Horizontal and vertical hydroponic systems for strawberry production at high densities
Space utilization is very important in greenhouse production systems, and particularly for small crops such as strawberries. An experiment was carried out to evaluate phenology, yield and quality of strawberry under three high-density hydroponic settings. These systems were: 1) three-level horizontal PVC pipes (H3), 2) five-level horizontal polyethylene gutters (H5) and 3) vertical bucket columns (V5). These systems were established with densities of 17.7, 29.4 and 49.1 plants∙m-2, respectively. The strawberry crop Fragaria × ananassa Duch. 'Festival' was grown in a greenhouse with polyethylene covering at Chapingo University, Mexico. An experimental setting was established with a completely randomized design with four replications for each system. The crop was grown in a coconut fiber substrate, and the nutrient solution was fed with an electrical conductivity of 1.3 mS cm-1 during the first 45 days after plantation; thereafter, it was adjusted to 2.0 mS cm-1. The pH was kept between 5.5 and 6. Climate data such as ambient temperature and relative humidity were recorded at 5-min intervals. The plant variables evaluated included flowers, clusters, crowns, leaves, number of fruits and yield. Fruit samples were selected at each level for all the systems. The total soluble solids of the fruits at each level was also evaluated. The yield was better in system V5 than in systems H3 and H5. In the upper levels of the systems (H3, H5 and V5), total soluble solids were higher. More leaves appeared in the H3 and H5 systems than in the V5 system.
Ramírez-Arias, J.A., Hernández-Ibarra, U., Pineda-Pineda, J. and Fitz-Rodríguez, E. (2018). Horizontal and vertical hydroponic systems for strawberry production at high densities. Acta Hortic. 1227, 331-338
soilless system, Fragaria × ananassa, phenology, plant density