From Fruit to Garden: A Guide to Saving Seeds From Strawberry
Have you ever wondered if it's possible to harvest and grow strawberries from seeds?
The idea of saving strawberry seeds for planting may have crossed your mind. After all, strawberries are unique as they're the only fruit with seeds on the outside. In this blog, we'll explore the exciting world of growing strawberry seeds and reveal the secrets behind successfully harvesting and cultivating these delicious fruits.
Can I Harvest Strawberry Seeds?
The short answer is a resounding "yes." However, growing strawberries from seeds requires a bit more effort than you might expect. Strawberry flowers naturally self-pollinate, which means that if seeds are saved and used repeatedly, the resulting plants may produce less-than-stellar berries due to inbreeding.
How to Harvest Strawberry Seeds?
To help you navigate the process, we'll follow the method shared by Adam Alexander, also known as The Seed Detective, for harvesting strawberry seeds:
- Choose the Right Variety: It's crucial to save seeds only from traditional open-pollinated varieties.
- Select the Best Fruits: Handpick a handful of the finest strawberries. Blend them in a liquidizer and strain the pulp through a fine sieve.
- Extract the Seeds: Rinse the leftover seeds under the tap and spread them on grease-proof paper to dry in a warm, airy place.
- Store for Future Planting: Place the dry seeds in an envelope and store them in a cool, dry place like the refrigerator until you're ready to sow them for free plants next year.
- Prepare the Seeds: Strawberry seeds require a period of cold, called stratification, to trigger germination. In early fall, sprinkle the collected strawberry seeds onto the surface of a 4-inch pot filled with a mixture of sand, fine grit, and compost.
- Provide Moisture and Cover: Water the surface lightly, then cover it with a fine layer of grit and a clear plastic bag. Leave the pot in a shady spot until early spring, when you can transfer it to a warm greenhouse or a sunny windowsill. If there haven't been many frosts over winter, consider placing the pot in the freezer for a week before bringing it indoors.
- Select the Strongest Seedlings: Be patient, as seedlings may take time to emerge. Once they have four leaves in late spring, choose a few of the healthiest-looking ones and pot them in regular compost. Place them in a cold frame or any warm and sheltered spot in the garden.
- Plant in Their Permanent Position: In late summer, move the young strawberry plants to their permanent position, alongside suitable companion plants for strawberries. With luck, you'll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest the following year.
It's essential to note that while saving strawberry seeds is a great way to obtain free plants, the resulting plants may show significant variation due to the complex breeding and hybridization of modern strawberry cultivars. This means that the plants grown from these seeds may not always exhibit the same vigor as the parent plants.
Drying and Storing Strawberry Seeds
Drying strawberry seeds is a simple process. Lay them out on a paper towel in a cool, dry place. Simon Crawford suggests placing them on a sunny windowsill to expedite drying. Once dry, store the seeds in a cool, dry place such as an envelope or an airtight bag until you're ready to start planting in the new year.
So, to answer the question, "Can I harvest strawberry seeds?"—the answer is a definite "yes." With careful selection, extraction, and storage, you can grow strawberries from seeds and embark on an exciting journey of cultivating your own delicious fruits.
Remember, while the results may vary, the joy and satisfaction of growing your own berries!🍓🍓💚