Strawberry Alpine Fragiria - Seeds
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Alpine strawberries are known by their scientific name Fragaria vesca. This species is a large and varied species that occurs in many parts of the world.
The jewel-like fruits of Alpine Strawberries(Fragaria Vesca Sempervirens) are a special delicacy you can enjoy every summer. These charming and well-behaved perennial plants yield continuous harvests of tiny, 3/4 inch berries with an intensely concentrated flavor. Alpine strawberries are cultivated strains of wild or woodland strawberries and are reported to have been transplanted into domestic gardens as early as the 12th century - which is easy to understand as their aroma and flavor are unmatched as garden berries.
The following conditions are essential to successful germination.
- Soil should be moist at all times during the germination period. This period can take as long as two months but usually initiates in 8 days and most germination is complete within 30 days of sowing. Soil moisture can be maintained with capillary matting, wick systems, humidity domes, or other similar systems or combinations of these methods.
- Temperature is critical to germination. The acceptable temperature range is 60 - 75F. The lower range is suggested for night temperature and the higher end of the range for maximum daytime temperatures. Seeds will germinate outside this range but germination may not be complete or may be delayed or accelerated. Higher temperatures will promote germination but may also reduce germination and cause drying conditions that will threaten the continuing growth of the seedlings. Note: the temperatures referred to above is the soil temperature, not the air temperature which may be significantly different.
- Light is essential for optimal germination. Seed should be surface sown and if covered, covered very lightly with medium. Use the sand to hold down the media and parts of the media that seeds may be attracted to. The sand keeps the seeds in contact with the media and the color of the sand can be used to easily determine by color variation whether the media is wet or dry.
The number of seeds per cell or container is a matter of preference. With rare seeds it is probably best to sow one seed per unit. If one is aiming for at least one plant per unit it is recommended to sow 2-3 or more seeds per unit. This is also dependent on the germination test results. With low germinating seed or old seed it may take more that 3 seeds per unit to get 100% of the units with at least one seedling.
Once most seedlings have germinated humidity domes should be removed. If left on too long the high humidity can lead to seedling diseases. When seedlings suddenly wilt and die, seedling disease is the likely cause.
The seedlings should be allowed to grow in their cells/containers until they are root-bound enough to remove without the root ball falling apart. The time to reach this stage varies with many factors including the growing conditions and the size of cell/container.
Fertilization is needed especially in soilless media that has no initial fertilizer charge. Mixing one part worm castings to 9 parts of soilless mix works very well for growing in plug trays. Supplement this with a castings tea that we brew. This tea has shown itself to help reduce pests and provides nutrition.
Once the rootball can be removed from the cell/container, the plants can be transplanted to larger containers or to the garden. We do not recommend that small plants be planted directly in the garden. This is because at the recommended final spacing it is too much work and too time consuming to weed the area. We recommend that plants be up-potted one or more times to larger containers before moving to the garden bed.
A special note about planting depth: Strawberries in general are sensitive to planting depth. They should not be transplanted deeper they were originally. Keep in mind that if you use one inch of mulch you should plant the plant 1” higher than the current soil surface. Deep planting leads to many problems including crown rots.
Fruit should be picked when fully ripe for best taste and aroma. You should not pick less than ripe fruit unless a storm or other threat is expected to affect the crop. Picking less than fully ripe fruit will affect the quality of the fruit. All alpine fruit readily separates from its calyx when it is ready. We are used to seeing strawberries in the grocery store with their calyx or cap. Pictures of harvested alpines almost never are shown with their calyx.
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