Features of growing strawberries in pipes
In order to grow strawberries, it is not necessary to have large tracts of land. Gardeners have come up with various cultivation options using different containers and designs to save territory. An interesting invention is the planting of strawberry bushes in pipes. This method is described in more detail later in the article.
The essence and description of the method
This non-standard solution consists in the construction of structures using various pipes (mainly PVC), which are placed both horizontally and vertically. Various constructions are erected from this material, as far as the creator’s imagination allows. Pipes are filled with soil mixture or cultivation is carried out on hydroponics (water nutrient compounds). Briefly, the essence of the method is as follows:
- Pipes with a diameter of at least 15 cm are taken from any suitable material. It can be not only plastic, but also aluminum or chrome steel.
- They are either cut in half (only in case of horizontal placement), or holes are made in them (about 8 cm in diameter) at a distance of 20-23 cm for planting.
- The placement of the holes depends on the method of fit (horizontal or vertical). In the first case, the holes are made on one side, and in the second - they can be placed in a spiral, in a checkerboard pattern or in some other way.
- Watering is carried out most often with the help of a thin tube, in which small holes are drilled to ensure the flow of water.
- A thin tube for irrigation is placed in the main pipe, which is filled with earth, and strawberry bushes are planted in it.
The hydroponic method is somewhat different from cultivation in the soil substrate:
- represents a pipe or other container filled not with a soil mixture, but with a nutrient solution;
- cups with plants are placed in this liquid;
- for greater stability, the cups are filled with expanded clay;
- To circulate water through the system, an aquarium pump is used, which delivers fluid to all the bushes, washing their root system, and then returns to the main tank.
One vertically located two-meter pipe replaces the landing area of 4 × 6 m.
Did you know? Those who remember school botany well know that strawberries — this is not real, but a false berry (multi-root). And the fruit is actually — it is an overgrown receptacle with small brown seeds on the surface.
Pros and cons of horizontal strawberry cultivation
- Such an original strawberry cultivation has several advantages:
- tangible savings on the site;
- the ability to move the structure to any suitable point;
- placement of structures in various places: on a balcony, in a greenhouse, in a garden or near a flower garden, can also be hung on a fence or in another suitable place;
- lack of contact of berries with soil, which ensures cleanliness and good presentation of products;
- exclusion from weeding, cultivation and weed control;
- automation and convenience of watering and feeding;
- reduction in the possibility of disease damage;
- such plantings not only provide a crop, but also give originality and beauty to the site;
- Harvest facilitation.
- The method has some disadvantages:
- a small volume of the soil mixture dries quickly, therefore, in the absence of an automatic irrigation system, it needs frequent watering;
- a limited amount of soil gradually loses nutrients, for this reason, regular feeding is necessary;
- in winter, the soil can freeze, so pipes with fittings need to be covered or moved to a protected place.
Strawberry Varieties for Growing
In pipes, varieties of different fruiting periods can be grown:
- from early ripe Pomegranate or Beauty Zagorye are well suited;
- with an average harvest period: Zenith, Hope or Pendant;
- later cultures: Cinderella or Zenga Zengana;
- varieties of foreign selection, for example, Cardinal, Bogotá, Troubadour or Gigantella, are also good in such plantings;
- among the early crops with a long fruiting period, the repairing varieties are well suited: Diamond, Albion, Temptation or Moscow delicacy;
- ampelous plants, letting out a long mustache and bearing fruit for almost the entire season, are considered the ideal option, among the best are the varieties Tuscany or Homemade delicacy, as well as hybrids Fresca and Homemade charm;
- for hydroponic cultivation, only fruiting year-round, repairing strawberries are used, professionals advise the Yellow Wonder, Elvira or Queen Elizabeth.
Did you know? Scientists have guessed the genetic code of representatives of the genus Strawberry. As scientists at the University of Florida have found, these plants have 35,000 genes (in humans — only 25,000).
