STRAWBERRIES

HOW TO GROW STRAWBERRIES



Strawberries are perennials, that produce well for about 3 years and then they slow down or die out. Therefore it is wise to keep planting more each year either by seed or from the runners of the established strawberries.

Difficulty Level:
Growing strawberries can be challenging. Just getting the seeds from the berries is a challenge.

Exposure:
Be sure to plant the seeds or transplants where they will get full sun

When to Plant:
If you want a chance of having berries in the first year of planting you can try sowing by seeds indoors in the winter. Start the seeds anytime between December and the beginning of February. If you plant them in the spring, they will still work, but you will not harvest berries until the second season.
Transplant out at least 3 weeks after the last frost.

Starting your strawberries from seeds:

If you are starting from seed, you can buy seeds or use the seeds from organic strawberries you purchase.
In my opinion there is only one way to extract the seeds. Let the berries dry out and then pick them off.
So as not to waste the whole strawberry, I cut a thin layer of the outside skin, where the seeds are, off the berry and let them dry, while still being able to enjoy the inner part of the berry.
Once the seeds dry, or if you are using purchased seeds, it is a good idea to put them in the freezer for about 3 weeks. Place them in a empty pill bottle or paper bag and then into a freezer bag, or airtight container.
Be sure to mark the bag with the contents and the date you placed them in the freezer.
When the 3 weeks are up take them out of the freezer and let them sit in the bag overnight. This is to make sure there is less condensation when you retrieve the seeds.
Sow the seeds on the surface of pre-moistened, sterilized seed starting mix in trays with peat pots or small pot containers. I use organic starting mix.
Most container will have the under-tray to hold the water and it is a good idea to make sure that the pots do not dry out. Pour the water into the under-tray so it will wick up the pots and always keep the soil moist. (damp like a wrung out sponge)
Keep your seeded trays under bright fluorescent lights at a constant temperature of 18-24°C (65-75°F) or in a south facing window. Germination may take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks.
Once your seedlings have their third leaf, they can be transplanted into their own pots. Be sure to harden your seedlings off gradually before transplanting them outside – but not until at least 3 weeks after the last frost date.

Caring for your strawberries:

Space the transplants (24″) apart in rows (40”-48″) apart.
Everbearing varieties produce fewer runners, but will produce more fruit if you remove the runners. Don’t be too aggressive with this in the plants first year of growth. You may want to encourage runners, to produce new offspring plants.
Grow strawberries in a well-drained, sandy loam soil, using lots of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure.
Keep soil moist, but not soggy. A mulch of straw, hence strawberries, around the plants may help prevent the soil from drying out and is a nice mat for the berries to lay on.
Companion Plants:

Strawberries are friends with beans, borage, garlic, lettuce, onions, peas, spinach, and thyme.