I started strawberries in my deep water cult. Channel and it's been 4 weeks and I've seen nothing but die back, some secondary shoots came up but they don't look so good. Any ideas?
Did you start off weak, nutrient solution EC about 0.7 to 1.0 mS/cm ?
strawberries dont like to be waterlogged, make sure the solution isnt set too high.
I don't have an ec meter, but my ph is around 5.5. I will try to drain some solution and see what the result is.
I use DNF Hydro-Organic-Based nutrient (8-2-3). Followed directions and used 3-4ml per liter of water. My grow lights are on a timer that deliver light for 14 hours a day and are within 10 inches from the tops of the plants.
Use 1 mL if you have nothing else for now but get bloom asap and then add 1 mL of it too, to complete the weak grow solution, until:
NO chlorinated water, but not only RO or DI either.
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 13:01
3-2-5 is a good ratio for strawberries, i`ve always found plants in dwc do better with lower ec`s than normal so it`s best to err on the side of caution with the nute strength.
Ok I will drain my system and use 1ml of the DNF solution per litre of water. And just I'm on the same page I should buy a blooming solution, mix as recommended by instructions and then add 1ml of my DNF per litre to complete the blend?
Also what does " RO and DI" mean?
reverse osmosis or distilled water, softwater with a very low ppm is the next best thing
I'm assuming you don't want to throw away those good expensive organic nutrients you bought, or I would have made a different recommendation. You need to do something ASAP, as your plants are hurt and subject to infection now, and unlikely to live this way. I would do the following immediately if trying to bring them back:
Buy the counterpart DNF organic 2-8-8 Bloom which is the companion fertilizer to your organic Gro, which is a good bet your supplier has.
Do you live in Ellan Vannin :-) ?
If so, you are fortunate to have a super municipal tap water for hydroponic use. The EC will be only around 0.15 mS/cm, and perfect, and act as a source of calcium. They must get your water mostly from rainfall. Only problem is it has about 0.5 ppm active chlorine, of the short lived type. This great compared to what I deal with, but you still must get a tub of it and cover it in plastic and leave it outside in Sun at least a day (3 days is better) to be treated by Solar UV; a cloudly day is OK, but not too dark one. Straight still chlorinated tap will likely be putting these plants over the edge, and you didn't mention how you've been adding water, so I mention it. The chlorinated tap may degrade your organic nutrients, too, so leave any water out to dechlorinate that you use.
Nutrient wise, you want 1 mL per liter of 8-2-3 plus 1 mL of 2-8-8 of that pair, in each liter, again assuming that is what you can buy at from your supplier.
This will result in higher phosphorus formula on paper, but it should be a healthy formula for growing strawberries. Additionally, after what your roots have been through, the organic phosphorus will help the roots recover, and being organic, there are a lot of beneficial bacteria with hungry mouths that need to develop in your reservoir, and they will remove excess phosphorus and flourish.
On short notice this is probably the best way to go. But don't forget to dechlorinate, because not only will the chlorine hurt the struggling plants, but it will also kill a lot of the beneficial bacteria and probably fungi microorganism that make the organic fertilizer work right. IMO this is an Rx that has a good chance of working and is decent for strawberries. If you find yourself in a situation of mixing up the initial new nutrient with both parts of DNF organic in hand, just do 0.67 mL per liter of the Gro (plus the 1 mL of the DNF org bloom) while they are in the struggling or small stages. But if you only have the Gro (no DNF org bloom on hand), then start off anew with the 1 mL Gro, and then add the 1 mL of bloom into the working solution as soon as possible to round out the fertilizer, without having to drain out anything. The 1 mL + 1 mL after the plants are healthy ought to be fine too.
EDIT: Don't be afraid to ask if anything isn't clear (everything above is per liter). If you can switch pH down it looks like you are using phosphoric acid. You're municipal water is rather alkaline, so a better regimen is to adjust with sulphuric acid pH down. Strawberries are especially finicky. Oh, and for now bump up the pH to 6.5, it's better to start and will require less pH down. Long term you want at least 2 L of solution per strawberry plant. I initially used 2.8 L/plant but grey squirrels have made a lot of empty net pots since mine are outside. It must be nice to live on an island with no squirrels at all ;-)
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Sun, Apr 6, 14 at 18:35
The combination of 1 mL per liter of 8-2-3 plus 1 mL of 2-8-8 may be a bit light on potassium (50% ). You could make up the shortfall with potassium sulphate (aka sulfate of potash), its typically 0-0-45 so be careful not to go overboard with it.
hex's comment had me think to add this post. One thing is trying to save the plants, but another is keeping things simple. For example, I'm not able to predict whether pH up would take care of a hypothetical potassium deficiency I can't predict, as this is going to depend on the bacteria's action on the N in the formula, and how much pH up you need to add, which in turn depend on other factors.
