Strawberry seeds - It is recommended to start growing strawberries from seeds and you may propagate by cuttings or runners. You can sow strawberry seeds indoors in the winter; the best time to start is between December and the beginning of February. You can grow strawberries in the winter or all year round if your climate is not suitable to grow them outside. The ever bearing strawberry plant produces crops of strawberries in the summer and again early fall.
Sowing Strawberry seeds
Germinating a strawberry seed usually takes 6 weeks. Probably the most challenging part of growing a strawberry plant is germinating the seeds but is it possible with a little patience. Here are the steps in germinating strawberry seeds:
- Tuck your strawberry seed packet inside a sealed plastic bag and place it in your freezer for 3-4 weeks.
- Remove the bag from the freezer without breaking the seal until it has reached room temperature. Do not open immediately as doing so may result in water condensing on the cold seeds and will greatly reduce your chances of success.
- You can plant the seeds on the surface of a pre-moistened soil tray with sterilized seed starting mix.
- Keep your seeded trays under bright fluorescent lights at a constant temperature of 65-75F.
- Once germination occurs, increase the ventilation around your plants to prevent damping off.
- A third true leaf from your seedlings is a good sign that they are ready for transplanting.
You may also try to germinate the seeds while they are still attached to the fruit. Grow your strawberries in a well-drained, sandy loam with generous amount of organic matter such as aged manure. They prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8. If soils in your area are naturally alkaline, it is best to grow strawberries in half-barrels or other large containers filled with potting soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Many varieties of strawberries eagerly produce offspring, so it is best to space them 18 inches apart. Make sure to set the plants so that their roots are well covered with soil but the central growing bud, or crown, is exposed to light and fresh air to prevent root rot. You may also place a layer of straw mulch around the plants to help seal the moisture in. Strawberries need at least 8 hours of full sun each day and will bear fruit usually 3 weeks after planting.
If you have no time to process your seeds through germination, you can use an existing plant to grow strawberries. Remove old leaves, damaged areas, as well as runners before transplanting. The roots should be trimmed to approximately 4 to 5 inches. Soak the roots in water for an hour or so before planting.
Regularly inspect your strawberry plant for any signs of pests or disease. By far the worst pests of strawberries are birds. To keep fruit-eaters from stealing your berries, cover the plants with lightweight bird netting when the berries begin to ripen.