It is necessary to understand in more detail the technology of erecting structures for growing garden strawberries.
The construction of vertical structures from pipes consists in such sequential actions:
- Having determined the height, which is usually about 2 m, the sewer or drainpipe is cut to the desired length.
- The same applies to the irrigation pipe, but its length should be 10-15 cm longer than the length of the main pipe.
- Drill holes (up to 10 cm in diameter) in a wide pipe at a distance of 20–25 cm. The holes can be arranged in 2 rows, staggered or in a spiral. It depends on the desire and imagination of the creator.
- Small holes (Ø 2–3 mm) are drilled in the watering tube with an interval of 7–10 cm, through which irrigation will occur. At 20 cm, the lower part of the hole is not made to prevent waterlogging of the lower landings.
- In order to prevent further cuts in the thin tube, it must be wrapped with non-woven material and fixed well (for example, with wire). The lower part (without holes) is wrapped with electrical tape or tape for greater reliability.
- For the bottom drain, a cap is made with an opening for the irrigation pipe.
Video: construction of vertical structures
Creating a horizontal structure is somewhat different from the previous one:
- The main pipe is closed with plugs on both sides. You can replace the plugs with a strong plastic film, securely fixed with electrical tape or twine.
- Landing slots are made in one or two rows.
- Watering holes are drilled along the entire length of the watering pipe.
- If a pump is not provided for irrigation, then it can be made gravity. To do this, the water tank must be placed above the structure.
- We need to think about how the pipes will connect and fasten.
Video: building horizontal structures
An important point in the creation of landing structures is the correct selection of the soil mixture and proper filling. To backfill, you need drainage, which can be expanded clay or pebbles, as well as a fertile nutrient mixture. You can buy ready-made soil, but it’s cheaper to prepare it yourself from garden soil, peat, humus (3: 1: 1) and add some sand and ash. To destroy the spores of the fungus and the larvae of harmful insects, the soil can be treated with boiling water or applied according to the instructions “Trichodermin”, “Fitosporin” or other preparations of the corresponding action.
Important! To improve air exchange and soil permeability, small wood chips or polystyrene balls are added to the mixture.
- An irrigation pipe is installed in the center of the main pipe.
- The bottom of the pipe is filled with drainage reaching the lower holes of the irrigation pipe. Drainage will not only prevent stagnation of water, but will also give additional stability to the structure.
- Then the pipe is gradually filled with soil mixture. The soil is gradually compacted and periodically spilled with water in order to further prevent its shrinkage.
- Planting seedlings can be carried out both as the soil falls asleep, and after its full filling.
- After carrying out all the above actions, the irrigation system is connected (the irrigation hose is connected to the irrigation tube).
Installing a horizontal building is a bit more complicated than a vertical one:
- Drainage is poured into each hole and evenly distributed with a layer of about 2 cm.
- An irrigation tube is laid over the drainage layer.
- Soil is filled in the slot. As you fall asleep, it should be moistened so that it thickens better.
- The edges of the pipe are closed with plugs with slots for irrigation.
- After the final filling with earth, the pipes are connected by corners or other fasteners and are installed in a constant place. You can create a stable portable structure made of wood or metal, and attach pipes to it.
- Watering is connected.
- Strawberry seedlings are planted.
Extra wind protection
To enhance the strength of the structure from the effects of wind, additional protection is required:
- it can be done with a cable or a strong rope;
- vertical structures can be installed in buckets with pebbles or gravel, which will give not only stability, but also enable movement;
- horizontal pipes can be connected in such a way as to create a stable structure in itself;
- horizontal structures can be hung on a fence or other suitable object.
The culture cultivated in the pipes requires a slightly different care than cultivated in the beds. She does not need weeding and loosening, but she needs abundant irrigation and frequent feeding.
