The solution to soil-borne problems most primarily with diseases is becoming particularly more urgent for cultivated areas for strawberries. In order to take new routes without chemistry, Karlsruhe Agricultural Office thus decided upon appropriate test areas for sanitising soil using superheated steam to grow strawberries.
The first surfaces were already steamed in May for this purpose. Steam specialist, Mobildampf, carried out the first tests using their own equipment. The most up-to-date soil steamers come exclusively from the company MSD GmbH with an efficiency of up to 96% when used.
The surfaces were sanitised using the classic sheet steaming procedure. Overall, three 1,000m² sections were sanitised up to and into August using superheated steam up to 20cm deep. It was performed on extremely sandy soil and even incorporated raised beds. The results were rather convincing. Very strong crops are shown in surfaces steamed in May in the foreground of the image shown above. The rows of plants have remained completely weed-free throughout the months. Using an energy efficient procedure, such as hood or sandwich-type steaming, the costs of heating oil can be reduced to around 0.3 euros per m². Steaming consequently lends itself ideally to the sanitisation of surfaces for cultivating strawberries and represents a genuine alternative.