that appear should be removed even if the plant has reached maturity. Such runners use energy at the expense of fruiting. You may save some runners to grow more plants.
Once you have started picking strawberries, they will not continue to ripen. In this case, you should avoid harvesting them before they are fully ripe.
Growing strawberries in hydroponics is the best way to ensure a constant supply of berries throughout the year. In this case, you will get strawberries that mature faster and yield more than those grown in soil-based systems.