Hydroponics is all about experimentation. You have to see what is working for you and what is not.
To know which plants are growing well in your hydroponics system and in your weather conditions or to know which nutrient composition is working well or whatever it may be, you have to keep experimenting to get the answers. Experimentation is the key when you are a beginner.
In one such experiment, I tried growing strawberry in my hydroponics system. I was very excited to grow strawberries at home and I was very confident as well because previously, I had got tremendous success with spinach, kale, amaranth and many other leafies. It was now time to try something different and interesting. That is why I chose to grow strawberry in hydroponics.
Well, all of the excitement went in vain when this strawberry experiment failed badly. That is the reason why I am writing this article, so that, whoever wants to grow strawberries in hydroponics might get some help.
Here’s what I learned from growing strawberry in hydroponics:
Don’t Water Excessively:
I watered strawberries with the same quantity of water as I did to the leafies. For leafies, my water pump supplied water for 30 minutes after every 1-hour break. This worked well for leafies, but not for strawberries or even tomatoes.
I soon learned, the correct watering cycle for strawberries was to switch ON the pump for 30 minutes after every 8 hours. That means you need to water strawberries for only a few times per day.
My first batch died just because of excessive watering. I tried reviving them but, with no good results.
Maintaining Proper pH for strawberry in hydroponics:
Well, not keeping the pH of the nutrient solution according to the plant you are growing, is a very rookie mistake anyone can make. Well, I am also guilty of this mistake.
Strawberries need a little acidic pH, somewhere between 5 to 6. If you don’t maintain pH in this level for strawberries, they simply don’t absorb any nutrients and eventually, they die.
I kept the pH between 6 to 7 which is suitable for leafies.
Keep checking the pH of your solution at least twice a week using the pH meter. It should be between 5 to 6 for strawberry in hydroponics.
Preventing Root Rot:
I told you that I was successful with leafies, so I tried to apply the same principles here. The roots of strawberry don’t grow that long as compared to the leafies.
As the roots are small, they don’t reach out into the aerated areas or simply the areas outside the pipes. The small roots stay enclosed inside the pipe with very minimal exposure to the outside air. This keeps the moisture in the roots intact and leads to root rot.
All the roots started getting paler and paler and they all eventually died.
Just a quick tip, sometimes when your roots look pale and yellowish, it’s not always the root rot. Try rubbing the roots with your fingers, if the yellow stuff comes off, then it is algae which is growing on the roots and in the water. Cover your tanks and pipes with black coloured plastic sheets or simply paint it black.
Black colour does not allow the light to come inside and prevents algae growth.
My first three batches failed in the first three steps. This time I was ready with my fourth batch and I was confident as well! This time I had done some research and with my past experience in mind, I was taking every step with utmost care.
Soon, results were looking good but, not long enough. After 3 days, my plants started to dry up and they all eventually died. This was because of the weather conditions in my region. Strawberries need comparatively cooler weather.
As my setup did not have any ventilation control and temperature control, I was not able to maintain a stable temperature. This way, all my saplings finally died and this experiment was a failure!
Was it all worth it? Absolutely yes! Trying and failing is the only way to success! You learn a lot when you take actions and keep experimenting. This strawberry experiment taught me a lot. If you learn from your failures then, it is not a failure. Remember that.
I have not tried growing strawberries again till now as I don’t have the proper setup for weather control. I will try it soon and will share the results with you all.
Just to give you all an idea, I grew my strawberries in this hydroponics system.
Till then, keep my learnings in your mind if you are planning to grow strawberries.
Also, green and vibrant has published an article which will help you grow strawberry in hydroponics.