Magazine article Sunset

Strawberries from Seed ... Should You Try? Have You Tried?

Magazine article Sunset

Strawberries from Seed ... Should You Try? Have You Tried?

Article excerpt

You can grow strawberries from seed, but is it worth the effort? To find out, we tried it ourselves.

The only large-fruited variety offered as seed is 'Sweetheart', and its catalog description is tempting: "Great big ever-bearing strawberries with real berry flavor . . . 120 days from sowing to first fruit." Who could resist, especially when a packet of 50 seeds, for less than $2, would result in a whole strawberry bed? Our test seeds were planted in March. After a month, seedlings were spaced evenly in a seed pan to grow into sturdy transplants with several leaves. These wre moved into a wooden planting box (1 foot wide, 5 feet long, and 1 foot deep) containing a commercial planting mix.

With routine watering and feeding, the plants grew rapidly and produced numerous vigorous offsets on long runners. But the few flowers that formed yielded only a few tiny, misshapen fruits.

A year later, we lifted one sturdy, well-rooted runner plantlet of 'Sweetheart' and set it in a similar box alongside six plants of 'Sequoia', purchased at a nursery. The photograph above, taken three months later, shows the striking superiority of 'Sequoia'. …

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