How To Successfully Grow Strawberries From Seed
Starting out with seeds is the most difficult way to grow almost anything, and growing strawberries from seed is no exception. The saving grace however is that you can at least say, they were all my own work.
When you see strawberry plants in a garden centre it is most likely that they are cultivated hybrids and the reality is that you can not actually grow these from seeds.
The reality is that if you want to grow strawberries from seed, then honestly don't even try. It is very difficult and almost impossible to succeed.
It can be done and we show you how in this article. That said we also refer you to much better and more successful methods of growing great strawberries without the pain and disappointment.
If you look in many of the catalogues these days or search around your garden centre then you can find seed packets but these will usually be of the Alpine variety.
There are also some new F1 cultivators available so don't be afraid to ask.
A good variety that I have used is the Strawberry Alpine Baron Solemacher and from memory you get around 200 seeds in a packet for £2 so plenty to work with.
The Strawberry Woodland "Mignonette" is another I have used and there are over 300 seeds for around £3
Improving Germination Tip
Now some gardeners swear by this though I have grown from seed and never found the need to do this, but as I say lots of people are convinced that if you place the seeds in the freezer for 14 days, then the chances of germination are improved.
Strawberry General Growing Information
This fruits is a very good source of Vitamin C. They are very labour intensive, but the actual yield from them is very good. If you plan properly and grow different strains, then you can quite literally have strawberries all year around in the UK.
They are a woodland plant, and as such, they need what is called plenty of muck, and ideally a slightly acid soil. Never use lime anywhere near strawberries.
The strawberry plant make runners which root, and you can then dig these out of the ground. You can then replant those. Most people however make the runners root is buried flower pots with compost in them. Once they root there, you can then plant them out.
They should be planted out during August, i foot apart and in rows that are 18 inches apart. Never plant strawberry plants too deep, and always spread the roots out.
They are labour intensive as they need regular weeding using a hoe. if you neglect to do that then the plants become a real mess. You also need to mulch heavily with peat or compost.
Slugs are their biggest enemy so watch out for them. Some framers will use straw as it is cheaper than compost for mulching.
Growing from Seed Tips
If you can purchase the seeds then the growing process is similar to any other type of seed growing for any other fruit, vegetable or plant.
Get a seed tray and fill it with either seed or potting compost which you can also buy in a garden centre. I usually fill the tray to about one half inch depth and water lightly.
Then sprinkle the seeds evenly over the surface and then cover with compost to the depth of no more than one quarter of an inch. You want the seeds just below the surface and not buried deeply. Then sprinkle gently with water and you will need to repeat this task once a day.
Ideally these should go into a greenhouse but if you haven't got one of those don't worry. Keep the seed tray in a well lit warm room and they will begin to germinate at around 3-4 weeks.
If they have not germinated in 8 weeks then I'm afraid it hasn't worked and you will need to try again. For most though this should work and when germinated fully (6-8 weeks) then you will need to move the small seedlings into separate plant pots.
The best time to do this is when the third leaf has grown.
I normally use 9 cm pots and put a few of the seedlings into each. Fill the pots with a finer compost such as a number one or number two.
You will have better success with a finer compost at this stage as the seedlings will root better. If you do this May-June time then they should be ready to plant outdoors in the Fall.
Once outside what tends to happen in the first year is that the new plants develop flowers. If this happens pick the flowers off as this will help with fruiting the following year.
Remember they will not bear fruit until the following year so don't expect a harvest of strawberries in the first year.
Strawberry plants like well drained alkaline soil and they really are easy to grow. Hopefully you now know how to make a start on growing strawberries from seeds.
Strawberry Growing from Seed Conclusion
Our advice here is just not to bother even trying to grow from seed, as it is far easier to grow strawberries from plants. The plants are not expensive and it is easy to replant, and quickly grow your crop over a few years.
Growing most fruits straight from seed is not easy, and the strawberry is no exception. They take a lot of early care, and the results are often disappointing.
This fruit is however a very good source of Vitamin C. Compared to other fruits that you can grow in your garden, these are quite labour intensive. That said they do yield quite a lot of strawberries. If you pick the right strains you can actually grow strawberries all year around.
They are a woodland plant so they like slightly acid soil, and ideally one that is absent of any lime. There are plenty of methods for planting these.