Hydroponic Strawberries

NFT StrawberriesStrawberries can be grown successfully using a number of different Hydroponic Systems.   Strawberries grown in hydroponics will grow around 40% faster than when grown in soil.

Strawberries can fruit all year around if you provide them with a good growing environment.

Strawberries require a CF range between 18 and  22

Commercial StrawberriesNFT Strawberries

I have found using NFT with a PVC pipe as the channel is the best for me, this method is also the most commonly used system for commercially grown Strawberries

If possible suspend the pipe above head height, the strawberries will hang below the pipe and it is very easy to see when they are ready and to pick them, this also allows easy management of Strawberry runners.

I generally plant my Strawberries in a mixture of Perlite and Vermiculite in grow pots, the mixture has a lot more Vermiculite than Perlite as Strawberries to limit the amount of moisture around the Strawberries crown, Strawberry plants to not like having a wet crown.

Flood and Drain Strawberries

Strawberries can be grown in a Flood and Drain system as long as you take special care to keep the crown of the Strawberries dry.

Use a mixture of Perlite and Vermiculite as the aggregate, have a 2 cm layer of Vermiculite at the top of the Grow Tray.  Ensure that the Overflow Pipe is below the level of the layer of Vermiculite.

Grow TowerGrow Towers

Grow Towers are another method for growing great Strawberries, you are able to have a large number of Strawberry plants with a very small foot print.

Fill the pots with a mixture of Perlite and Vermiculite, plant a single Strawberry plant in each opening.  Ensure that the Strawberry crown stays dry.

Caring for your Strawberries

  • Pick the fruit as soon as they are ready
  • Check the plant regularly for runners and cut them off
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Plant Pollination

Tomato Flower

Plants grown in a Hydroponic System need to be pollinated in the same way as if growing the plants in soil.

Plants that are growing outside will need minimal pollinating, while if they are inside or in a glasshouse the plants will need some assistance in pollinating.

Pollinating the flowers will ensure that you have the highest flower setting rate possible and in turn the largest possible quantity of fruit on your plants.

Hand Pollination

I prefer to use hand pollination and you would be forgiven for thinking that hand pollination sounds like a very painful slow process it really doesn’t have to be.

Paint BrushShaking or Tapping

I currently have a lovely crop of Tomatoes growing in my Hydroponic System.  I pollinate my tomatoes by tapping the flower stem with a artists paint brush a couple of times, this is all that is needed to set the flowers.

Brushing

The paint brush can also be used to gently brush the pollen from the flowers stamen onto the pistil.  This method can be time consuming and is better for plants that have a few larger flowers.

Hair DryerBlowing

Strawberries can easily be pollinated by using a hair dryer on COLD and blowing air onto the flowers.

Spraying

Another method to pollinate flowers is to spray the flowers with water.  It is best to do this first thing in the morning before the plant has any sun on it, spraying at night is also another option only this can put the plant at risk of getting mold on it as the humidity level around the plant over night will be a lot higher.

Setting Agents

There are a number of Setting Agents that can be purchased from your local garden centre.

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