The DNF organic fertilizer could be a nerve racking fertilizer, and these are rare to be discussing in the forum since most use straight mineral based fertilizers here. It is very high quality, but unpredictable and highly ammoniated so you can get random results depending on the microflora living in it and how they are doing. You can definitely try to save the plants with it as we discussed and for that, it's not crucial.
Strawberries are much less forgiving than things like lettuce, so it wouldn't have been a recommendation. I wouldn’t mind having it to perk up potted greens like basil, though!
If you end up having to buy extra ingredients, perhaps now is the time to switch tracks to a fertilizer more predictable, instead of get more invested in an “organic hydroponic” project. Usually when people buy 'organic' fertilizers, more is going on than just growing plants, which I respect. But looking over the posts, I'm not sure I should have assumed is how you feel.
For example, if limited to the DNF product line and you did switch gears, the basic DNF two part bloom formula is far more dependable 3-0-3 and 1-0.5-3. DNF calls them bloom A and bloom B and you do need both; they are pure mineral based fertilizers. For strawberries they would be around 2.5 mL of A and 3 mL of B per liter (total 5.5 mL, eyeballing it) plus their bloom enhancer (laughable that you need the bloom enhancer for a gazumping bloom formula)
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 3:09
I thought about suggesting potassium hydroxide (KOH) to provide the extra potassium but the ph would have to be pretty low to accomodate enough to make up the difference. With potassium sulphate you can literally just show the packet to the res and it gains 100ppm of K, you really dont need much ;)
I'd take a wait and see attitude and focus on aerating the reservoir well, getting a slight breeze over the leaves and maintaining a pH of 6.5.
I'd give the organic product formulas a chance first; I'd bet gro is acting like 5.6 N or lower in the NPK, not 8%, which makes a difference regarding potassium. The 50/50 at least allows them to try to save the plants with what they have on hand immediately, start to use up what they already bought, but it may turn out after observing the results that just switching to 2-3 mL of all bloom works best if they stay with this organic product line.
First of all I want to thank you all for the help. I have made some changes in my system, firstly I drained my previous solution completely and remixed with filtered water from my brita. I'm in Canada and it's winter so we have snow not rain to collect. Also Installed an 8 inch airstone for the the 4 foot channel and lowered the solution level down so it just barley touches the bottom of the mesh pots. I used 1mL of the DNF organic (8-2-3) per litre of filtered water. I DO have the DNF A and B fertilizers but don't know how to mix them. Any insight woul be great. Also I lost two of the 4 runners, the other 2 still don't look so hot so I bought two potted plants from my local nursery that were grown in peat, bare rooted them and added them to my system. It's been 3 days and the outer shoots have wilted but the younger centre shoots seem to be ok for now. Should I make anymore adjustments?
These are the new purchased strawberries that I bare rooted.
These are larger plants and they are already flowering, so the gro 8-2-3 won't support them like it would starter roots plugs or runners and increasing it will cause problems. I confirmed from DNF directly that although the hydro-organic gro and bloom formulas are meant to be all-in-one products, there is no incompatibility between them, so they can be mixed and while the company doesn't have an official recommendation the guy I discussed it with was enthused about it for this. As to the exact mix ratio, for mature plants, after the exchange with them, and adding my own 2 cents from actually making my own fertilizer, the hydro organic nutes suggested would be: small vegetative plants and roots: 1 mL gro, 0.67 mL bloom; medium plants 1 mL gro 1 mL bloom; fruiting plants 1 mL gro 2 mL bloom.
You say you have A and B of DNF also apparently in regular inorganic form, but you don't list which product, and there is more than one. Above I mentioned what to do with the bloom A and B (3-0-3 and 1-0.5-3) inorganic product which would be great for this, and better. However if you have another "grow" formula, it is going to be marginally better and not support fruiting, and at most would be half the regular strength.
