Do you wonder if hydroponic strawberries are organic or not?
Whether you’re thinking about growing them or are simply curious about the produce at the local grocery store, it is a legitimate question.
Are hydroponic strawberries organic? Hydroponic strawberries may indeed be organic. However, they may also be grown in a hydroponic system that uses artificial nutrients. Ultimately, whether or not hydroponic strawberries are organic or not depends on how the plants are fed and cared for.
Read on below and learn exactly how (and why) hydroponic strawberries are (or aren’t) organic!
How Hydroponic Strawberries Are Grown
Hydroponic strawberries are grown just like any other plant grown with hydroponics; they are plugged directly into grow sites rather than being transplanted into containers with soil or the ground in the garden.
You may start the strawberry plants from seeds and wait a few weeks for seedlings to start growing, or you can purchase starter plants.
At any rate, plant your new strawberry plants directly into net pots within your hydroponic system immediately.
Do so by filling the bottom of the netted pot with growing medium, and gently place the plant in with roots spread as wide open in all directions as possible.
Complete the planting process by filling the rest of the container up with growing medium and placing it in the proper grow site within your hydroponic growing system.
Once your strawberries are growing, the hydroponic system does all of the work. All you need to do is monitor the progress and make tweaks to the system as needed.
Depending on the species, you may expect your first berries to appear within 3 to 4 weeks or it may take as long as 3 to 12 months.
When it comes to selecting a hydroponic system for your strawberries, the option that makes the most sense is the ebb-and-flow system.
Ebb-and-flow hydroponic systems are perfect for strawberries because they allow for a large number of plants and they take up little space because they can be stacked.
Furthermore, the ebb-and-flow systems used for growing strawberries preserve water as they simply flood the channels, moistening and submerging roots temporarily, and then quickly drain back into the main reservoir.
Strawberries are truthfully one of the easiest crops to grow in a hydroponic system. Part of the reason behind this is due to the basic nature of the nutrients they require.
Strawberries in hydroponic growing systems should be fed with liquid solutions (or water-soluble powders) that include nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, but they also require micronutrients, sulfur, magnesium, and calcium.
More or less, practically any basic general-purpose hydroponic liquid nutrient solution, like this one featuring guano and worm castings, will do the trick for feeding hydroponic strawberries everything they need to grow and thrive.
Advantages of Growing Strawberries Hydroponically
The advantages of growing hydroponic strawberries are many:
- Cleaner and easier to maintain than soil-based growing
- Fewer pests and diseases to combat
- Less water usage than soil-based gardening (because it recycles itself and there is little evaporation)
- Larger, juicier, tasty, better-looking fruits
- A healthier and fruitier strawberry aroma
- One of the easiest hydroponic plants to master
- Strawberries have a high retail value
What Qualifies Strawberries as Organic?
In order for strawberries to be qualified as, or certified as, organic, they must be grown without even a drop of synthetic fertilizer, pesticide, or nutrients.
The strawberries must also not be a GMO species. In other words, they must be a natural strawberry species and be grown with natural ingredients only.
How Hydroponic Strawberries Can Be Grown Organically
It may seem confusing at first that a hydroponic strawberry grown without even a spec of soil may be considered organic.
But, the truth is, hydroponic strawberries can indeed be grown just as organically as a head of lettuce growing in the garden in a compost and soil mix.
How is that so? Simple: provide them light, water, and 100% natural nutrients (like sheep manure or whatever you prefer).
Also, avoid using any sort of man-made ingredients (like fungicide, pesticide, or bloom boosters).
If you really want to go the whole nine yards, you could also use distilled rainwater and situate your hydroponic system outside where it receives natural sunlight.
But, that isn’t actually necessary for organic certification of your strawberries.
Are Hydroponics Considered Organic?
Whether or not hydroponics are considered organic depends on how the system is run and maintained.
The main factors that go into determining whether or not a hydroponic system is organic or not are the types of water, nutrients, and light to which the plants in the system are exposed.
Legally, hydroponic operations may attain organic certification just like any other organic produce operation (like farms and markets).
Are Hydroponic Strawberries Safe?
Hydroponic strawberries are just as safe as any other type of strawberry out there.
In fact, in many cases, organic hydroponic strawberries are safer than soil-grown berries that’ve been exposed to harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
A common misconception about hydroponics is that they rely on some sort of chemicals to do their “magic,” but they don’t.
So, Are Hydroponic Strawberries Organic?
The bottom line about hydroponic strawberries is that they can be organic, but it isn’t always the case.
Whether or not the fruit is organic depends on the environment in which they’re grown and the food they’re provided.
Real organic nutrients produce real high-grade organic strawberries. Synthetic nutrients, on the other hand, infuse hydroponic strawberries with man-made nutrients.
If you’re buying them, not growing them, remember to check out the label before putting them in your basket. Whether or not they’re organic should be clearly stated on the packaging.