The Hydroponic strawberries after they’ve just been started in the system
This is the second hydroponic system I’m setting up for growing Strawberries this year, The tank I’m using was originally an Aeroponic propagator which I purchased from Nutriculture. It was originally made for propagating 205 seeds or plants.
Closeup of the Aeroponic Strawberry tank showing the nutrient spray nozzles in action
I used it for the first year in this way, But never really used it to it’s full capacity. So decided to try it a little differently this year. The tank itself has a pump in the middle of the tank which is connected by a series of plastic pipes to little spray nozzles.
So when the pump is running a continuous spray of nutrient solution is sent to the roots of any plants which are dangling into the tank from the top plate above.
The Aeroponic strawberry tank showing the extra mist of nutrients being active
As well as using it like this I’ve also put in a large floating fogger inside it, This is normally used to produce a fog or mist on the top of ponds for decorative purposes but I’m using it to add a little bit of extra nutrients to all of the places on the plants roots which may or may not be hit by the spray from the pump alone. As the fog or mist solution finds it’s way out of the sides of the top plate when it’s active I’m only doing this several times a day with a timer for a few minutes. I’m not really sure if it will help the plants but it can only help. It looks cool anyway when it’s active and the mist is rising from the plants.
For quite a while it has been agreed by experts that a properly working aeroponic system is pretty much the most effective way of growing plants without soil.
The way an aeroponic system works is by supplying the root zone of the plants with a fine mist of liquid nutrients rather than just a continuous flow of liquid, this not only fulfills the plants nutrients needs but also gives the plant a large amount of oxygen within the nutrients which is an ideal situation to be in.
The fine mist in a small system can be supplied by a spinning nozzle which is simply attached to a standard hydroponic nutrient pump outlet within a nutrient container. The plants are then suspended in baskets or just loose above the mist so that the roots dangle into the nutrient spray.
One of the good things about a small system like this is that you can easily see all the fast root growth as it happens by carefully lifting the plants out of the nutrient mist.
The biggest problem with an aeroponic system is the upkeep necessary to keep the fine mist system working correctly. For example blocked nozzles will instantly stop the system from working correctly and starve the plants of the necessary oxygen and nutrients they need.
Aeroponic systems are currently in the early days of development and I’m not sure at the moment whether these systems will prove reliable enough for continuous use, but I am going to give one a go this year (2006) by trialling an aeroponic propagator I have purchased. Early results are very very encouraging, please keep visiting my 2006 web pages for photos.
Also if you would like to see a large scale aeroponic system in action you might like to take a trip to Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida, In the Land area of the park you can see a large scale system in action for yourself which supplies food to all the Hotels and Restaurants around the Walt Disney resort. If your not planning a visit soon though have a look at my Our and About section where you can find some photo’s I have taken from a previous visit there, There are also photo’s of the other systems they have there such as NFT systems etc.