Taste Test - Start To Finish

On 10th Sept 2014 this plant I allow the flower to develop to see what happen, whether it can bear fruit in this hot lowland. 
To get the plant flowering is great news for me since as a known fact that Strawberry will have difficulties in flowering if exposed to temperature of greater that 28 degrees C.
On 21st September 2014 it form fruit and I was anxious to see its progress.
Not as large as the highland but to get it fruiting is a joy to see on 25th September 2014
Slowly changing color to a reddish pinkish Strawberryish.. :)
And finally today 28th September 2014, pick it for test taste.
Nice and firm, but should have waited another couple of days before picking.
 Not the usual Strawberry shape, may be due to this particular cultivar it is like that.
The flesh is firm and not watery as most Aquaponics, what ever it is I am overjoy for this and can't wait for next year when the plants are fully ready to bear fruits.

So it took 18 days from flower to picking time, more or less.

Equatorial Lowland Strawberry Project - Journal 27th Sept 2014

Looks good so far these Strawberry, finished making shades to the second and third growbed. The forth I left it temporarily vacant since I decide to put more plants within each growbed. This require me to let some of the plant to developed runners into young plants for the vacant growbed.
This time I use the electrical conduit PVC, they are cheaper and since the frame doesn't require much strength to hold those netting, it's okay.
Apart from direct intense sunlight it is good for heavy down pour which if not protected from will damage plants. Those that are not familiar with Equatorial weather, what we have here is either very hot sun with high humidity or very heavy rain which pour cats and dogs. Either way you're screwed.. if no shades provided as protection.
It's time for one of the runner to be cut off from the mother plants, it has form much needed roots and should be able to survive on its own.
Cut the umbilical as close as possible to the mother plants so that she don't waste much of her energy trying to repair what is not important anymore.
Make another cut as close to the young plant, this plant can be left where it is. However in this case I need the space for another fresh pot since there is another runner developing and I want that to form into new plant.
That new plant I transfer to a nursery growbed, here the water level is adjusted to be high so that any new plants will have a head start in this hot weather. Once it has formed more roots I can then move it to the 4th growbed as a permanent home for it.
The mother plant was in the old plastic pot, changing it to the slotted pot will ensure better growth as roots formation is found to be better if there are more exposure to air. Before letting it produce another plant, it is best to get the pot change.
It's a quickie job and not much stress on the plants since we are doing it the Aquaponics methods. This is one of the original plants from the highland, so it's good to see that it had survived the heat and even producing runners as above.
Back in its place, and one fresh pot standing by to catch the runner. I will need to trained it to be somewhere within the pot, using pots it is convenient to rotate the plant positioning the runner to a good landing. If this plant is directly in the growbed it will then be difficult to do.
One lone Strawberry is turning red, this is the one plant that I let it to fruit. Most of the flower I just clipped away but this plant I let it be. Just to see what developed from this experiment, 1st year plants need to get their roots strengthen first before they are allowed to flower other wise it may not be strong enough to bear fruit in the hot Equatorial climate.

Titbits- 26th September 2014

Not much happening this last few days, just tidying up and get few plants reorganized to other growbeds. Kuchai (Garlic Chives) plants has to make way for the Strawberry project experiment, and all pots has to be placed in the back part of the house.
Harvest all Kuchai and remove the pot from this growbed. Quite a lot of Kuchai and gave it away to neighbors.
The Ornamental set metal stand is ready and I am testing it out before making more to sell.
Unfortunately the pots are from different manufacturer, hence the color difference. Oh well it still function same and I'll wet run this for another couple of months then let one set as a test piece and permanently get it going to see if any problem arise after prolong usage.
The strawberry plants still producing runners, I clipped most of it to let plants grow stronger. There are still a few that I let grow into plants and use it for new growbeds. I'll replace those older plants that originally obtained from Cameron Highland.
The older Strawberry plants never stop flowering, most of it I clipped too. Only one or two were left to develop into berry.
This one fruit that I let grow, okay it's not as big but at least it a good sign that we can have strawberry in the Equatorial lowland.

That's about it today, still a lot more to do getting the setup organized and tidy.

Potted Media Water Level

Slotted Orchids pots that I use for growing made it very convenience to adjust water level. Since some plants require different water level, with individual pots it can be adjusted to suite the plants that in it.
These pots has good drainage and I can easily adjust its level within the growbed to suit what ever I plant. This pots are about 6" across, therefore larger plants will not be suitable.
Shallow roots plants like Strawberry, Chives and leafy vegetable is best to use these pots. At certain stage of their growth water level may need to be adjusted to ensure they grow. Especially after transplanting where water level are normally set to high. With many plants in a growbed, adjusting the growbed water level will affect all plants in it.
Having individually potted plants in the growbed, it then can be position higher or lower within the growbed to get water level as required.
Strawberry as above was just transplanted, so the water level are adjusted to be high with pots burried deeper in the growbed.
Plants like Chives, above don't require high water so I adjust the pots to be higher up making the water level relatively low.
Above is a simple illustration on what I do to achieve different water level for individual plants within same growbed. This I find easier to do since pots containing the plants can be lifted without stressing the plants much.

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Equatorial Lowland Strawberry Project - Journal 18th Sept 2014

To get healthy Strawberry plants they requires strong roots, to get this the plant need to direct most of  its energy toward root growth. During first year of planting don't let the plant fruit.
All these flowers need to go, and it's best to clip them off at earlier stage that this.
Runners like these above also has to go.
So flower buds has to be clipped.
All clipped so that the plants can concentrate getting good roots.
Runners clip to prevent new plants, I reserve two original plants to produce runners for propagating. Those plants are the base stock for my Strawberry plants.
I will let the plants grow for this next few months towards January or March then I'll trim all leaves to get new growth.

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Potting Garlic Chives - Kuchai Redo

Since I am doing most of my planting in pots, these Kuchai plants is no exception. I had to put them in pots so that it can be easily contained and transplanted elsewhere if needed. I use those slotted pot which is great in water drainage and just nice for LECA.
Garlic Chives thrives in Aquaponics and its more than enough for a small family consumption on a 3ft x 2ft growbed. In fact 1 square feet is all that is needed for an average household. So decided to transplant these to individual pots later I can decide what to do with it.
As above photo they grow really well in LECA, and made it easy to redo this plant, all I had to do is gently pull out the clumps and they will all come out.
Root ball and all, can be easily lifted out of the growbed.
They have shallow root, so it is not that invasive to the siphon like mint of some other plants making this Garlic Chive ideal on a media based siphon flood and drain aquaponics growbed.
Put all in the slotted pot with some LECA at its base.
Some of the pots I put two clumps like photo above otherwise I would run out of pots.
Filled up with LECA and just wiggle a bit to give it a snug fit.. and all done.
That's three pot awaiting to be placed in the growbed.
Smaller clumps I put two to a pot like these above.
These Chives multiply by rhizomes within few months it will spread outward from center making the clumps bigger. Few of these I planted from seeds and some from nursery bought plants.
All plants out, and it only takes about 30 minutes to do, since I am using pots the water level in the growbed were adjusted to a lower level.
Chives don't need thick growbed, six inches is more than enough.
Altogether 17 pots, the photo is a bit grainy due it's getting dark.
I planted eight pot in the existing growbed and left with these nine pots to be place in the back lane CRAFTS set.
Nine left are placed in my back lane set

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