While all the world seemed to be shopping on “Black Friday,” the CavFamily spent part of the morning picking strawberries. CavWife’s friend let us know of a new place to pick them. The farm is only 2 years old, and it is hydroponic which is way cool.
Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro water and ponos labour) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, or mineral wool.
Plant physiology researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.
Other advantages include faster growth combined with relative freedom from soil diseases, and very consistent crops, the quality of produce being excellent. There is also a considerable reduction in growing area, weeds are practically non-existant, while standard methods and automatic operations mean less labor, less cost, and no hard manual work. Some plants can be raised, out of season, better control of crops naturally results in addition to no dirt and no smells. Waterlogging never occurs now. Chemically grown plants are not inferior to naturally reared ones in point of flavor, nor have analyses shown any deficiency in vitamin content. In fact, hydroponic fruits and vegetables are sweeter and more luscious than those grown in ordinary soil.
Soil-less farming. Very interesting. They had these rotating stryrofoam towers with numerous pots in them. You didn’t have to bend down to pick anything if you didn’t want to. All the nutrients are in the water. They had 3 kinds of strawberries, and they were delicioso! I couldn’t believe how red they looked. The kids had a blast, though CavSon was a bit too exuberent- often picking green strawberries.
The farm also grows tomatos, squash, peppers, cucumbers and lettuce hydroponically. They have lots of blueberry bushes that were hybrids designed to grow well in Florida. They should be ready for picking in late March. So we’ll go back.
After picking our berries, and tour of the other crops, we got to see the miniature horse they just purchased, and their other 2 horses. They also had a catfish pond, so we got to feed them. CavSon wasn’t able to toss it far, so the turtles will have to clean up after him. It took a few minutes for the fish to do their thing. I wish we could have taken one or 2 home for some good eatin’. But we did bring home 4 pounds of strawberries that are so sweet and juicy. A great way to spend a glorious Florida morning. Way better than shopping.