In 2015, when I started planting strawberries, I thought keeping them cool in our tropical climate is important. As I grew and learned, I found it is possible to grow them in our natural environment without too much fuss once the seedlings established (4 months ++).
Thus, this discovery, the compilation of 2 years of observation and data collection resulted in new ways to grow strawberries, in soil or hydroponic, without using any cooling elements from electricity.
Zero carbon footprint mean we can all grow strawberries at very low cost and without any fancy high tech equipment. Everyone can grow them with enough understanding of how strawberries grow in our climate.
WORKSHOPS are also available with new curriculum catering to beginners to learn how to grow strawberries in a systematic way from seeds. From our youngest participant (2018 , 11 years old) to any age, everyone is learning in small class setting with lots of hands-on experience.
Soil Based using wind –
Recycled socks shield roots from light and prevent soil leaking to floors below during irrigation. Our PET bottles had been modified to cool roots zone and constantly being improved for strawberries or other cool seasoned plants in soil.
Hydroponic strawberry plants in Juice Jars
With hydroponic trial, it is now possible for us at home to study the plant intimately – to look at the roots system and how the crown behave as the plant matured. Roots – wise, this is not possible when the plant is in soil.
From seeds to harvest, it is also faster in hydroponic ( 4 months) versus soil based ( 6 to 8 months).
This is the diary of my first hydroponic strawberry, grown without electricity and the convenience of technology.
My first low cost hydroponic strawberries journey began on April 3 2017. Seeds were sowed March 27 on wet sponges. They germinated within 7 days.
Such tiny seedlings, I was glad I sowed them individually on sponges and need not delicately transferred at this stage.
The thrill of seeing strawberry seeds germinated is the same as when I first started in 2015.
Hands literally trembled when I transplant these tiny 2 months old seedlings! Were not sure if how I did were correct.
The rate of growth in hydroponic is very fast. We see visible spurts in growth in roots mass and height of the plant from the second month.
Without electricity, this plant is grown in stagnant still water and yet achieved aerated characteristics.
With this method, strawberries plants were able to reach flowering stage faster than soil and with the lighter weight, we could grow more plants indoor. In its own reservoir, growing in KRATKY method, we were able to test nutrients efficiently without too much hassle.
Tiny fruits from a small plant but its been immensely satisfying for me.
This trial proved that without technology, home grown (tabletop) strawberries is possible.
Growing them hydroponically made it easier to harvest fresh fruits direct from table to mouth!
Observation of after harvest stage –
The plant shared similar characteristics of soil based plants. Leaves and fruits production start to wane. There were more brown than vivid red stems.
Whether soil based or hydroponic, strawberry plants displayed slowing vigor after a few months of fruits production. The characteristics of slowing growth is the same – less vivid red stems, more brown leaves and stunted fruits.
Similar to strawberries grown in the natural cold zone, after plants have adequate “rest”, the red stems returned and flowering starts.
A mature plant has a developed crown and multiple splits.
Wintering Trials – Observation of dormant stage and recovery
When winter comes, strawberry plants are buried in snow and ice. They probably looked like this.There are no leaves and colour on the crown. Not all plants recovered to grow again when spring arrived.
Recovery begins in the crown when colour returned after a few months of “wintering” !
2018 Update – Aren’t they pretty?
Size of fruits are not dependent on weather. We observed that the same seeds grown in USA, are the same size for the first year harvest. Gradually over-wintering outdoors will improved their plants while in Singapore, remained same.
Second Generation –
With fruits, another opportunity to learn and a wild ride has began!
Wonder how the next generation grows? 🙂
Here we go again! Second generation has began. Seeds sowed on August 20, first sign of germination was spotted on August 27 2017 (7 days)!
Last but not least, we had observed that in addition to vivid red stems, roots also have an indicative signal for flowering stage! 🙂
2018 Update on second generation seedlings –
Seeds from our own fruits are harvested for generation studies. From our observation, second generation do not seem to fruit as vigorously as the parent, but the third and 4th plants grew and fruit faster. In fact, it was flowering from the second month in our natural environment. Perhaps we have to keep growing for truly acclimated plants, with our own seeds.
2018 Hydro Vertical Gardens – built this with PET bottles !
HEIRLOOM Strawberries in plugs (2 months old, soil or hydro) can be pre-ordered in SHOP !