The water info I gave abouve was for the Isle of Man, from your "My Page", but since you are in Canada, the situation may be quite different. Brita carbon filters reduce but don't remove chlorine, so letting the water sit a day may still help a lot.
kudos on increasing aeration and reducing chlorine!
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 13:11
The DNF A and B have not NPK listed they are as shown. They came with no instructions. What should I do?
Either yell at whoever sold it to you for not giving any info, or believe a little speculation. Here's the speculation: The fruits are green, not red, so it may be the generic gro product I googled which has the following NPK:
If it's Gro, inorganic, you can mix them and hope the micronutes work out since I see no analyses for these. But something like 3 to 3.5 mL of A and 2.5 to 3.5 mL of B if what you would do with Gro A/B. (begin low end, plants get moving, high end) Or, just add 2.5 mL of B to your organic reservoir that already has 1 mL of 8-2-3 hydro-gro in it for now and then we can watch whether the plants need more nitrogen, or possibly better, switch to the Gro A + Gro B formula if the results aren't great, on the next change, but don't add a probably unnecessary change and more work now. Anyway, let's get feedback from the formula by looking at the plants' progress to set the final 'best bet' that works for the strawberries in your rig.
CAUTION: I have no clue if it is Gro A/B that you have imaged for us, but it's a good bet, if you're a betting person ;)
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 18:36
Ok, so it turns out I am a gambling man and I followed your instructions in incorporating an additional 2.5mL of the DNF B nutrient into my existing organic hydro solution. This worked out to 10mL of the B nutrient for my 4L of water. We shall see what happens. Also I corrected the pH to approximately 6.5. I don't have a digital reader so I match colors best I can. We will see what happens and I'll keep ou posted. Again I appreciate the info. I went to college for horticulture but this hydroponic thing is all new to me. Please feel free send anymore thoughts and ideas.
I'm not going to tell you to pinch off the flowers because you probably are attached to them, but it's what I'd do since the plants are recovering from transplant on a weak solution and can better utilize their energy snapping back. Under stress strawberries tend to divert all their resources to flower and fruit since the plant 'thinks' it might not be around much longer and works on the imperitive to at least get some seeds out there.
Here's an example I imaged for you this morning. This plant was yanked out by a squirrel and it was very vigorous and green. It probably won't become productive again and likely will die anyway. I did not remove the berries and the plant quickly diverted all of its energy into the ripening of the smaller than hydroton embryo sized berries and utilized the nutrients in its larger leaves to do keep the berries on track, you can see how the only larger leaves left are yellowed and succumbed to leaf blight due to the plant writing them off. The leaves in the center are new growth but the plant is still diverting its energy to keep the berries growing. The two strawberry fruits behind are from another plant and will get five times bigger until the squirrel beats me to them and eats them:
Anyway here's a transition plan since you are a betting, trusting man: Four liters is a small reserve, but effectively there are only two plants so you should be ok. I liked your organic experiment and was looking forward to the results of the high ammonium organic fertilizer since I wouldn't risk that on my plants, but you were stuck with no choice, and the product really does look like something I'd like to learn more about and try sometime.
But now you have what we are guessing is a normal inorganic growing formula. I would prefer you made changes less frequently, but we have the small reservoir to contend with. If the plants progress reasonably, at day eight after the hydro-grow 1 mL was prepared, make these additions to the existing reservoir: 1 mL/L of part A and 1 mL/L of part B of the new A/B mystery formula. Leave it until day 14 after the old gro hydro-organic prep; if it's all reasonable and then do a change with dechlorinated water and do 3 mL/L each of A&B.
The next changes after that perhaps twice a month or maybe even every three weeks if you get lazy, 3.5 mL/L each of A&B (total 7mL/L), which ought to give an EC of about 1.2 mS/cm plus whatever your water is, which hopefully is low and won't put you much above 1.5 for the solution, but that's something you can call your water company to get a good idea about. If they don't have an EC, at least you can ask for ppms of the elements Ca and Mg.
