The cultivation of strawberries requires craftsmanship in getting and keeping ideal growing conditions. "In addition to climate conditions, water management is also of great importance," Wim van Wingerden explains. "In the past, relatively wet substrates were used, which were not always easy to control, and drier mixtures of peat, fine coconut and perlite have come onto the market in recent years. More and more growers are also using coconut substrate for their strawberry plants." This trend has also been observed by Botanicoir, supplier of specific coconut mixtures for strawberry cultivation.
Buffering and washing the coconut
For cultivation it's important that the coconut is washed and buffered. The buffering of the coconut is of great importance to get the sodium, chlorine and potassium particles to a sufficiently low level. This buffering is done with calcium nitrate and requires a very precise process," says Wim.
If this is not done or not done enough, the cultivation starts with an excessively high amount of these particles. "As a result, there will be growth stagnation. To ensure that the coconut is sufficiently buffered, you can do a Barium chloride test. This test also shows what elements are in the coconut particles, in contrast to standard water analysis. The Barium chloride test gives you the levels of calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium present in the coconut particles, which gives you a clear picture of how well the coconut is buffered."
Structure of the coconut
It is important that the coconut has a uniform structure and can drain easily. "The aim must be to have as uniform a water and air distribution as possible in the entire coconut substrate, which benefits every plant and becomes visible during cultivation."
Wim explains that Botanicoir offers a mixture with particles no smaller than 2 mm, so that almost no composting of the coconut will occur. "A proper balance between water and air gives the plant the space to get a larger and healthier root pellet, ensuring a healthier plant and that means higher production and the desired quality level. The coconut we supply offers fast saturation and drains easily."
For questions or comments:
Wim van Wingerden
Telephone: +31 (0)6 51042740