Growing strawberries can be difficult. After starting some from seed this year, I have decided that buying the plants is the easier route to take.
Strawberries are an easy-to-grow fruit with each plant capable of producing a quart a year.
There are several types of strawberries. One is the Junebearing which will ripen a crop over a week to ten days in spring.
The Sequoia is a Junebearing type. It is one of the sweetest and juiciest of the Junebearing strawberries and provides loads of fresh berries starting in early spring here in Poteet as well as in the San Antonio area where we lived for 20 years. This means that this plant is good for making strawberry preserves.
The other is the Everbearing strawberry which will produce two crops, one in spring and one later in the fall.
Almost all cultivators are self-pollinating. They reproduce by creating runners that shoot out from the main plant to form a new plant. With this in mind, make sure you do not put down a mulch that will prevent the runners from growing and spreading.
Below are some of the benefits of eating and growing strawberries and adding them to your diet. That is beside the fact that they taste great and are fun to eat.
There are three categories of strawberries:
The Tarpan is a Day Neutral type. Plant in a hanging basket, container, or in the ground. The bright red, small (an we mean small) to medium-sized fruit are plentiful, tasty, and will produce from midsummer to frost.
Below is a picture of a Tarpan strawberry plant from seed that I planted back in October. It is growing well but I do not recommend using the planter with the type of stuff I used. It does not hold moisture and drys out within a day.
The second picture is my Tarpan plant. I took it out of the hanging basket and planted it in the greenhouse since it was too hard to keep the plant watered in the planter.
The Tarpan is a small berry, but it has a lot of taste. You will enjoy eating these berries!
Growing strawberries from seed can be difficult. In fact, we find that this is the most difficult seed to germinate that we sell. But we do it every year so it can be done. Patience really comes into play when growing strawberries. Don't expect the seeds to just pop up in a week like so many other seeds do. The strawberry seed, no matter what variety, can take up to 30 days to germinate. We recommend starting them in small pots in a garden tray. Do not top water them. Pour your water into the tray so the pots can soak up the water. That way, your seeds are not dislodged. They are so small that you would never know if the seed got dislodged.
Sow strawberry seeds thinly in March or April in a fine soilless mix (do not use potting soil). Press seeds into moist mix and keep it moist until plants emerge in two to three weeks (this can take up to 30 days).
Keep the soil temperature between 60°F and 75° Fahrenheit, if possible. Transplant to plug trays or 1-1.
CULTURE: 1/2" apart in flats, then to larger pots or planters for growing full-sized plants: 1 plant/3-4" pot; 3-5 plants/8" pot.
Transplant outdoors anytime, one foot apart. Tolerant to partial shade,
and they prefer moist soil. Shade cloth can help provide some shade in your garden. We grow our strawberries under shade cloth because of the intense sun we receive here in South Central Texas.
Growing strawberries from seed is difficult unless you start them indoors in starter trays under a growing light on a heat mat, like we do. The first step in growing strawberries in your backyard garden is to prepare the soil. Dig out all weeds including the roots in the area so the weeds don't grow back and choke your strawberry plants to death.
Next, create a raised bed for these plants only. Choose a spot that gets full sun with no shade. You should have three-foot wide raised beds with dirt that is six inches high. This will insure good water drainage so the fruit does not become diseased. Strawberries are prone to disease caused by too much water and you don't want that.
When planting, leave 12 inches between rows to give the plants lots of room to spread out. Place each seed in a row eight inches apart.
Fertilize with liquid fish fertilizer. Cover the ground with mulch and water your plants as needed. The berries should be ready in about 90 days from the time you planted the seeds.
Pick the berries when they are red and ripe. Do not pick them while green or white as they do not ripen after harvest. You may want to cover them with netting to avoid the birds from getting your berries. We recommend planting a lot at once because each plant does not produce very many berries at the same time.
You can make pies, preserves, jelly, or you can cut them up and freeze them if you do not want to eat them fresh out of the garden. We have done all of this with our strawberries.
Growing strawberries is easier than people make it out to be.
We have grown them each year in San Antonio with great success. Even now
in the fall, we have several plants still blossoming. I love
berries and it is wonderful to be able to eat them year round.
We have tried several different varieties and they all do quite well. Perhaps the type you are most familiar with because they are sold at the grocery store is the Hybrid Sarian, pictured below.
Alpine strawberry seeds are very popular and we are always looking for new ones we have not yet tried. Many of the varieties that we have grown in the past are not available to sell right now. Here is a link to all of the strawberry seeds that we have for you to purchase right now.
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