Garlands of delicious berries
With the aim of maximizing the use of the usable area of greenhouses, increasing the yield of strawberries and reducing the cost of production, the so-called "vertical culture" has been increasingly used recently.
This method is based on the cultivation of strawberries in various containers placed in a vertical plane, which allows increasing the number of plants per unit area.
If with a normal strawberry culture 8-10 plants are planted per 1 m², then with a vertical one - 60-100. As a result, in the first case, the berry yield is 1-2 kg / m², in the second - up to 10 kg or more.
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In addition, the vertical culture method has a number of other advantages:
- you can use areas with less fertile soils; with a high standing of groundwater, waterlogged, along fences, walls, etc.
- convenience for harvesting is created, since the bulk of the plants is located at a certain height;
- it becomes possible to obtain an off-season crop using protected soil.
Special vertical structures for containers should be durable, easy to move, reusable and relatively lightweight (up to 10-15 kg with the substrate).
On vertical structures, various containers are arranged in tiers, which are used as boxes, columns, pots, cylinders made of metal mesh with cells, etc.
Various types of containers and vertical devices can be subdivided into wall-mounted, conical (conical), pyramidal, and columnar.
For any type of container, it must be borne in mind that their capacity should be at least 1500 cm³ to ensure good development of the root system of each plant.
The vertical cassette, which has 10 tiers of containers, is convenient for use when growing strawberries (you can make a cassette of 5 tiers of containers, while the racks are not screwed together in height). It consists of cells, containers, braces for holding posts, pegs, supports, an irrigation hose, a hose for supplying water to plants.
Strawberry vertical cassette
The containers with the planted plants (8 pcs. In each) are installed on the assembled cassette frame. Water is supplied to the plants with rubber hoses with a diameter of 0.6 cm and a length of 60 cm. The hoses are put on one end of the pipes welded on the racks, and from the opposite end they are muffled. In each hose opposite the plants in containers, holes with a diameter of 0.5 mm are made with an awl. The cassette is reinforced with braces to the pegs.
The mounted cassette will have the following dimensions: the distance between the posts and the width of the stand - 70 cm, the distance between the pegs - 1.0-1.2 m, the height of the five-tier cassette - 1.1 m, the ten-tier one - 2 m. cultivation accommodates 80 plants, with ten-tier - 160.
It is desirable to have two vertical cassettes on the site, since plants in containers are used for two years, while one cassette should be with plants of the first year of fruiting, the other - of the second, and the total berry yield is 10-15 kg. Containers in all types of vertical devices are filled with the same substrate as in greenhouses.
After two years of fruiting, the containers are removed from the frames, freed from the fertile plants, shaking out the substrate along with the plants, and a freshly prepared mixture (1/2 volume) is added to it.
The vacated containers are again filled with a substrate, well moistened and new seedlings are planted in them. After planting, the plants are watered, and in hot sunny weather they shade for the first 3-5 days.
Strawberry vertical cassette
Subsequently, caring for plants in containers consists of periodic watering, feeding, removing whiskers and weeding. It is better to water the plants with warm water with a temperature of at least 15-18 ° C in the usual way (hoses, watering cans) or using a piping system with dosed irrigation. Top dressing is carried out as needed, usually after 10-15 days, combining them with watering. A good result is also obtained by foliar dressing - spraying the plants with a solution of macro- and micronutrient fertilizers. They systematically carry out measures to combat pests and diseases of strawberries.
In film greenhouses without emergency heating, strawberry plants in containers without special protection can freeze out in winter. To avoid this, before freezing, containers are removed from vertical structures, installed on the ground and covered with insulating material - peat, sawdust, spruce branches, fallen leaves, and later - with snow in such a way that the temperature under the shelters does not fall below -6 … -8 ° С …
With increasing frost, the layer of insulation is increased. For better preservation of plants, containers are removed to basements or storage facilities. The next year, in the spring, they are returned to their permanent place and during the summer they take care of fruiting strawberries. As the berries ripen, harvesting begins, and its quality on vertical structures is high, the convenience of harvesting is undeniable.
With the vertical method of growing strawberries in greenhouses, multi-tiered pyramids are widely used, the design of which is the simplest.
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Strawberry multi-tiered cassettes
This can be seen in the figure, which shows a diagram of a multi-tiered pyramid with the front and rear walls of the tanks removed for clarity. The device consists of a cone-shaped supporting pyramid (height 155 cm, width of the base 80 cm) and containers arranged in tiers on it. The height of each container is 20 cm, the width of the lower container is 100 cm, the width of each subsequent container is reduced by 8-10 cm, as a result of which a cone is formed, allowing the upper and lower plants to be placed under the same lighting conditions.
