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China: Strawberries grown in soilless cultivation are on the market at a high price

It's another year for the early-ripening strawberries in greenhouses. In the Strawberry Planting Agricultural Characteristic Industrial Park in Weijia Village, Liushan Town, Linqu County, in the uniform solar greenhouses, red strawberries, hidden among the green leaves and white flowers, are growing well. Su Chen, a 32-year-old grower avidly seized the business opportunity and devoted himself to agriculture. He introduced vertical soilless cultivation technology and controlled the timing of flower bud differentiation through temperature control, overcoming the low temperature in winter and exploiting the early strawberry market, selling up to 160 RMB per kilogram.

Using vertical soilless cultivation, strawberries can enter the market in 70 days
"This is the first batch of strawberries. It has been on the market for more than 20 days. Many merchants from Tai'an and Laiwu have come to order, and the supply exceeds demand." Su Chen said that the "Japanese Tianbao" strawberries he planted have overcome the differentiation of flower buds through temperature control, overcame the low temperature in winter and became the first to go on the market. "When they first went on the market, they sold at up to 160 RMB per kilogram, and with the changes in the market, it has basically maintained at around 120 RMB per kilogram."

The bees in the greenhouse are busy pollinating. Rows of vertical soilless cultivation gutters are arranged in an orderly manner, erected on a steel frame about 1 meter above the ground. The cultivation gutters are equipped with advanced water and fertilizer integration equipment. Every few meters, there is a hanging spray on the top and dripping irrigation is used to accurately water and fertilize the delicate strawberries, which is convenient for management.

This kind of strawberry, grown in a vertical soilless cultivation gutter has more advantages. According to Su Chen, taking a strawberry as an example, if it grows on the ground and produces up to three or four fruits in one crop, the light they face is uneven, the surface is easy to get dirty and the temperature of the ground cannot be controlled artificially, and they arrive to market late. However, strawberries grown in vertical soilless cultivation gutters are not limited by space. One plant can bear up to five or six fruits. As long as the temperature is uniformly controlled at 25°C and the humidity is maintained at about 40%, the growth and the size of the strawberry can be controlled with no pests, giving a sweeter taste. Therefore, Su Chen planted the strawberries in September this year, and they went on the market within 70 days.


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