Research Report PERLITE

Perlite in Hydroponics
PLANT GUIDE
The Schundler Company
150 Whitman Avenue
Edison, NJ 08817

732-287-2244 www.schundler.com


HYDROPONIC CULTURE OF STRAWBERRIES IN PERLITE

by
D.K. Linardakis and B.I. Manios
Institute of Vine, Horticulture & Floriculture
Heraklion, Crete


Strawberry Plants
The vertical growing of strawberries hydroponically in perlite enables the grower to make maximum use of his greenhouse and to take advantage of the controlled atmosphere for an extended growing period.
At the Katsambas farm of the Institute of Vine, Horticulture & Floriculture, a series of experiments were undertaken to determine the performance of horticultural perlite as a substrate in the hydroponic growing of strawberries. The experiments were conducted in a wood framed polyethylene covered glass house with no heating.

A vertical growing system was employed and four varieties of strawberries were tested. These were: Brighton, Douglas, Tioga and Tuft.

The System

The vertical system employed consisted of square containers of expanded polyethylene having a volume of .1 cuft (3.3 liters) each. Containers were stacked on top of each other diagonally so as to form a column. A plastic pipe of 1/2 in (12 mm) diameter was passed through the containers to secure the columns and the columns were suspended from horizontal wires from the glass house roof. Each column was composed of six containers and four planting pockets were created at the corner of each container. An entire column thus contained 24 plants.

Nutrient/Water Supply

A drip irrigation system was employed to provide nutrient and water. Drip tubes were inserted in the 1st, 3rd and 5th container from the top of each column. Nutrient was collected at the base of each column and recycled. Solution was provided to each column 2-4 times per day depending on weather. Concentrations of the elements in the nutrient solution are shown in the following table.


N - 80 ppm
P - 45 ppm
K - 100 ppm
Ca - 200 ppm
Mg - 50 ppm
B - 0.5 ppm
Mn - 0.5 ppm
Zn - 0.5 ppm
Cu - 0.05 ppm
Mo - 0.05 ppm
Fe - 3 ppm

Brighton Has Highest Yields

Production of strawberries continued for a period of 5 months. Earliest commercial production was from the Brighton variety. Greatest yield was from Brighton as well, followed by Douglas, Tuft and Tioga. Yields for each of the varieties is summarized in the following table.


PRODUCTION OF STRAWBERRIES HYDROPONICALLY GROWN IN HORTICULTURAL PERLITE SUBSTATE
Variety
Production per Plant
Production per Acre (4000 m2)
Pounds
Grams
Kilograms
Pounds
Brighton
Douglas
Tuft
Tioga
.7
.6
.4
.4
306
240
194
177
36,720
28,800
23,280
21,240
80,784
63,360
51,216
46,728

Photos

Strawberry Plants in Perlite Substrate
For more information about these uses of perlite and vermiculite, please call or contact us at:

The Schundler Company
150 Whitman Avenue
Edison, NJ 08817

(ph)732-287-2244 (fax) 732-287-4185
www.schundler.com
email: info@schundler.com

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