Strawberries in pipes grow in a confined space, so they need more fertilizing than a crop grown in open ground. When applying fertilizers, you should know:
- liquid top dressing is poured into the irrigation system, so the plants receive both water and fertilizers at the same time;
- they are carried out at least 1 time in 10 days;
- ready-made complex fertilizers or organic solutions in the form of chicken droppings or mullein can be used as fertilizers;
- spend several dressings before flowering and during the formation of the ovaries;
- to build green mass before flowering, in addition to chicken droppings (200 g per 10 l) or mullein (300 g per 10 l + 20 g ammonium sulfate), you can use a yeast solution (1 kg per 10 l);
- to increase the number of ovaries, fertilizers of 5 g of boric acid, 30 drops of iodine and 1 tbsp. ash diluted in a bucket of water, as well as a yeast solution or mullein solution.
The substrate in the pipes dries quickly in the sun, so watering should be frequent to maintain constant moisture. There are several ways to water:
- With the help of pumps connected to the storage tank and providing fluid circulation. They can be turned on independently or with the help of a set timer.
- The tank installed above landings will provide gravity irrigation, and if a tap is installed on the nozzle near the tank, the water intake can be regulated.
- Without the provided irrigation system (without irrigation pipe) it is produced manually, but this is inconvenient and impractical.
Despite the many advantages, the method of growing strawberries in pipes has one significant drawback - the freezing of the soil substrate in such structures. This is a threat of freezing strawberry bushes.
Important! Materials such as hay or straw are not suitable for warming, since mice can settle in them.
To prevent this, there are several options:
- When planning the construction of a structure, it is necessary to make it collapsible or portable, so that during cooling it is possible to move it to a place protected from the cold (for example, a barn or a greenhouse);
- if it is impossible to move the structure, a structure resembling a mini-greenhouse can be made above it;
- Another option for wintering on the street is insulation: pipes with a wintering culture can be covered with fir branches and well fixed with wire or rope.
In a greenhouse or shelter, strawberries are less threatened by pests and diseases, but a culture located on a garden plot or garden needs protection:
- so that pests and disease spores do not get on strawberries from the soil, it must be treated before planting;
- from damage by gray and black rot, seedlings in the spring should be sprayed with a 2–4% solution of Bordeaux fluid;
- to prevent damage to verticillosis, phytosporosis or fusariosis, strawberry roots are treated with Agat biological product (7 g per 1 liter of water) before planting, and if the disease has already manifested itself in plantings, it must be used according to the Ridomil or Quadrice instructions;
- “Thunderstorm” or “Meta” preparations radically help in the fight against slugs, but they are effective only when ingested by pests;
- in the fight against weevil and ticks effective "Karbofos" (50 g per 10 l);
- so that the birds do not enjoy the ripened fruits, plantings can be covered with a net or hang around New Year's tinsel;
- planting calendula, dill or lupine planted between the main crop will contribute to the healthy cultivation of garden strawberries.
It must be remembered that treatment with chemical preparations is preferably carried out after harvesting or long before its maturation.
Harvesting and storage
The collection of strawberry products is carried out in the same way as strawberries in the beds, after ripening:
- fruits intended for transportation are harvested a little immature (a third of the fruit is painted in the color appropriate for the variety, and the rest is white);
- ripe fruits are harvested for food or processing (they are sweeter than unripe);
- it is better to collect the product for storage in the morning, after the dew has dried;
- the berries are picked by pinching the stalk, avoiding contact with the berry;
- sorting is carried out directly on the bed, after which the berries are placed in a prepared container.
When storing berries, the following requirements must be observed:
- berries to be stored must not be washed: they are saturated with moisture and will quickly deteriorate;
- a refrigerator may be a suitable place for storage;
- optimal storage temperature - 0 ... + 2 ° С;
- suitable packaging - a container made of plastic or the lower drawer compartment of the refrigerator.
Despite the complexity of the technology for such strawberry cultivation, it is still of interest to many gardeners. The unusualness and appearance of such structures that decorate the site and bring convenience are captivating.