How to Grow Strawberries
Growing strawberries from seed are very easy. Strawberries require a dormant season where temperatures fall at least slightly below or at freezing. The seeds will germinate better if stratified – kept at below-freezing temperatures for a couple of weeks in a freezer. In my experience, strawberry seeds do not need to be stratified, even though this helps, you can still get them to germinate quite successfully without it.
Strawberry seeds will not germinate if the weather is too hot or too sunny. If you start the seeds in the hot summer, they will not germinate until the end of summer. Normally they will germinate in 2 to 4 weeks. The better the conditions, the quicker and more successfully, the seeds will germinate. So it is best to plant them in the spring or start the seeds any time indoors.
Strawberries are often found around wetlands and among peat moss. Peat moss is great to add in with your strawberry seeds or plants. This will help keep the soil around the roots moist. Strawberries should be watered at least once or twice a week. Although strawberry plants are very tolerant of shade, the plants need lots of sunlight to be able to produce berries.
For Canadian viewers, click here to purchase wild strawberry seeds.
To start your strawberry seeds, first, mix a 50/50 mixture of sterilized black earth and sphagnum peat moss. Water the soil until moist – not soggy. Then surface sow the strawberry seeds onto the soil. Strawberry seeds require light to germinate, so place the pots in a sunny location in your house. If sowing the seed outdoors, you can gently press the seed into the soil and lightly cover the seed with peat moss.
Many people are familiar with the big garden strawberries. While the garden strawberry is large, it lacks the fragrance and intense flavour of the smaller wild varieties. Wild strawberries, also known as woodland strawberries, are much smaller but are packed with strawberry flavour! The taste is not comparable. Wild strawberries are everbearing and will start to produce in the spring to late fall. It will be one of the first plants to come up in the spring, especially if they are under a big pile of leaves to give them some shelter; The leaves will protect them from the wind and give your strawberry plants a considerable head start.
Alpine strawberries are another wild variety that is cold tolerant. The plants are more prolific than wild strawberries, and the berries are larger. The alpine strawberry is also very delicious as the woodland berries are, and it is also everbearing. Alpine strawberries do not produce runners, as well as some varieties of the woodland strawberry. ‘Runners’ are shoots that the plant sends out away from itself that eventually produces roots and starts another strawberry plant. All wild strawberry plants will reproduce by seed. Garden strawberries are hybrid plants and will not reproduce true to seed.
Once established, your wild strawberry plants will do very well on their own. They are low maintenance plants and will spread over time. The plants will produce quite a few berries in the first year. By the second year, it will be in full berry production all season long. While the berries are small, it is worth the effort harvesting them after you experience their fantastic flavour!