This year marks the first year I added strawberries to my home vegetable garden. In fact I started my strawberries from seed. Through my own account, and the success I am having with them this year, I wanted to post what I did that yielded to me some great results.
You have two choices to start with when it comes to strawberries, an already existing plant that you buy from your home or garden center, or starting them from seed. If you are fairly new to gardening and want to add strawberries it will be much easier for you to start with an already existing plant. However, if you are up for a challenge (albeit a small one), like me, seeds are the way to go.
Also, I chose a variety of strawberry that produces runners. This means that the main plant will shoot off, what look like vines, however that runner will produce another strawberry plant. Then that new plant will produce more runners and the process continues to repeat itself. If planned correctly you can literally plant one seed and have an entire area of strawberry plants within one to two growing seasons. That is what I did. I started three strawberry seeds indoors in a humidity dome, then moved them outdoors about mid May. Now in July, those 3 plants have evolved into over 15 plants. It was much higher but a rabbit somehow got behind the protective fencing I set up.
If the variety you choose has runners at some point you will need to cut some of those runners back once the area you have chosen for your strawberries becomes filled. If you don’t, the strawberries will forever spread. So unless you are great friends with your neighbor, get into the habit of cutting back some runners.
If you are starting from seed, make sure you start them indoors about 8 weeks prior to the last frost in your area. I like to then add a couple more weeks on to the frost end date just to be sure.
Many varieties of strawberries are versatile when it comes to the soil’s pH level. They will grow in the range of 5.5 to 7.0 (acidic to neutral). That is a fairly wide range which makes strawberries easy to grow once they are outdoors.
Although they grow best in full sun, strawberries will grow nicely in partial shade. In fact I have mine planted in an area next to my corn and they are doing great given the corn will shadow them from 2:00 on.
Give your strawberries a moderate watering, meaning the soil your strawberries are planted in should be moist but not saturated. if you do not have a water moisture reader, stick your index finger about an inch into the ground to feel the moisture of the soil.
One downfall of strawberry seeds is their life span isn’t great. Expect 95% to 100% germination rate for seeds under one year and expect lower germination rates with seeds that are older.