Anti-Gravity Strawberries – with AutoPot Watering Systems

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Fun, functional, and free for all, our old friend gravity is the all-upside down-force. It’s an absolute boon for getting all manner of grounded and delicious activities done. Spaghetti bolognese is untenable without gravity! Best of all, a little bit of gravity goes a long, long way. Totally random example; simply putting a reservoir 15 cm / 6 inches higher the modules in your AutoPot Watering System gives you all the force you need to drive it without any electricity whatsoever.

That 15 cm is pretty much achievable for anyone, even those growing in vertical storage. For many years vertical grows have employed header tanks which make AutoPot an easy fit. However, in the interests of science we recently took a look at ways of supplying water and nutrient solution to your modules if you just cannot harness gravity. Anti gravity if you will. If we were to break with tradition there were a few non-negotiables. The experiment had to involve virtually no power, zero waste, and had to have no impact on the way the systems function. To the laboratory!

Above: The experimental, pump-driven easy2grow4 system at AutoPot HQ

How little power are we talking about? How about a teeny-tiny 320L/ph submersible micro jet pump, timer-activated for three fifteen minute bursts a day? We’re sure you’ll agree that is an eminently reasonable input for our strawberry-growing easy2grow4 system. Who would begrudge such a minor electrical intervention given all the sweet, sweet fruits we look set to devour. In our test setup the pump sits inside a 47 litre / 12.4 gal reservoir drawing on the water and nutrient solution therein. It pushes solution to through a 9mm pipe that passes through the reservoir wall and around the modules. At each module a section of 9mm pipe branches off to the AQUAvalve in the module tray.

Above: Strawberries seem to be well on their way in the easy2grow pump system, hands courtesy of Jason Ralph-Smith

Here’s where this setup has zero impact on the normal system functionality. The supply still cannot enter the tray unless the AQUAvalve is open. The AQUAvalve cannot be open unless the plant has already consumed the previous supply. The plant stays in full control of irrigation and feeding and there’s still no wastage whatsoever. If the solution can’t enter the tray it passes around the circuit and back to the reservoir. There’s circulation but, crucially, no recirculation of feeds, meaning the nutrient content is not depleted and potential nasties cannot pass between plants. We think it’s rather fun! But it also has some hefty benefits in terms of space maximising crop production.

Above: Easy access? Strawberry Topper lets you get right at your fruits as and when required

Strawberries are a shoo-in for such a setup. Commonly grown at-or-above head height for ease of inspection and harvest, these ruddy delicious deltas are never better than when dangling. The Strawberry Toppers on the 8.5L / 2.2 gal pots in the system also help cultivate the crop in an ideal position. Strawberry Toppers sit on the rim of the pot and allow you to lay your strawberry plants side-on. Foliage grows up and fruits hang down – ideal for modules on shelves or elevated racking. Look forward to more natural candy in the shape of innovative AutoPot growing arrangements @autopot_global

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