Evaluation of Soilless Media for Strawberry Production in Vertical and Horizontal Systems under a Nethouse

Teresa P Salame, Bielinski M Santos

Abstract


Florida strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) are commonly grown in sandy soils in open field conditions. Protective structures are used to improve strawberry yield and quality, which has led to a significant increase in this practice in Florida. Prices of structures are high and there is a need to find the appropriate combination of production systems to increase the space use efficiency, which maximizes strawberry yields. Soil fumigants and land preparation are costs that also could be reduced by using soilless strawberry culture. Two preliminary studies were conducted to determine the performance of four different soilless media under two production systems. In one study, a soilless horizontal system (wooden boxes) was set up with different media (pine bark, coconut coir, potting mix, and perlite). In the other study, a vertical (Vertigro®) soilless system was used with the same four media. The results indicated that for the horizontal system, there were no significant differences among treatments for early and total fruit number and weight. In the vertical production system study, there were no significant differences among soilless media for early fruit number and weight, and for total fruit weight. However, the total fruit numbers were the highest in pots filled with either coconut coir, potting mix or perlite.


Keywords


Fragaria ×ananassa, coconut coir, pinebark, perlite, peat moss, net house

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283