Saturday, 12 March 2011

HOW TO GROW STRAWBERRIES FROM SEED



Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

I love strawberries. The taste of home grown strawberries, eaten just after picking, takes me back to my childhood. There are many varieties of strawberry, and you will have to choose according to your taste or  the growing season you would prefer.

Strawberry plants need to be replaced every three years to ensure good crop, and although they can be propagated by layering plantlets they are also easy to raise from seed. Most strawberry plants will not grow true from seed as they are cultivated hybrids.  Species strawberries such as alpine strawberries or F1 cultivars will grow true from seed. The advantage of growing strawberries from seed is the quantity of plants you can raise and the diversity of plants grown. And yes, you can collect and sow your own strawberry seed.

Strawberries can be sown indoors or in a heated greenhouse during late February or March to give your seedlings a head start. Plant seeds onto a seed tray filled with John Innes 'seed and potting' mix, settling the compost by tapping the side of the container. Sow the seeds across the surface and cover lightly with compost.. Water gently and place in a cold frame, greenhouse or well lit room.  Germination will occur within 2-8 weeks.

Pot up the strawberry seedlings when they produce their third true leaves.  Transplant to 9cm pots, filled with John Innes No 1 or 2. are 5cm high.  Before planting your strawberry seedlings, you will have to harden them off for several weeks. You can either plant them out in their final position immediately or plant when they are larger in the autumn. Choose a position that is well drained and improve the soil by incorporating organic matter or farm yard manure.  Strawberries will fruit the following year.



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