Blueberry cultivation has experienced a boom in popularity due to their health benefits, relatively long post-harvest life and high consumer appreciation. While traditionally grown in acidic, well-drained soils, advances in agricultural techniques have opened up new possibilities, such as growing blueberries using hydroponics techniques. In this article, we will explore the basics of this innovative technique and how it can offer advantages in terms of yield and fruit quality.
Advantages of hydroponics with cocopeat fiber substrates.
Hydroponics is a technique that involves growing plants in an aquatic environment, where mineral solutions are used instead of soil to provide nutrients to the plants. It also includes the use of various substrates, such as coco coir, as part of hydroponic practices, which provide the fixation and aeration characteristics that plants need for their development.
By applying this technique to blueberry cultivation, several advantages are obtained:
- Adequacy of pH, conductivity conditions: Blueberry cultivation is not adapted to cultivation on alkaline soils, which make up the majority of soils available for cultivation globally. Therefore, its introduction into areas with alkaline soils is very difficult. Through the use of technologies such as hydroponics we can bring the crop to grow in an optimal environment from the point of view of acidity and electrical conductivity through fertigation management.
- High drainage capacity: By means of the ideal configuration of the substrate we can create an environment with a high volume of aeration that allows the development of the crop, since the blueberry is a very demanding crop in terms of drainage, it adapts with difficulties to purely clay soils, so that with the use of the appropriate coco coir substrate, we can achieve the precise conditions so that the root system is not affected by waterlogging or stress due to root asphyxia.
- Optimised nutrient control supply: Allows for an accurate delivery of essential plant nutrients, which can increase yields and fruit quality.
- Lower water consumption: Hydroponics usually requires less water compared to soil cultivation, as recirculation systems allow water to be recycled and re-applied directly to the crop after disinfection processes or to be used for irrigation of other crops in the vicinity.
- Reduced risk of disease: Avoiding soil reduces the risk of diseases transmitted by soil-borne pathogens, such as viruses or fungi that are able to remain dormant in the soil and subsequently infect crops.
- Increased utilisation of productive areaThis methodology allows the production of plants with smaller planting frames than those used in traditional plantations. It is possible to reach densities of between 8,000 to 10,000 plants per hectare, as opposed to the typical density of soil cultivation, which is around 2,500-5,000 plants per hectare. This contributes to a relative improvement in yield in relation to surface area, producing a greater quantity of fruit per unit of surface area.
Growing blueberries using coco coir is an innovative technique that offers significant advantages in terms of yield and fruit quality. By growing in coco coir and maintaining constant monitoring, you can enjoy a successful harvest of high quality blueberries in a controlled and efficient environment. This technique represents a promising option for farmers who wish to diversify their cultivation methods and produce blueberries in areas where the existing soil typology does not allow it.