Ok so it's been a couple weeks now and I haven't seen any real improvement in my plants growth or health. I have since talked to my supplier about the A and B DNF nutrients that came with my kit and it it is recommended that I use 5mL of each per 1 litre of water. Mind you I didn't mention I was growin strawberries. Since I am new to hydroponics my initial thoughts at the beginning of my hydro project was I can grow multi species in the same 4 foot channel. Now I see that each fruiting plant has different requirements for nutrients. Strawberries are an after thought to my growing hot peppers. I have 3 Trinidad Scorpion Moruga seedlings that have germinated in rockwool and now have there first true leaves. Could I grow them in the same solution as my strawberries? My priority is the peppers so if I have to change my solution I will. What would you recommend I do?
These are strawberries 2 weeks after I added the B nutrient solution as you recommended. I have had to clip and remove dead ad dying foliage so they are much thinner than when I started. As you can the leaves are developing die back along the margins. Also the roots are no longer a healthy white but brown.
Also I am curious as to my 8 inch air stone in a 4 foot channel. Is this sufficient for the net pots that are NOT located directly over the airstone?
If I understand correctly, you are at the 14th day still running off the hydro-organic gro formula supplemented with 2.5 mL of the semi-mystery "B" solution. I see plants that have healthy leaves on top but are running on a weak nutrient solution, and that you're no longer talking about the initial stumpy plants and saving them too.
On the bottom of the new plant I see a leaf that suffers from leaf blight which came from the nursery where it may hay been touching damp places or hydroton below in the present set-up.
I don't see the burnt out foliage of sad plants I saw before in the new plants, so I see something infinitely better than before, but still unsatifactory. The roots suggest the oxygenation is not sufficient, but unless that are slimy, it isn't the kiss of doom, but rather something that is hard to avoid with DWC strawberries.
If that's what you've got with 14 days later, it would meet my expectation (which was not too optimistic) for the organic stuff and much of the weakness I attribute to the hydro-organic fertilizer. We tried to keep it simple and just keep the plants going which they are, both new and old sick ones. If you read above you'll see it is past time for the next reservoir change, and dechlorinated water is in order with 3.5 mL each of A and B and it's time to retire the organic fertilizer for good on these. I'm pretty optimistic you'll do well. You could run your strawberries on a higher nutrient, but my results are optimized at the 3.5 rates. Let's see if the plants perk up with the new change at normal 3.5/3.5 strength. There are always compromises in hydroponics with organic fertilizers and that is why they are not popular in hydro. You tried it and see them in person. Now its time to give the regular nutes a chance to do their thing!
FWIW, the whitest roots in my reservoirs are only the ones directly above the high flow micro bubbling airstones so I tend to agree with your suspicion. That said, some plants that have somewhat brown roots off to the side are still very productive, but a lesser amount of bubbles does make it to them.
Those are my thoughts and what has worked best for me (not 5 mL/5mL concentrations) and what I would do, and to act quickly since the nitrogen is by now exhausted and you have hungry plants. It's great you are sticking with it and keep in mind strawberries are hard plants for most people - you didn't start off with lettuce! Please keep us updated, I have a good feeling the new change will give satisfactory results. There was a high ammonium and organic content in the old fertilizer which can contribute to the browning of the roots. You now have the opportunity to remove that variable and watch. I'm sad to see the organic fertilizer go, but it was what you had. I have to admit after this I'd conclude that DNF hydro-organic is a *poor* choice for strawberries and I wouldn't waste time mixing the hydro-org bloom until I had the easier inorganic one mastered.
This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 21:25
So of the two larger purchased strawberry plants one of them is dead. The roots are brown and slimy and the foliage has withered away. On the bright side my other one is doing very well in our hydro-organic/ B nutrient mixture and the roots are finally growing and are a nice healthy white also the once saggy stems have hardened off and are standing up on their own! Today Iam changing the solution with rain water I collected and 3.5mL of both A&B nutrients. So I'll update you in a week or so with results. Again thanks for the help. Also have you any thoughts about my hot peppers (trinidad Scorpion Moruga) being grown in the same 4 foot channel and solution?
New white roots on the remaining strawberry!
These are my Hot Peppers. Trinidad Scorpion Moruga.
On the bright side of things, if one plant has stuck it out you know the fertilization scheme can work.
