one of the most popular fruit species
Everyone loves them, fresh, dry, processed, frozen, in juice, jams, and in hundreds of ways. Also in the gardens and backyards are located and decorate our hearts with flowers and fruits. In the last 5 years there was a significant increase of the demand for strawberries and their production has significantly increased. The main reason is mainly beacause strawberries don’t require large areas for growth and development and bear fruit very quickly.
Fruit prices vary around harvest time so growing strawberries indoor plays a big role in achieving higher market prices. Also, by indoor growing (greenhouses and hydroponics) it’s possible to perform all other agro-technical and auxiliary measures and harvesting regardless of atmospheric conditions.
While producing in protected areas, it is necessary to take care of crop rotation and elimination from production if it is cultivated in the soil or on the substrate. If the cultivation is in hydroponics or other form, then the requirements for the need for surfaces and the amount of space under protection are slightly different.
Strawberry cultivation in the vertical system is specific and cultivation is in two-year rotation and maximum exploitation.
Strawberries grown in the soil correspond to slightly acidic soil pH 5.5 - 6.5. but a reference soil sample should certainly be prepared and a soil analysis performed.
After that, ameliorative fertilization with organic and mineral fertilizers is prepared so that we finally have enough good material for the preparation of raised beds in which we will install an irrigation system and cover with foil on which strawberries will be grown. Strawberries also require sufficient amounts of water for irrigation and fertigation (depending on the type of soil, the need is 3 – 6 liters per m2 per day). Fertigation is used immediately in a period of one to ten days with water-soluble fertilizers rich in phosphorus and a ratio of N, P, K for this stage of plant cultivation to develop the strongest possible root. The importance of measuring pH, EC, TDC as well as salinity is always important for the purpose of cost-effective and maximum use of fertilizers and water for a satisfactory yield. Quality water for irrigation and fertigation should have the lowest possible EC and favorable pH, and use tensiometers to control humidity.
HI9814- pH/EC/TDS/T meter
HI9814 is a durable, portable pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids and temperature meter for most measurements encountered in hydroponics, aquaponics or general agriculture applications. All operations and settings, are made through only two buttons and the housing is waterproof and rated for IP67 conditions. User-selectable features include selectable TDS factors of 0.5 and 0.7 as well as auto-off after 8 minutes or 60 minutes to prolong battery life.
Soil salinity is a factor that needs to be constantly measured in the soil. Strawberries are sensitive to the increased concentration of salt in the soil and therefore the yield decreases without visible symptoms.
Measurement of pH and nutrient concentration and electrical conductivity of EC in water for irrigation and fertigation. The electrical conductivity in the root zone must not exceed 2 dS / m. Chlorine and sodium are the two most harmful ions that cause the tops of the leaves or the tops of the leaves to dry out. If water salinization is suspected, it should be measured several times at different periodic intervals.
Direct Soil EC Tester Soil Test™
The Soil Test™ Direct Soil EC Tester – HI98331 is a rugged and reliable pocket-sized tester that offers quick and accurate readings. The Soil Test™ Direct Soil EC Tester – HI98331 features a stainless steel penetration probe for direct measurement of conductivity in soils. With a compact size, single button operation, and automatic calibration, Soil Test is an excellent choice for taking direct conductivity measurements in soil.
Hanna instruments have systems with the possibility of installing lysimeters at different depths so that the quantity and availability of nutrients can be monitored using Hanna Instruments photometers for nutrient analysis in soil and in the fertigation system.
Each plant absorbs water and nutrients from the soil, which are essential substances for growth. First of all, each plant has specific needs to receive the Primary Macroelements: Nitrogen / Phosphorus / Potassium.
The purpose of fertilization is to obtain a supply of nutritional elements adequate to the actual needs of the plant. Consequently, it is necessary to carefully monitor the amount of nutrients present in the soil , to be sure to provide your crops with only the nutrients they actually need. In this way, overdosing can be avoided , which is wasteful and can cause impoverishment of the soil, thus having advantages in terms of efficiency and economics. Hanna has just the thing for you, tools that measure the most important nutrients for your plant’s growth!
Suction Lysimeter for Root Level Soil Monitoring
One of the important factors for cultivation in protected areas is the temperature, where in addition to financial, it also has a direct impact on the quality and quantity of yield.
