a problem that i cant quite figure out hydroponic strawberrys

dersayliss(5)June 5, 2009

Ok I am growing albino ever berrying strawberries in an flood and drain set up indoors under 400 watt hps.

light is on 18hours 5am-11pm flooding 2times a day at 12noon and 4pm for 15mis a piece.

they have been growing about two weeks in ph corrected water.

week three added 1/4 general hydroponics nutrient to my 15gal reservoir three days or so later the water had started to smell like a fish aquarium and there is white foam on the top of the water.

I flush the system and cleaned with store grade 3% hydrogen peroxide refilled my reservoir with fresh tap water and nutes to a 6.0 over night the ph jumped to about 7.3

so i dropped the ph back down this time dropping it to far about 4.8.

i said to my self i am not going to do anything because the flood is till the next day at noon and i wanted to see what happened because of the weird flux in ph i was having

when i checked the ph before the flood at noon the ph had risen to a perfect 6.0 and after the flood it was the same. now i checked the ph again before the next flood noticing that weird smell associated with white foam along with a jump in ph up too 6.4 by 4 pm then around 6pm i checked my ph once again noticing it was about 6.8 not sure what is going on here...

i have good air at the bottom of the bucket my reservoir & temp is about 58-60*F room temp is 78 during the day and 64* at night

my tap water is about 80ppm and ph is around 9.7

also with 1/4 strength nutrient my ppm is about 390 to start with 5ml of super thrive.

not sure what this is from so question being is it the quality of my tap water?

growing algae in my bucket?


or other problem/disease?

also not i think i burnt the edges of leaves from keeping my light too close to the plant but is it possable that the edges around the leaf turn brown and crispy from not having the system flood enough because i dont think its the nutrient's because the ppm is so low but it also could be due from ph flux some input on this would also be helpful

also you can click on the pictures and go directly to my photo bucket for more pictures if needed

i hope to post pictures really soon here of the water with the foam.

please forgive me im a newbie getting his feet wet... thank you in advance to your responses.

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Foam in the rez is usually bacteria growth. Good be beneficial bacteria or not but the stench is usually associated with bad bacteria. I brew alot of compost tea , worm tea for my organic soil garden and it forms a head just like your rez.

Did the h202 kick it down a notch? If you have a hydro shop close by you can buy SM-90 which will kill EVERYTHING in your rez for at least one week.

You might want to try bubbling your water (airstone with aquarium pump) this keeps the water moving between floods and aerates it. This helps beneficial bacteria from dying out and losing the war against the opposing side.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 6:50AM
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Ok so the weekend has gone by. during this time Ive done a few thing to try to straiten out my problem, i pulled the strawberry plants that did not seem to be doing so well in doing so there was this white fuzz growing on parts of the roots, so i changed my water cleaned every thing with store bought hydrogen peroxide replaced water added 20ml to my 16g res and corrected the pH of the water and let it run with no nutrient Sunday. now the plan for Monday is to go to my hydro store and get Flora Shield run that for the week till next Monday then adding Floralicious Plus to help grow some beneficial bacteria.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:17AM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

I grow strawberries using the "static culture" method in perlite and even then have had numerous problems.

First off, strawberries don't like "wet feet" meaning they need to have a drying period between waterings. The flood-and-drain method is not the best for strawberries unless you can flood them for only a second or two, then drain the water off fast and not flood them again for a day or so.

I'm currently experimenting with an aeroponic setup and while the roots are drenched when the pump is on, it's only for thirty seconds each hour. The time between waterings exposes the roots to fresh air and oxygen.

In your pictures, the plants with brown leaf margins are history; sorry. Unless there is new growth at the tip of the crown, those plants are dying.

As for smells, an "earthy" smell is okay. Fish smell means things are turning into worm food. Also, the grotan pellets you show in the pictures will harbor bacteria. You can sterilize them with a quick pass through a microwave oven (like ten seconds!).

If you want to clean things using hydrogen peroxide, go to the beauty supply store and buy some 30-volume (30%). The drugstore kind is only 3% and won't do diddly.

Bottom line: strawberries are hard to grow. They thrive on a very narrow line between too much and too little moisture.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 11:53AM
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have you tried that aero system yet freemans? I think 30 seconds every hour is not enough. probably more like 30 seconds every 5 minutes would work better. when I was transplanting my tomatoes, their roots were suspended in the air for about 15 minutes and two never recovered from it. granted that was direct exposure to air current but still.
It also seems flood and drain would work well for strawberries because you can dictate how wet their feet get by extending the time between floods.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 7:00AM
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I dug up my soil strawberries last year and gave them to the local hydro shop for transplant. Hated to waste them, but was tired of combating birds and other creatures that found healthy strawberries irresistible. She is still growing them in the shop today in an ebb and flow for display. So they can definitely do well in an ebb and flow. Of course, she has an expert taking care of her plants. I'm guessing I'd find a way to screw 'em up.

If your rez had bad microbes, then they can still be present on or within the roots. Particularly damaged ones. Also, any clay balls that might have been saturated with the water will hold enough microbes to start another population in fresh solution. Bacteria doesn't exactly always die or go away with a flushing. It can go dormant in the absence of water to be revived again when conditions improve. Be sure to thoroughly sterilize that hydroton before replanting with it. Even if you do get the current plants to come back around.

One reason I don't put all my plants in one basket to depend on a single reservoir is because I don't want to lose all my plants over one infected rez or one infected plant's root zone (again). That's why I like the individual 5 gallon bubbler kits hooked up to a single air supply. More maintenance having many single reservoirs, but I've never had a problem controlling things. If I get one infected plant, I lose one plant. Hasn't happened, yet, though.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:10PM
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ok so over the past 5 days things seem to be looking much better the bad smell in the water is gone, but i do still see some algae.
'what I have tried to do, not sure if it fixed things or not'
I added 16oz of flora shield to each res (16 gallons) let it sit for an hour or two then added my normal nutrients in this case would be half strength nutrients. I am using gh nutrient flora micro gro and bloom. This solution has been running since the 8th of this month. checking the the res every day for ph and ppm if ph is above or below my range of 5.5-6.5 then adjust to that range.

on 6-10 had first bud/flower show( 20days from start)
going to leave the few flowers that do bloom to hope for an early strawberry or two.

Ive been trying to keep a photo record of the garden also every couple of days taking a few pictures to see how much things have grown you can take a look at the pictures for the grow here just make sure that your fallowing the date on the pictures.

*trying an experiment to see if i can get my runner to root what i have done is taken a stonewool cube and soaked it in ph corrected nutri then ripped it in have and stuck it around the cube hoping the moist conditions help root the runner for a new plant.. :)*

Here is a link that might be useful: my flood & drain graden pictures

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:56AM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

'have you tried that aero system yet freemans?' No, not yet. I'm stuck on finding the proper latching relay, but I'm on it . . . soon! You're probably right about the watering duration and interval, it'll be a trial and error kind of thing.
You don't have to do any "magic" to get the runners to root. They'll root in the air. Wait for them to do their thing, then stick them into whatever medium you choose.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 11:49AM
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