As for the peppers, I defer to other people's expertise but can offer my impression:
I would never plant peppers and strawberries together in a concentrated indoor place. Verticillium wilt may have taken out the good plant you had, and peppers will catalyze Verticillium everywhere in the relatively stagnant DWC. Being indoors with less circulation makes it worse.
For nutrient strength, pepper seedlings would do well fungus discounted, at the strawberry strength you have. But when they get bigger, you have a very small reservoir and the pepper plants are going to hog up the nutrients from the strawberries and probably especially grab the calcium first. Since the res is so small you will magnify this effect. Mature peppers will do better with the 5mL/5mL split and although I personally would not bother with strawberries at that EC, though the strength alone won't kill anything. It is just in my experience with strawberries, the higher EC led to crappy production, and I studied that under my outdoor DWC conditions in detail, now that I still have health strawberry plants going and producing (for the squirrels in the first part of April).
People grow all kinds of things together just to have different plants. I personally find strawberries when they don't produce well a real time-sink and frustrating between disease susceptibilities, birds, squirrels, mold, blight, and nutritional pampering. I would not be interested in growing them in a pepper system because it would be more fun to get the peppers going without dealing with the poor production and disease, and plain work. That's my opinion based on starts begun around August 1 of last year and still strong.
I don't have the pepper growing experience nor reading about it to say whether the peppers would do satisfactory enough at the 3.5/3.5 EC level, but I suspect they would, and just require frequent nutrient addition when in production.
That all said, I'd be most concerned about your migration to rainwater - that beautiful elixir of nature your plants are on now. I love rainwater, but it is devoid of some nutrients we were depending on the water for - Ca and Mg. I doubt DNF has enough Calcium in it to use with rain. If you can't make good de-chlorinated water from your tap (simply by airing it in Sunlight for 2-3 days), your strawberries will begin to get deficient after a week or two - and more susceptible to mold for the double whammy. A typical cal-mag supplement is not any good since it'll likely be heavy handed with nitrogen (which the peppers wouldn't mind).
You'd want to add Epsom salt from your grocer (Mg:cheap) and acidified calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate, (Ca)basically "softly hardening" your rainwater.
If you get into a bind with no time for putting it outside a few days, and just need a gallon of water next time, just use the chlorinated tap and boil it vigorously for 5 - 10 minutes, or you could also get a gallon (3.79 L) jug of drinking/mineral water that hasn't been purified/distilled/put through reverse osmosis at the local Walmart type store - here it's $0.79 not taxed. The drawback about buying the water in a bind is the composition can vary and make reproducing conditions complicated. Anyway, hope that helps. Before you go ahead anyway with the peppers, reflect on how the wilting/blight on your first two plants made you feel and ask yourself if it would be possible to have two systems not to lose some control over this. If not, it really is your call, and how much fulfillment you get from growing two plant species perhaps neither optimally, vs. full control over both. There are other combinations that work better for peppers.
If I just started with peppers I'd be thinking basil, tomatoes and oregano. But that's me.
You have every reason to be proud about the new rooting and the healthy leaves on the good strawberry plant. I'd consider that itself a success considering how other people have bad luck with strawberries and the good leaves look good, so kudos for that -you have a blue thumb!
Even though we made it through with the organic gro, eliminate it as at this point we don't want to put those nice nascent roots at risk.
Hey, been awhile since I last posted. Any ways i have been changing the solution (at 3.5/3.5 per Litre) every week and a half or so and have had very good results! My root system is huge on my remaining strawberry and veg growth has been great! Unfortunatley I neglected my solution change for a little longer because I've been busy at work and I noticed that the leaves began to curl downwards starting from the bottom leaves up. Just slightly anyways. I changed my solution yesterday and got the ph down to about 6. Today I noticed the leaf curl has gotten worse as well as a spike in my ph, it reached upwards of 7, so I brought it it back down to 6 or so. Any ideas on what he curl could be caused by? Also I bought a TDS meter it it's read 720ppm. Any thoughts? Can this be nutrient lock out and can it be corrected?
I suggest to add a biofilter to your DWC system to encourage the colonization of the beneficial microorganisms this way a degradation of organic matters will have a chance to occur. Any organic hydroponics system should have a sort of a biofilter to be successfully.It takes at least two weeks to establish a good colonization to be effective.
Leaves are still curling down. I haven't added a biofilter.
This is it