Introduction: Simple Hydroponic Strawberries

Picture of Simple Hydroponic Strawberries

Award winning hydroponic strawberries. Created as a school project. Simple, easy to care for. Perfect for small hobbiests, science fairs, or as a learning tool. Can be upsized to create a larger production system.

Step 1: Materials

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What you will need to build your simple hyrdoponics strawberry system:

1. 5 gallon bucket or other water container. Any bin, bucket, or tote should work.

2. Gardening hose or tubing (if using gardening hose, make sure you are comfortable with cutting it to a point where it would no longer be a valuable garden hose).

3. Water pump. A small fountain pump will be ideal.

4. Hydroponic tray. Pvc piping would also be efficient, but openings would have to be cut into the pipe so that it resembles a hydroponics tray.

5. Planter pots that will fit the opening of your tray or pipe comfortably.

6. Beginning strawberry plants.

7) Vermiculite or other planting material.

Step 2: Set Up

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First, you will want to find a place to establish your system. The water container (bucket) will have to be set below the tray so that water can spill into it, therfore a table end or tall box/bin will do fine. I have used a large cooler to place my system on top of. Also make sure your system will be away from weather elements and will have access to sunlight (artifical may work if need be). An outlet will also need to be nearby to plug in the water pump.

Step 3: Putting Your Materials Together

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Now that you have found a place for your system, you can start setting up.
1) Place the hydroponics tray on the surface of your found area.

2) Place the bucket under the open end of your tray.

3) Fill bucket with water.

4) Cut a portion of the water hose out that is long enough to reach from the inside of the bucket to the far end of the tray.

5) Establish one end of the hose to the output of the water pump.

6) Place water pump inside bucket of water

7) Place other end of the water hose at the far end of the tray (either through the opening or a drilled hole).

8) Plug water pump in.

Your system should now be working. Water will be pumped through the hose and will then fall back into the bucket in a continous cycle. You may have to add something under the tray to create an incline for the water to travel to the bucket.

Step 4: The Plants

Picture of The Plants

Now you are ready to add your strawberry plants. Make sure each of your planter pots has several openings in the bottom or lower sides for roots to grow through.

1) Fill your planter pots with vermiculite. Vermiculite acts as a sponge to hold water, but its main job is to give the plants support. Other materials may also be used, such as gravel or marbels.

2) Plant your strawberry plants inside the planter pots.

3) Now place your planted strawberry plants and their planter pot inside the openings of your hydroponics tray so that the bottom of the planter is inside the running water.

Step 5: Taking Care of Your System

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All that is left is to watch your plants grow! Be sure to dump and change the water container to fresh water often, and to clean off any algae that grows. From my own experiences, I don't recommend mixing in plant food with the water. Strawberries are happy enough when given just water.

Comments

corradini (author)2016-08-19

I don't mean to criticize, but I don't understand your statement that strawberries "are happy with" only water. Plants need nutrients to grow - this goes beyond even botany to basic thermodynamics! >;-) Putting it simply: you can't make a strawberry out of water, no matter how good the setup. A strawberry has mass; that mass comes from somewhere, and it's composed *mostly* (but not totally) of "CHON": carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. O2 can come from atmosphere (remember photosynthesis?), but plants do NOT get nitrogen from air; it has to come from N2 compounds, through the roots. They also need phosphorous and potassium (hence the "NPK" ratios on fertilizer labels). And trace minerals. This is why hydroponics 'food'/nutrients are supplied. Saying you don't need to feed strawberries, or any other hydroponics crop, is provably false (and silly, but I'm being polite).

wallace_johnd (author)corradini2017-07-02

The mass of most plants is cellulose and other carbohydrates, which the plants create through photosynthesis using sunlight, water, and CO2 from the atmosphere. You are right though that they will do better with NPK containing fertilizers/hydroponic solutions - they need the nitrogen to make proteins for enzymes, potassium for electrolytes, and phosphate to make DNA for growth and especially flowering and fruiting.

NelsonR38 (author)2016-07-03

can this same setup work with other fruits and vegetales? If it does can your specify which ones will work great with this same setup...

NelsonR38 (author)2016-07-03

awesome idea...

mben1806 (author)2016-05-22

Just out of crousity when plants get big do you to upscale this or buy buger parts

JessaG1 (author)mben18062016-05-22

When the plants get bigger you can upscale or buy bigger materials, but my plan for this was to take the plants out of the planter and let them sit in the running water without the planter. This way the roots can extend out along the whole bottom of the tray. My plants are not yet big enough for this, though.

mjackson-1 (author)JessaG12016-06-09

Have you considered trimming the plants and rooting the trimmings in order to expand the project? You might also consider a solar powered pump so you're not running mains power to a wet system. This would reduce the chances of the pump stopping due to popping a breaker or tripping GFCI, plus a jolt may not be too fun! Love the simplicity of this, though, and glad to see it was well-received by the judges!

Waszkagfc (author)2016-06-09

I do just have one question: are these strawberries tasty?

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-05-22

Great hydroponics setup. About how much power does the whole system use to keep running.

The power will depend on the pump. Just multiply the energy consumption (W) per 24 to have the daily consumption and then multiply for 30 monthly consumption (W). Then divide per 1000 (Kw) and multiply for the cost of Kw/h for monthly cost of electricity.

I wish I could tell you, but I honestly am unsure. I created this system as an agriscience fair project, and it stays set up in our school greenhouse. The small fountain water pump, (120 gallons per hour at 115V, 60Hz is the specs) stays running constantly. Those details may answer your question, but if not, I hope it helps in some way!