Dutch Strawberry Growing Technology for Beginners
Dutch technology involves conveyor growing berries all year round. Knowing the basics of this method and adapting it to your capabilities, you can start a profitable business or provide your family with delicious berries even in winter.
How to grow strawberries in Holland
For year-round cultivation on an industrial scale, of course, greenhouses are used. They maintain a microclimate favorable to strawberries. From autumn to spring, daylight is artificially lengthened. A drip irrigation system is laid, nutrient solutions are supplied through it. Productive and precocious varieties with marketable berries are selected. However, this is not enough.
The main principle of Dutch technology is strawberries all year round
The biological feature of this culture is that it bears fruit once a season, repair varieties - 2-3 times. After fruiting, the flower buds of the new crop are laid and the rest period begins. Dutch farmers making money selling strawberries cannot wait for the next harvest. They need a continuous stream of money, which means berries. Therefore, every 1.5–3 months a new planting material is planted, in such a way that the plants begin to produce crops by the time the last fruits are already harvested from the previous ones. Thawed bushes are ruthlessly removed.
The cost of off-season strawberries, especially on holidays, increases by 8–10 times. Although in summer this berry is not cheap.
Video: greenhouse for year-round strawberry cultivation
How to implement Dutch technology
Now, knowing the basic aspects of Dutch technology, we will try to implement them in ordinary Russian conditions. In addition to the desire to work with the land even in winter, you will need: a room, containers for planting, seedlings of the desired varieties, soil and fertilizers. In addition, your expenses for electricity and water will increase.
Strawberry growing room
The very first question that concerns all novice farmers: where to place winter or year-round plantings. If there is no heated greenhouse, select a corner in the room or the whole room, insulate a balcony or a veranda. In country houses, underground, attics, and sheds often stand idle. All this, if desired, can be turned into a Dutch strawberry mini-farm. Moreover, the absence of windows should not bother you. The smaller they are, the warmer in winter, and as for natural light, it is still not enough in winter even in a winter garden with floor-to-ceiling windows. Therefore, no matter what you choose: a glazed balcony or a basement, everywhere from autumn to spring, artificial lighting is necessary.
Strawberries can be grown not only in greenhouses, but also at home, on the windowsill
Favorable conditions for this culture
In order for the bushes to grow, bloom and give large and ripe berries, it is necessary to create conditions under which the strawberry feels comfortable.
- Temperature: + 18 ... +25 ⁰C, during flowering it must be reduced to + 20 ... +21 ⁰C. Below +12 ⁰C and above +35 ⁰C - critical temperatures, strawberry development slows down or stops, which will affect the yield.
- Humidity: 70–80%. Dry air must be moistened with a sprayer or by placing containers with water. High humidity is eliminated by ventilation. Therefore, ventilation in your strawberries is a must.
- The level of carbon dioxide is 0.1% or 1 thousand ppm. Without this condition, there will be no normal photosynthesis, that is, nutrition. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and water, turn them into organic compounds and oxygen under the influence of light. There are sensors and carbon dioxide level detectors. You can reduce the CO2 content by ventilation, and increase it by supplying smoke, for example, from a gas burner, candles, heating boiler, etc.
- Lighting should be similar to solar. Modern gardeners can already abandon incandescent, fluorescent, daylight, and buy special phytolamps with a red-blue spectrum, which are freely sold in gardening stores. When choosing phytolamps, consider how much area they can illuminate. There are models for backlighting and spot lighting (one pot), and for a complete replacement of sunlight for a whole plantation, professional phytopanels and large square lamps will be required. For better illumination, use foil and other reflective surfaces.
- The longitude of the day at which strawberries bloom and bear fruit is 12–16 hours. Under natural conditions, strawberries bloom in June, when the sun hides for only 7-8 hours a day. The longer the day, the faster flowers and berries will appear.
- Pollination is necessary for any strawberry variety. Each flower has a pestle and stamens, but pollen does not pass on to the pestle on its own, someone has to transfer it. On a mini-farm of several bushes, it is easy to carry out manual pollination. In large greenhouses, hives are established, bumblebees populate. In a medium-sized strawberry, you can put a fan and use it to create an artificial wind.
- Irrigation system. It can be watered manually; for a large plantation, lay drip irrigation lines.
Photo gallery: equipment for year-round cultivation
- Special thermometers are available for greenhouses
- This instrument can measure temperature and humidity at the same time.
- This sensor detect carbon dioxide
- The spectrum of phytolamps is close to the sun, without which photosynthesis is impossible.
- For artificial pollination, a regular brush is useful
- There are different drip irrigation systems, this can be connected to the tank
Planting material, frigo technology
In order for strawberries to justify the costs of growing it indoors, and even in winter, early ripe and productive varieties are needed. These include: Alba, Octave, Sonata, Honey, Darenka, Clery and others. Any Dutch hybrids are suitable, because with a high degree of probability they are grown in greenhouses. There is a more difficult problem than choosing a variety: where to get it, and how to store planting material in winter. After all, every 2-3 months you need to plant new bushes.
At any time of the year you can buy strawberries or frigo strawberries
Having understood the essence of Dutch technology, the purpose of frigo strawberries becomes clear. At first it was used only by farmers for growing in greenhouses. Now this planting material has appeared in free sale. Frigo - rooted strawberry mustache, harvested in the fall, store them at a temperature of 0 ... -2 ⁰C. At any time, such seedlings can be removed from the storehouse and awakened by placing them in a favorable environment.
Video: how it looks and what to do with frigo strawberries (advice from an agricultural consultant Search)
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- Grow the varieties you need on your site, select the most productive bushes, root their mustache.
- In autumn, when the air temperature does not rise above 0 ⁰C, the strawberries are already at a dormant stage, dig up young outlets.
