How can you get strawberry seeds

Sowing and growing strawberries - instructions for sowing and growing

The children should learn how "nature works"; the garden is new and the gardener curious; the money for young plants should rather go to the money box for more important purchases - there are many reasons to sow plants yourself. The strawberry is one of the best plants for first attempts at sowing: Our forest strawberry got its botanical species name Fragaria "vesca" ("edible") because we have been collecting and eating it since the Stone Age (because strawberries grew everywhere). This is how sowing and growing usually work without much effort:

Strawberry seeds from the trade: the "colorful sachets"

The usual colorful seed bags on the stand also include strawberry seeds. With the following content:

  • The colorful bags contain the seeds of the few commercial crops that are still suitable for sowing
  • A very limited supply, some varieties of everbearing garden strawberries and monthly strawberries
  • Seeds of garden strawberry varieties: 'Florian F1', 'Elan', 'Toscana'
  • Seeds of monthly strawberry varieties: 'Sperli's Bowlenzauber', 'Rügen', 'Quattro Stagioni', 'Tubby'
  • Caution: strawberry seeds in colorful bags are sometimes sold at an outrageously high price
  • 7 seeds 'Elan' 5, - €, 9 x pill seeds 'Elan', 'Toscana' 5.50 €, that's 60-70 cents per seed, record breaking
  • Seeds of older varieties are cheaper, but not cheap, usually 50 seeds for 3, - €
  • There are even 100 seeds of a monthly strawberry of the unknown cultivar 'Ampelerdbeere' for € 3, but nobody knows what will come of it
  • Overall confident prices for strawberry seeds / plants of dubious value:
  • Everbearing strawberries bear for a long time - but always only single fruits, even the harvest for a single cake does not come together
  • It is also officially recognized that everbearing strawberries taste worse than single-bearing strawberries
  • And you buy "disposable goods": Many high-performance cultivars should be grown as an annual because they "are flat after a year"
  • The modern cultivars should only show high performance where they have a profit-increasing effect
  • Profit-cutting ability to reproduce is therefore not one of the breeding goals
  • The reproduction of modern cultivars is often not possible or produces stunted or non-varietal plants

Strawberry seeds from normal strawberries

Normal

Strawberry plants live and bear for several years and can then be propagated; The original strawberry is such a "sustainable model" that after growing the first strawberry plants you can be supplied with strawberries forever.

These original strawberry plants can be found among the approximately 900 cultivars that were grown from the garden strawberry and not taken over by the trade. Quite a lot, but strawberries have also been grown for a while: The garden strawberry Fragaria × ananassa originated in Holland around 1750 from a chance cross between the North American scarlet strawberry Fragaria virginiana and the South American chile strawberry Fragaria chiloensis. This traditional strawberry cultivation is alive, and with it many of the old varieties. In small, specialized nurseries or with private growers in the home garden (it is these "nurseries" that provided for a variety of cultivated plants for a few hundred years before modern commercial fruit growing developed after the Second World War).

These sources are just not accessible via the front page of an internet search engine because the product and not the marketing comes first. You can find old varieties or references to them in forums and file sharing sites, the small, specialized nurseries can be found through cultivation associations and are slowly starting to present themselves on their own websites.

Tip: To rule out misunderstandings: The point here is not to advise against buying strawberry varieties from commercial breeding or to advise anything at all; you don't need to, you are smart enough yourself. But you are only smart enough if you have all the information in hand. You can get information about commercial fruit varieties everywhere - in garden centers and other shops, in newspapers, brochures, on television, they don't have to be chewed again here. You will almost only get information about old strawberry varieties if you already know the sources, because people are at work here whose priority is not on marketing. Therefore, it is one of the duties of independent publications on the subject to educate you about the benefits of these strawberries, such as: B. Better taste and lifespan (harvest) up to 15 years.

Stratify strawberries

If you've bought seeds, it goes

continue with sowing, if you get seeds of old strawberries from "seed keepers" or have collected them yourself from a strawberry, the seed first needs a little pretreatment:
  • Strawberry seeds usually go through a cold winter before germinating
  • If not, you need to break the dormancy, which the breeder calls "stratifying"
  • This planned exposure to cold should be set 1-3 months before the start of cultivation
  • The dormancy is broken in the refrigerator, usually 1 month of cold is enough
  • Stratify rare seeds longer to be on the safe side

The seeds are usually obtained from your own harvest in autumn. Of course, you can also spend the winter outside on the window sill or in an unheated room in order to be prepared for sowing by exposure to the cold.

Prepare potting soil

Potting soil can be bought ready-made. Details on substrates for strawberries can be found in the article "The best substrate for strawberries". What is explained there also applies in principle to potting soil, with the difference that commercially available growing substrate is freed of nutrients until it is absolutely sterile.