The containers on the pyramid are held due to its taper and additional supports, which are made of 3x3 cm strips. The pyramid and containers are made of boards: for a pyramid with a thickness of 25-30 mm, for containers - 10 mm. A substrate of soil, rotted manure and sand in a ratio of 3: 1: 1 is placed in the cavity between the wall of the container and the wall of the supporting pyramid.
Planting seedlings begins from the lower tier, planting it in the planting gaps between adjacent tiers. Up to 60 plants are placed on the pyramid. After planting, watered by hand using hoses or sprinkling. The service life of the wooden pyramid is 3-4 years, the total yield of plants on the pyramid is 8-12 kg of berries, which is 3-4 kg from 1m² of useful greenhouse.
The most common way to grow strawberries vertically in greenhouses is to plant the plants in plastic bags with one end sealed. The height of the bags is 200-220 cm, the diameter is 16 cm. They are filled with a substrate of perlite and peat (3: 1), and then they are attached with wire to the supports and the ceiling of the greenhouse, giving the bags a vertical position. The average weight of a bag with a wetted substrate is 30 kg. They are placed in rows directed from north to south in a pattern of 70 cm in a row and 1.5 m between rows (approximately 1 bag per 1 m² of usable greenhouse area).
Strawberry multi-tiered cassette
For planting seedlings in bags filled with substrate, four rows of longitudinal holes (slots) 7-8 cm long are made in a checkerboard pattern with a distance of 22-25 cm between them. Seedlings are planted in a planting slot perpendicular to the vertical surface of the bag. For the convenience of planting, the roots of the plants are shortened to 6-7 cm. In the slit, the substrate is carefully pushed apart, placing the roots there, making sure that they do not bend, and compact the substrate.
24-28 plants are planted in one bag (6-7 in each row), while taking into account that the distance from the lower bush to the bottom of the bag is at least 25-30 cm.This dense placement of plants provides a high yield of up to 6 kg / m² of usable greenhouse area. However, with this arrangement, there is a significant difference in the illumination of plants and their productivity in the upper and lower parts of the bag. Experiments have established that up to 80% of the crop is formed on 12-14 upper bushes and only 20-25% - on the lower ones.
In this regard, it is more expedient to use shortened bags 180 cm long and place 16-20 plants on them, which develop in the same way, which is also ensured due to the uniform distribution of the nutrient solution along the height of the bag.
The solution is fed through tubes at three points equidistant from one another along the height of the bag. The tubes are connected with an upper cone to a polyethylene hose located above the bags. The hoses, in turn, are connected to pipelines, also made of black plastic sheeting, and placed along the greenhouse, at ground level. A plug is placed on one end, the other is connected to a pump used for hydroponic feeding. The nutrient solution is served once a day in the morning. Good results are obtained by a flow-through mode of feeding, in which excess nutrient solution in the form of a droplet liquid is released through the holes made at the base of the bag.
Strawberry tiered pyramid
The volume of the nutrient solution depends on the phase of plant development: at the beginning of the growing season and during the period of peduncle extension, 0.5 liters per day per bag is enough, during the flowering and ovary growth phase - 1.0-1.5 liters, during the fruiting period - 3- 4 l.
Strawberry plants reach their fullest development by the beginning of fruiting when planting seedlings in bags no later than August. A later planting reduces the productivity of plants by three times or more. For vertical cultivation, the same varieties are used as on the ridges and shelves.
In plastic bags, plants are left for only one fruiting season. After fruiting, the bushes are removed, and the bags with the substrate are used for another year. Since the substrate is suitable for use for 4-5 years, after two seasons, the soil is removed from the old bags, removing large plant residues from it, and new bags are filled with it.
In film greenhouses with emergency heating, with the onset of the first frosts, the air temperature is maintained in the range from 5 … 10 ° C to -1 … -3 ° C, a temperature drop below -3 … -5 ° C is dangerous for plants, therefore, when a critical minimum is reached, they turn on heating. With the beginning of the growing season of plants in greenhouses (end of February - March), the minimum temperature limit should be higher: a short-term decrease in temperature is allowed up to 3 … 5 ° С, but it is better to maintain the temperature in the greenhouse not lower than 6 … 8 ° С, especially during the period of peduncle extension and the beginning of flowering.
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