- Carefully shake the ground from the roots. You can’t wash, dry, cut the roots!
- Cut the leaves, leaving the petioles and small leaves in the middle - the heart.
- Tie seedlings in bundles of 5, 10 or 20 pieces. In industrial workpieces, they are bound 50–100.
- Fold in plastic bags or boxes lined with film.
- Store at a temperature of 0 ... -2 ⁰C and humidity 90%. At the slightest deviation of the temperature in the plus side, the strawberry wakes up, at -3 ⁰C it dies.
If you do not have the opportunity to procure and store frigo, then you can buy it in your city or order it online. Of course, you need to do this in the winter. In the warm season, sockets wake up before they reach the customer, the leaves stretch out and dry out without food. Frozen sockets are stored for 9 months, maybe longer, but their productivity is reduced. To awaken seedlings, transfer them to heat and allow to thaw without unrolling polyethylene. A sharp temperature difference will provoke a heat stroke, leading to death. After defrosting, lower the seedlings for 3 hours with the roots in the water. You can add growth stimulants and root formation.
Container for strawberries
It is clear that, according to Dutch technology, each bush does not need an area of 50x50 cm, because annual plants are grown, no one will give them 4 years to grow and bear fruit. A clod of earth with a diameter of at least 15 cm and a depth of 25-30 cm is sufficient for such bushes. You can use:
- individual pots;
- containers, boxes;
- plastic bags with perforation under the bushes at a distance of 25-30 cm from one hole to another;
- plastic gutters.
Give preference to containers that are easily freed from the ground, disinfected, and refilled. For the most efficient use of the area, containers or other containers are arranged vertically in tiers: they are attached to the walls, placed on racks, etc.
In industrial greenhouses, strawberries are planted in hanging gutters.
Hydroponics or land cultivation?
In Holland, hydroponic cultivation is common. Soil does not carry any nutritional value. Plants develop due to nutrient solutions from mineral fertilizers. Coconut fiber is widely used, having many pores and channels in its structure. These moves are filled with air, water and food. The roots glide freely from one micropore to another, taking the contents. However, if hydroponics is something new and even fashionable for Russian gardeners, then for Europe with depleted, polluted land and water scarcity, hydroponics is an ideal solution and a necessity. After all, this technology does not require land and is always accompanied by economical automated irrigation.
Coconut fiber is often used as a substrate in hydroponic cultivation.
In Russia, it is still beneficial to use land for individual cultivation. Soil mix can be made by yourself and for free. Even finished in the store is cheaper than coconut fiber. The earth serves as a nutrient reserve, we do not have to, as in the case of hydroponics, daily prepare and serve solutions in the right proportions and quantities. It is enough to make a nutritious soil for planting and periodically make top dressing. In addition, special solutions for hydroponics are still rarely found on sale, they are expensive, high consumption. Of course, in industrial greenhouses, greens, vegetables, and berries are grown without land, but the purchase of fertilizers and substrates there is bulk, plus the profit from a large enterprise is not comparable to the income of a private trader.
Video: hydroponics fertilizer - information for beginners
For land cultivation, a mixture of strawberries / strawberries can be bought in a store or prepared independently by mixing turfy soil with peat and well-overcooked humus. This soil must be warmed up in any way to +100 ⁰C in order to get rid of insects and pathogenic fungi. Later, during the growing process, replace the ground after the bushes with fresh ones or disinfect the old one and refuel with fertilizers.
Soil for strawberries is also suitable for strawberries, sold in different volumes, almost always contains peat, baking powder and mineral fertilizers
Organic matter is not suitable as a fertilizer, especially if you have planted a plantation in an apartment. It is unlikely that your household will tolerate the smell of manure. When planting and for top dressing, use complex mixtures (Gumi-Omi, BioGumus, Pure leaf, Agricola, etc.). In the instructions for each there are dosages: how much to bring under the bush when planting and feeding.
Landing and care
When the room is prepared, the necessary microclimate is created, there is soil and seedlings, you can start planting, which is no different from the usual one. Pour drainage with a layer of 2-3 cm to the bottom of the pots and containers, perlite, vermiculite, river pebbles, etc. are suitable. Then place the seedlings in containers, spread the roots, keep the plants at such a level that the hearts are above the soil, and cover the roots with earth, periodically compacting it.
Video: planting frigo in a greenhouse
Caring for strawberries indoors is reminiscent of indoor floriculture, taking into account the characteristics of a particular crop.
- Maintain all parameters vital for strawberries: temperature, humidity, lighting, CO2 content.
- Keep the soil moist.
- Feed bushes every 10 days with purchased ready-made mixtures created specifically for strawberries. They contain all the necessary micro and macrocells (Agricola, Fertika, Clean sheet, etc.).
- During flowering, take care of pollination.
- Spray preventatively against diseases and pests. Remove diseased leaves and berries from the bushes.
With a 16-hour daylight, the strawberries bloom 10 days after planting, the berries ripen in 35 days. Fruiting lasts 3-4 weeks. For a continuous conveyor, the berries of the next batch of strawberries should ripen by the time the previous one finishes fruiting. This means that the interval between landings should be 1–1.5 months. Continuity can be achieved by growing varieties with different ripening times.
But at the very beginning of the development of this technology, continuity is not so important as the very ability to get delicious berries in the off-season. Try to grow at least one crop, and then decide for yourself: is it worth starting a business or is it enough to limit yourself to growing strawberries for your personal pleasure and hobby.
Dutch growing technology allows you to harvest continuously, regardless of the time of year or weather conditions. You can master it on several strawberry bushes planted in ordinary flower pots. The main thing is to prepare or buy good planting material and learn how to create and maintain favorable conditions for culture.