This can be monitored qualitatively with the help of a data logger that will record and measure all changes at specified intervals and that the temperature can be regulated according to them. Of course, even high temperatures are not favorable in cultivation because they lead to wilting of plants. Optimal temperatures would range from 10 ° C to 26 ° C.
Temperature Datalogger - HI148
Quick to setup, simple to use, the HI148 is a datalogger that is ideal for monitoring and recording temperature in applications such as food processing, transportation, museums, and horticulture.
Strawberries main parameter guidelines for achievment of maxium yield:
|Measurement parameters||Ideal values|
Optimal 5.5-6.5 to maximum 6.5-8.5
Electrical conductivity of the solution EC
Less than 1.0 dS / m
Electrical conductivity in the root zone EC
Maximum 2.0 dS/m
Less than 130 mg/L
Less than 5mg/L
Temperatures in the protected area
From 10°C to max 26°C
2% to 3%
So take care of your strawberry crop, because the more attention you invest into it, the more you will gain in return. The fruits will have an ideal ratio of sugars, acids, color, hardness and a satisfactory shelf time. Also, strawberries produced locally will be more ripe and better than imported ones because they will not be picked green at the ideal time and will be more desirable to every customer.
With proper measuring instruments selection and fertigation systems you will be able to secure your role and safety in production. Cultivation in a protected area achieves a higher product price and earlier market entry compared to outdoor production which is always risky due to multiple atmospheric influences and is very susceptible to risks and losses of complete production.
Hydroponic strawberry cultivation
Is the most technologically advanced and it is part of today’s digital and precision agriculture. It differs in the details of the building, the location of the plants, and the assortment. Hydroponic cultivation is suitable because biological protection methods are used and the amount of pesticides is reduced many times over. Of course, hydroponic cultivation requires a higher input investment, errors in production lead to large losses, the need for skilled labor that will keep the system as profitable as possible, since all parameters must be controlled multiple times a day.
Irrigation is one of the most important operations in agriculture.
With proper irrigation the quality and quantity of strawberries can be significantly enhanced.
Is not a simple process: the quantity of water must be sufficient for strawberry plants, and if not, photosynthesis and overall growth is impeded. However, if the amount of water is more than required, plant growth may become excessive, producing a tall, softer and/or damaged product.
We design and manufacture a complete, ready-to-install, ferti-irrigation system for our customers.
At first, we collect the information and requests of the agronomist to create a system that corresponds to the actual needs of the customer. Afterward, we analyze the existing infrastructures to be able to interface our systems with the fixture already installed.
Finally, we produce the customized system and proceed with the installation, commissioning, and training of the personnel in charge.
Our ferti-irrigation systems have multiple applications:
- Outdoor farming
- Indoor (soil) farming
Our fertigation system integrates Hanna Instruments process equipment with high-quality industrial products to create two types of systems:
- Direct injection of nutrients
- Mixing tank
The Fertigation Controller can control the quantity of irrigation water based on time or volume. Different sectors can be irrigated at different times during the day with different water quantities.
With the Fertigation Controller, each irrigation program provides control of pH and conductivity. When necessary, a specific program performs a pH correction by the introduction of an acid or base into the irrigation water. pH control is based on multiple sensor input and a specific set point, while conductivity control is directly related to the level of fertilization.
When the Fertigation Controller commands the addition of 1 to multiple fertilizers in the irrigation stream, conductivity sensors continually monitor the conductivity of the stream and the overall amount of fertilization is maintained based on a specified set point (limit). The Fertigation Controller can command the addition of multiple (1 to 4) fertilizers to irrigation water. The percentage of each fertilizer is set up by the user and controlled by a specific program based on the conductivity set point.
If a pH or conductivity control problem arises, the program generates an alarm to inform the user. All operations of both control processes are stored in the memory.
The Fertigation controller performs all necessary operations, monitoring, control of irrigation, and fertilization processes. These operations are conducted continuously throughout the day, month and year.
To use and manage the system properly, all the necessary control values must be set (setup mode). During monitoring operations (consulting mode) the user can obtain information about how the system and irrigation process are functioning. Furthermore, the history of all operations for the current and previous days can be accessed.
Saša Perica, bacc.ing.agr.
Nives Vinceković Budor mag.ing.chem.ing.