Alpine strawberries - my experience of growing from seeds
Seed propagation in the usual strawberry garden, unfortunately, leads to the appearance of less productive plants and weaker bushes. But another type of these sweet berries - alpine strawberries, can be successfully grown from seeds. Let's find out about the main advantages and disadvantages of this culture, consider the main varieties and features of agricultural technology. The information presented in this article will help you decide whether to allocate a place for her in the berry.
Features of Alpine Strawberries
Alpine strawberries are a variety of the beloved wild strawberries, famous for its sweet taste and unforgettable aroma. In the wild, such strawberries grow in Europe in the mountains.
The difference from garden strawberries (popularly known as strawberries) is mainly in size. Alpine strawberries have small foliage and small berries. The fruits are larger than the wild strawberries, but much smaller than the "strawberries" - one to three centimeters long and weighing 3-7 grams. Sizes can vary greatly, depending on the variety and level of soil fertility.
The shape of the berry in most cases is elongated, conical. Coloring can be red, yellowish and almost white. Plants grow in the form of a small compact bush, which over time grows in breadth.
In contrast to the "strawberry", this species does not form a mustache at all. By type of fruiting, alpine strawberries are remontant. That is, unlike garden strawberries, as a rule, one-time fruiting in the beginning of summer, the Alpine will bring the crop all season. However, the appearance of the fruits of this berry is still not continuous, but rather has a wave character.
The first wave of berries appears in early June, after which the plant rests for a while, and soon begins to give back the crop with renewed vigor. A total of 3-4 such waves can be expected per season. At the same time, the last berries are tied in late autumn, and the final wave of the crop can be harvested in October.
Alpine strawberries - my growing experience
I acquired the seeds of this culture, seduced by the repairing nature of fruiting, because the harvest period of my favorite “strawberry” is so fleeting, and I want to enjoy my favorite berries longer. Considering that seedlings of alpine strawberries begin to bear fruit 5-6 months after sowing, I started growing seedlings in late February.
Strawberry seeds are very small, so I used light sifted soil for sowing. In order to ensure uniform sowing, the soil in the container was covered with a small layer of snow, so that the seeds could be easily distributed with a toothpick at some distance from each other.
It is not recommended to fill the seeds with soil on top, as they will need sunlight to germinate. In order to stimulate germination, alpine strawberries need short-term cold stratification. Therefore, the pots, covered with polyethylene, were placed on the door of the refrigerator, where they spent about a week.
After completion of the stratification, the crops, without removing the film from the container, were placed on the lightest window sill, remembering that the sun's rays stimulate the germination of strawberries.
Shoots appeared in about a week, at first individual seeds hatch, and then their mass germination began. At the same time, germination was so high that only the strongest seedlings had to be selected. Since I could not place such a huge bed under the strawberries in the garden.
Strawberry Seedling Care
The first month, seedlings develop very slowly and their first real leaves look a little like strawberry. Seedlings required careful watering from a pipette and spray gun and regular ventilation of the “greenhouse”. But subsequently, their growth is significantly accelerated, and seedlings acquire the appearance characteristic of this species.
The pick was carried out after the appearance of two true leaves. At the same time, I carefully separated the largest seedlings and planted them in 200-milligram cups. Often, alpine strawberries are sown in peat tablets, so you can do without diving. At the same time (following a dive), following the recommendations, I deepened the long legs, and left the “heart” - the middle of the socket on the surface.
How not to make a mistake with the choice of seeds
Some unscrupulous seed producers often sell under the guise of alpine strawberries its close cousin from the Rosaceae family - ducheney. The leaves of this plant are similar to strawberries, and at the initial stages of cultivation it is very difficult to suspect something was amiss. The deception is revealed when the seedlings begin to form an uncharacteristic mustache and bright yellow flowers appear instead of white ones.
Dyusheneya is edible and in a small amount non-toxic, but its berries, which look like strawberries, are completely tasteless. In addition, this plant is very aggressive, and can turn into a real weed in the garden. Judging by the reviews on the Internet, such a forgery is very common, so make sure that the seedlings have a characteristic appearance for strawberries.
In addition to dyusheney, once instead of wild strawberry, I also grew Nepalese cinquefoil. A pretty orange flower, with foliage a bit like strawberries, but with not three, but much more shares.
In May, strawberries grown from seeds bloomed for the first time, while still on the windowsill. Of the flowers that faded at home, the berries did not work, but planted on the beds, strawberries immediately proceeded to bear fruit.
The first berries were small, about 1.5 centimeters, and their number was small, but we regularly gathered two or three berries a day from a bush. The taste of strawberries is very pleased. It differed from the usual taste of strawberries, but did not copy the taste and aroma of wild strawberries, however, it can be unambiguously described as very pleasant.
The berries had a strong sweetness (they completely lacked a slight sourness, characteristic of garden strawberries) and smelled pleasantly. Productivity became high already in the second year and at the peak of the next wave of fruiting berries from the plot could already be enough for jam.
Care of strawberries in the beds
The strawberry plot at our dacha was in the sunniest place, since this culture is photophilous, although it can grow in light partial shade. Minimal care was required, no pests and diseases were noticed during the growing, except that the overripe berries were sometimes eaten by ants.
