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New NFT setup

Posted by home_grower SoCal Z9 S18 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 4:11

I have been growing strawberries the last few years in the ground but about half of the berries were getting eaten by bugs before they were ripe enough to pick. Last year I tried in long pots on the ground and they did better, but not as well as I would have liked. I only had a few plants so I didn�t get much production anyway.
About six months ago my wife and I were visiting some friends in Switzerland and the strawberries there tasted so much better than what we get here. I asked around online and it seems like the Mara Des Bios variety was what we were eating. I ordered some seeds but was informed that they would be hard to grow.
Now about a month ago someone just had to post a picture of hydroponically grown strawberries that looked so good I had to keep searching online and see what it would take to make one of my own. There are so many different systems that have been built. I looked here as well as a lot of YouTube videos and kinda came up with what I think will work well for me.
It is using 4" PVC with 3" cups. I have 24 of the Mara Des Bios and 24 White Pine berry bare roots I bought online. I still have 18 holes to fill with herbs and lettuce.
Anyway, I got it up and running last night and got all the bare roots in place. I checked each one later to make sure the roots were getting water.
I will likely change the reservoir to a 55 gallon drum later it was just dark so I put a tote in its place. I plan on adding Maxigrow until they get big then switching to Maxibloom.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New NFT setup

That is very nicely built. I like the white paint on the lumber. What size of a pump are you using? Have you run the system yet to see if the pump heats the reservoir water at all? I have had that problem with larger pumps.

With your herbs and lettuce, you can easily fit an ultra-dwarf tomato plant or two if you want, like Tiny Tim or Bitonto. They don't get much bigger than a strawberry plant at maturity.


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RE: New NFT setup

I am using a 256GPH pump and it seems to be doing good so far. I have a 1200GPH pump but I thought it would be overkill so I didn't use it. The water is very cold so I don't think the pump will heat it up. I am more worried about the 100* plus summer in the future.
I noticed when I got home that I lost a couple gallons of water due to dripping on the joints even though I used PVC glue on all but one joint so I could take it apart. I will silicone the ends this weekend to stop it.
I stopped on my way home from work and got a few herbs. After washing out the dirt and splitting them up I almost filled the empty holes. I do have four more to fill. I did not use the lettice since I could see that the roots would be too small to reach the water flow.
I will still grow peppers and tomatoes in pots. I just want to try and grow strawberries that would otherwise be hard to grow in the ground.


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RE: New NFT setup

What a great set up , using the gravity run off I saw something like this a few years ago but not as good as yours congratulations well done..


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RE: New NFT setup

I am seeing signs of life. The bare roots were pretty brown and looking almost dead a week ago but now four of the 48 are showing signs of life. Hopefully more will wake up in the next week or two. The 3" pots I bought, split and added are all doing great so far.


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RE: New NFT setup

It's been 20 days since the last update. The stuff up front is from 3" pots and little six packs of salad from the store. Pretty much everything is growing fast and looks good.

As for the bare root strawberries. 10 of the 48 are growing well. I'm not sure how the rest of them will do. Here are a few of them.


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RE: New NFT setup

First PRETTY SYSTEM. About the strawberry bare roots. Did you just put them into the net pots? Nothing Special? How long until you saw life? Also i buried my reservoir (55 Gallon Drum) to keep it out of the 100' Texas Heat. Seemed to help last year. However we had some hard rains and it rose out of its hole a couple times. I strapped it down but i need to get some drive in stakes you use on Trailer Houses to make sure it doesn't pop out again.


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RE: New NFT setup

I received the bare roots earlier than expected so I kept them in the refrigerator for about a week while I built the NFT system. When it was done I cut a hole in the bottom of each of the 3” net pots around 1” so I could pull the roots out enough to reach the water flow. I used small lava rock to stabilize the plants. I did make sure that every one did reach the water flow.

After about a week a couple of the strawberry plants started to show signs of life. Each day I would see another one wake up. I haven’t seen any of the others do it so I’m not sure if it was the delay before moving them to the hydro setup or just bad luck. I will keep them there just to see if I get any late bloomers.

If they don’t do anything soon I will replace them with other plants. The ones I placed from pre-grown pots have done very well. I started this to grow rare strawberries and the ones that are growing show great promise.


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RE: New NFT setup

For the reservoir I planned on using a 55 gallon drum. You can see it in the second pic of the first post but to get it running faster I ended up with a 20 gallon tote. To get better water flow I moved it to the outside of the system and raised it up about 18”.

I also siliconed all the leaks I had and I am no longer having to top off the water every couple of days.

I think I will eventually switch out the tote to the 55 gallon drum just to have a larger capacity reservoir for when I am away for a vacation.


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RE: New NFT setup

Is there any worry of being oxygen or nutrient depleted as the solution runs down the gradient as they're all connected?


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RE: New NFT setup

It seems to be doing great so far. The pump has a venturi valve to bring oxygen into the output. The nutrient goes thru the system and into the reservoir many times a day so I think it will be fine.


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