Many years ago we grew strawberries, including alpine strawberries (aka fraises des bois and woodland strawberries), in vertical systems in a greenhouse. At that time there were no premium markets for out of season hybrids and we were so new to the world of alpine strawberries that we didn’t know what we had nor what we were doing.
But, times and markets have changed. There are new systems available that are reasonably priced and the sky is the limit for the strawberry markets. Consumers want to grow their own. Commercial growers are looking for efficiencies and roi. Many factors have come together to warrant looking at vertical systems again.
In the past I was skeptical about growing alpine strawberries hydroponically. I didn’t think that there was enough space for the plants to get enough production to make it worthwhile. My many searches for information about alpines resulted in finding scientific papers for European studies involving hydroponic production. Most of the studies found used Fragaria vesca ‘Reine des Vallees’ (aka ‘Regina delle Valli’). The yields in these studies were in line with the results we have found in our trials. We believe that an economic analysis will show alpine strawberries to be a viable crop for local markets that can result in quick payback on the original investment.
We are testing several vertical stacking systems. We have added EZGro systems to our shopping cart. The system currently in our store is consumer kit that includes everything needed to start growing gourmet strawberries. All you need to add is the water. Click this link to view the system.