The distance between plants during planting was 20-25 centimeters, and in the third year the plants closed, forming a solid berry border. To reduce the frequency of watering and reduce the growth of weeds, strawberries were mulched with straw. Watering was carried out only in drought.
When planting in the soil, I did not make any fertilizers, but I noticed that alpine strawberries are very responsive to complex top dressing. And after irrigation with a solution of fertilizers, the berries became twice as large. Strawberries wintered without shelter and easily tolerated frosts, which often were below 30 degrees.
Alpine strawberries grown from seeds bore fruit abundantly and developed well for five years, after which the bushes began to weaken and decrease in size, and in subsequent years some specimens did not come out of winter at all.
As it turned out, alpine strawberries are not a long-lasting culture and it is recommended to renew them every three to four years, growing new seedlings from seeds or rejuvenating by dividing the bush.
In summary, I note that I have never regretted that I settled this plant in my garden. It was always very nice to just enjoy a fresh “strawberry” in the middle of summer or to pick up a handful of berries and make fragrant tea. We also tried to dry the fruits in an electric dryer, after which the berries acquired a more intense original taste, of which you could prepare drinks in the winter or enjoy berries as sweets.
The plot of alpine strawberries in our country house was located along the track, due to the lack of a mustache and compact size, it did not take up much space, did not interfere with the adjacent beds and looked very decorative.
Alpine wild strawberries at home
By the way, among our friends alpine strawberries from seeds for several years in a row successfully grew and fructified on a glazed balcony. At the same time, for the winter, pots with plants were moved to boxes baboutthe bigger size, and "with the head" were covered with polystyrene foam.
Also, due to its compact size, alpine strawberries can be grown on the windowsill, but the plant needs a cold wintering, therefore, in winter culture, the pots are placed in a refrigerator in a room culture.
Pros and cons of growing alpine strawberries
The main virtues alpine strawberries:
- ease of growing from seeds;
- the first fruiting takes place in the year of sowing;
- unpretentiousness in leaving and resistance to typical diseases of garden wild strawberry;
- restrained growth, lack of mustache;
- long, extended for the whole season, fruiting period;
- the ability to pick berries until late autumn. In the absence of severe frosts, berries can be enjoyed until the end of October;
- a large selection of varieties, among which there are yellow hypoallergenic berries.
Minuses alpine strawberries:
- fruits must be collected regularly, as they quickly ripen;
- the berries are very small and completely non-transportable, they are damaged even with ordinary washing with running water;
- plots with wild strawberries attract ants;
- this culture is not durable and requires regular updating every 3-4 years, otherwise the bushes weaken and die;
- small berry size compared to garden "strawberries".
Varieties of Alpine Strawberries
In my garden I grew both red-fruited and yellow-fruited varieties of alpine strawberries, and each of them turned out to be good in its own way. Among the varieties of alpine strawberries with red berries, I grew the following varieties.
Strawberry "Ruyan". This is one of the earliest varieties, starting to ripen about two weeks earlier than other varieties of alpine strawberries. Fruits are narrowly conical and rough due to strongly protruding seeds on the surface, the color is bright red, inside the pulp is dense and pink. The taste and aroma are rich and very pleasant. The weight of the berries ranged from two to five grams.
Strawberry "Baron Solemacher". One of the most popular classic varieties of alpine strawberries, bred by German breeders back in the 30s of the 20th century. Compared to the Ruyan variety, this strawberry has a more rounded shape, with an average weight of 4 grams. The main features of the variety are high productivity, frost resistance and unpretentiousness.
When choosing a variety of alpine strawberries with red fruits, also pay attention to such cultivars as "Alpine giant" and “September surprise”. The first is considered ultra-ripe and has the largest berry of all varieties of this type of strawberry - 10 grams. “September surprise” refers to late-ripening varieties, but impresses with the size of berries, the average value is 7-10 grams. Also for this cultivar is characteristic expressive tart taste.
Other popular varieties of alpine strawberries with red berries: "Alexandria", Rugen, "Dream", Regina, "New" and etc.
Strawberries with yellowish and almost white berries are not only different in their original appearance, but also appreciated due to the fact that they are not damaged by birds, it is allowed for people with food allergies and nursing mothers, and also has very pleasant pineapple shades of taste.
When I first tasted such strawberries, I suggested that it made sense to later replace all red-fruited Alpine strawberries with yellow, as it is much tastier.
Wild strawberry "Golden dessert". This variety seemed to me one of the best, as its taste is much superior to the taste of red fruit varieties. And this is due to the fact that in the taste of the Golden Dessert alpine dugout, the taste of pineapple and caramel is very distinct, so it seems that you eat not berries, but real sweets. The weight of the berries is small, an average of 4 grams, but the yield is high. The color of the fruit is light yellow, the form is broadly conical.
Wild strawberry “Weiss Solemacher” - “white-fruited” variety of the variety “Baron Solemacher” of German selection. The variety is early ripe. The berries are almost white with a slight yellowish-green tint, the shape is conical. This cultivar also has pronounced pineapple notes. The average size of the fruit is 4-5 grams. Winter hardiness is high.
Other popular varieties of alpine strawberries with yellow berries: Milka, "Snow White", Zolotinka, "Yellow Wonder".