Strawberry Seed Growing Information

Alpine Strawberry seeds should be cold-treated before planting. Cold treatment simply involves placing the seeds in an airtight bag or jar and putting the seeds in the freezer for two to four weeks, simulating a winter's exposure. When you remove them from the freezer, leave them in the container without opening it for several hours, to let them slowly get back to room temperature before planting. Then start inside, barely covering the seed.

Strawberries will grow in almost any soil type, but prefer a sandy loam. The important soil factors to consider are adequate water drainage and abundant organic matter. Soil should be well-cultivated and free of perennial weeds. At planting time, soil should be loosened and pulverized to a depth of eight inches. To avoid problems with verticillium wilt, do not plant strawberries where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, strawberries, or raspberries have grown within three years.

Set the plant at the proper depth in the soil; just the tip of the grown should be exposed. Now, spread and set the roots vertically in the soil. Pack the soil firmly around the roots. It is essential to have all parts of the root in contact with the soil. Water plants immediately after planting.

If there is not a good rainfall, you'll need to water plants thoroughly at least twice a week.

After the plants are set out, during the period of fruit bud development in the fall, during production, and after renovation, extra water may be necessary. Generally, an inch of water per week, either supplied by normal rainfall or supplemental waterings, recommended.

The most important aspect of strawberry culture is weed control. Proper site preparation will help control troublesome perennial weeds. After the plants become established, cultivating can begin. Shallow cultivation as close to the plants as possible, combined with hand hoeing, is the recommended practice. To give the strawberry plants maximun growth advantage, weeds should be removed as soon as they appear. Weed control should be practiced until growth stops in the fall.

After growth has stopped in the fall, apply at least a three inch layer of straw, marsh hay, pine needles, sudan grass or other suitable material over the topcs of the plants. Avoid sawdust and leaves because they pack to tightly and smother the plants. Watering the mulch lightly will help settle it and reduce loss from wind.

Mulching helps protect the plants during severe winters, delays growth in spring (to protect against frosts), helps conserve moisture, and, and helps with weed control. Apply a mulch when the temperature drops to about 20 degrees for several days in a row or several times in a week. The rule of thumb is to mulch after the soil is frozen to a depth of one-half inch.

Don't apply mulch after several warm, sunny days. If you mulch during warm weather, the plants may start growing again. Then the plants can be severely damaged when the weather turns cold.

Remove the mulch in spring as soon as new leaf growth begins to turn yellow (due to lack of sunlight); but not before there is still any danger of temperatures dipping into the 20's. Part the mulch over the top of the row, moving the mulch into the alleyways. Leave a thin layer of mulch on the plants to protect the developing berries and help with moisture conservation.

If a strawberry bed is free of weed, disease, or insect problems and has borne a good crop of berries, you should consider fruiting the bed another year. After harvest, remove mulch and now the foliage as close to the bed as possible. Remove weak and extra plants and weeds. Cultivate between the rows of plants, and apply fertilizer.

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