One more argument to mix the potting soil yourself: Strawberry plants are not imported exotic plants that cannot do anything with the local soil organisms and therefore have to be placed in a sterile environment. Strawberries are native plants that can handle a few native germs in the soil. Surely they should also cope if they are to be put in the garden or in a bucket later. Because the completely germ-free growing medium from the trade could prove to be just as critical for the development of healthy young plants as the "completely germ-free household" with chemicals for the development of healthy babies. How to put together a good potting soil for strawberries:

  • 3 parts of garden soil
  • 3 parts of garden soil deposited compost
  • 3 parts of coarse sand or fine gravel
  • Some rock flour for the trace elements

If you have it at hand, mix in the finely chopped charcoal from the last grilling. It slows down the excessive fungal growth often observed in potting soil (if there is not enough ventilation). If the compost comes from your own garden, however, it usually contains "property-owned" fungi that repel harmful fungi and bacteria.

Sow strawberries

When the potting soil has been distributed in pots or bowls, the following can be sown:

  • In mid-February at the earliest, before that you would only produce healthy seedlings with special lighting
  • The seeds of normal strawberries should be in the sowing pot by the beginning of March at the latest if you want to harvest normally in June / July
  • Let the seeds soak in lukewarm water before sowing
  • Scatter into the prepared bowls / pots
  • The light germs must not be "buried", only lightly dusted with earth
  • Cover the seed container so that it is translucent so that light comes in but the seedlings are not exposed to too intense radiation
  • Ventilate this cover frequently, otherwise the mold will be happy (at least every 2nd day)
  • Now all you have to do is pay attention to the humidity and otherwise wait
  • Depending on the variety, age of the seeds, and temperature, strawberry seeds need 2 to 6 weeks to germinate
  • When the seedlings grow, they need air, so remove the cover
  • The seedlings are pricked out with the first new leaves (at a height of 2 cm)
  • When real little plants of around 5 cm have grown, these plants can move into the garden.

Tip: If you sow the seeds in portions and plant them out, you will get a permanent harvest over the summer even with single-bearing strawberries. In contrast to everbearing strawberries, this is not about "a few strawberries", but about a harvest with which you can bake at least one cake. If you sow strawberry plants that have been alive for several years, you cannot look "too late"; in case of doubt, only a few flowers appear during the season (which you can then remove), the strawberries take root well over the winter and come out big next year.

Prefer strawberries

Strawberries are vigorous rose plants that used to grow in almost every forest and at every edge of the forest where there was some light from above and some humus from below, throughout Europe and North Asia.

A plant with such a distribution must have good reproductive strategies, which is indeed the case with strawberries: In addition to seeds, they form runners that conquer the ground from the mother plant and remain connected to it until they are separate plants can exist.

But that doesn't necessarily apply to the commercial cultivars, as mentioned above, few of these varieties will seed and the rest will either not form runners or runners that won't make you happy. However, you will not miss many cultivars if you prefer to choose strawberry varieties that still have the full genetic inventory: 30 strawberry varieties make up the majority of the strawberries grown industrially in Germany, 10 of which end up in the supermarket. You won't miss a lot of taste, because the commercial fruit varieties were developed with the goal of "fruit that is as easy to handle as possible". In order to achieve this goal, many properties of the strawberry plants have to be optimized - the Bundessortenamt examines up to 40 different criteria before a cultivar is approved for commercial cultivation. The taste is not one of them.


What remains are around 900 old strawberry varieties full of flavor, which still form runners that you can grow separately and move to a new location in the garden when the time comes.

In addition, the old cultivars have so-called driver strawberries, such as Fragaria x ananassa 'Maizauber', which wear very early anyway and are often brought forward for precisely this reason - that is the first strawberry harvest of the year, in the whole area.
If you like to try something out, look around for Fragaria virginiana 'Maikönigin' ('May Queen', 'Reine de Mai'), a scarlet strawberry. The variety was bred in England in 1857 and bears orange to vermilion fruits that are ripe as early as May if pre-grown in good time.

"Lazy gardeners" only sow strawberries once, which form dense carpets and then take care of further sowing / spreading themselves. For example Russian carpet strawberries (Fragaria vesca var. Vesca) or semi-wild Vescana hybrids from Fragaria x ananassa + Fragaria vesca, which come in the varieties 'Annelie', 'Florika', 'Rebecka', 'Sara' and 'Spadeka' as "strawberry meadow" " sold. With these varieties, even the most elaborate manual maintenance measures no longer make a lot of work: The trimming of the old strawberry leaves can be done with the lawnmower (do not set too deep, the inner heart leaves must be preserved).