- Variety selection
- Seeds or seedlings
- Planting with seeds
- Seed preparation
- Soil preparation
- Sowing seeds
- Care and feeding
- Top dressing
To grow strawberries at home on the window, it is enough to allocate space on the windowsill, prepare a flower box, and know the basic rules of care. We will tell you about the choice of variety, feeding and technology for growing strawberries at home all year round.
To grow your favorite seasonal berries, it is not necessary to equip a greenhouse, it is enough to select a windowsill on the sunny side and take care of the plants, providing conditions for full growth and fruiting. At the start, you need to decide on the variety of berries, on which the subsequent result depends.
For home cultivation of strawberries, you need to choose remontant varieties. They bear fruit more than once a year, as usual, but two or more, moreover, abundantly. However, both nutrition and care must be relevant, that is, appropriate.
Repair strawberries are divided into several categories, depending on the length of daylight hours. It is called that, only in an abbreviation: DSD – long daylight hours, and NSD – neutral daylight hours, which is more typical for most regions.
Cultivars where flower buds are born with long daylight hours bear fruit twice a year: in early summer and early autumn. Also, DSD varieties are characterized by predominant fruiting for the second harvest. Its share is 60-90% of the total mass of berries.
The second category of remontant strawberries is able to bear fruit continuously all year round. This species is not whimsical to care for, it is resistant to variable humidity, lighting and unstable temperature conditions. These features are key when choosing a variety for home cultivation and regular fruiting..
Light-loving remontant strawberry varieties include: “Inexhaustible”, “Autumn fun”, “Crimean”, “Garland”. The unpretentious neutral species include: “Queen Elizabeth” I and II, “Brighton”, “Roman F1”, etc. It is worth noting that the variety “Queen Elizabeth” surpasses other varieties in terms of the number and size of fruits, the frequency of fruiting.
Seeds or seedlings
If you decide to speed up or facilitate the process and buy ready-made seedlings, pay attention to the development of the plant. A good sign of a healthy bush is the presence of 3-5 developed leaves and an embryo (buds for ripening future berries). It is better to buy seedlings in a specialized store, then you can count on compliance with the declared variety and the proper quality of planting material. Ready-made seedlings can be planted in separate pots or long flower boxes at a distance of 15 cm.
Planting with seeds
The seeds should be worked a little. To sow seeds and get healthy seedlings at home, you need:
- Soaking the seeds will speed up the germination process. To do this, take a transparent plastic container with a lid and poke holes in it with a sewing needle. This is necessary for air circulation.
- Cover the bottom of the container with gauze or cotton pads. Dampen material and spread seeds. Cover them on top with damp cotton pads.
- Close the container with a lid and place in a warm place for 2-3 days. If you are soaking several varieties, be sure to mark the containers accordingly..
- Now proceed to the stratification (hardening) of the seeds. This is necessary to simulate winter weather conditions, in order to accelerate the awakening of seeds and get quick shoots.. Place the container with cotton pads in the refrigerator. Remember to control the humidity level. Open the lid of the container every 1-2 days and moisten the cotton pads.
After two weeks, the seeds are ready for sowing in the ground.
To grow strawberries at home, you can use garden soil or purchase a multi-purpose mixture at the store. The earth should be crumbly. The best option: mix in equal proportions forest soil, garden soil, and sand. Soil preparation should start in conjunction with seed stratification.
Disinfect the soil by heating it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. However, beneficial bacteria are destroyed along with the parasites. Allow the earth to cool down for 2–3 weeks to restore nutrient balance. During this time, the seeds will go through the stratification stage and will be ready for sowing..
For sowing seeds, you can use improvised containers: plastic boxes, flower pots, cardboard boxes. The height of the sides should be at least 10 cm. Fill the container with earth and start sowing seeds:
- Use a pencil to make shallow grooves of 0.7-1 cm with a distance of 3-4 cm.
- Since the germination rate of seeds is about 40%, it is necessary to sow seeds often..
- Gently grind the grooves with earth, no more than 0.5 cm.
- Cover the container with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 4-5 days.
After the first leaves appear, remove the film and transfer the container with seedlings to a well-lit place. Better if it is a windowsill on the south side.
When the seeds have released several pairs of leaves, the seedlings can be dived into separate permanent containers..
Take a spacious wooden or plastic box, pour a thin layer (1-2 cm) of expanded clay or fine gravel on the bottom for drainage. Pour a second layer of fertile soil. The depth of the earthen “cushion” should be 10-15 cm.
Make holes 8-12 cm apart and plant the seedlings. Moisten the soil regularly.
Knowing how to grow seedlings from seeds, you can choose any variety of strawberries and gain invaluable experience and a bountiful harvest year-round. If the strawberry grows, transplant the newly formed bushes into separate containers..
A few tips:
- Mature plants do not tolerate transplanting well. When planting seedlings, choose a spacious container in which the plant will live for a long time..
- The capacity can be any, if its volume is at least three liters per one bush. If you take, for example, long balcony boxes with a volume of about 15 liters, then you can plant 5-7 strawberry bushes, at a distance of at least 15 cm. This need is associated with the active growth and development of the plant.
- The bottom of the tank must be laid out with a layer of drainage (you can take expanded clay, pebbles or broken brick).
Care and feeding
Strawberries are not whimsical to care for. Growth stimulants should not be used – with a sufficient amount of ultraviolet radiation and optimal moisture, the plants will regularly bear fruit.
It is better to place pots with plants on windowsills facing the east or south-east side. The quality of the fruit directly depends on the amount of sunlight. For fresh air circulation, it is enough to leave the window sash in the ventilation position..
If the climate in your region does not often please with sunny weather, then it makes sense to buy a simple ultraviolet lamp that will promote photosynthesis all year round. Remember to keep the soil moist.
To prevent plants from drying out while you are away, use the greenhouse effect method. To do this, moisten the soil well, and cover the container with the plant with plastic wrap or plastic bag. Do not forget about the “breath” of plants: make holes for air circulation.
Strawberries must be nourished with nutrients. For this, you can use mineral and organic complexes: nitrophoska, potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, wood ash, etc. The first feeding should be carried out during the growing season, with the formation of a couple of real leaves. Choose your favorite top dressing recipes, and alternate their use 4 times a year, excluding the fruiting period:
- 1 tsp nitroammophos for 5 liters of water;
- 1/2 tsp boric acid, 15 drops of iodine, 1/2 cup of wood ash per 5 liters of water;
- Soak a liter jar of crusts and slices of rye bread in two liters of warm water, keep for 7 days in a warm place. Add three parts of warm water to one part of the sourdough, and add top dressing to the plant;
- Dilute 1 part of sour milk or whey with 3 parts of water;
- mix a tablespoon of nitrophoska with a teaspoon of potassium sulfate per 5 liters of water;
- 1 tbsp. l. Dissolve potassium nitrate in 5 liters of water;
- 50 grams of wood ash per 5 liters of water.
Top dressing should be carried out during the growing season and flowering, as well as after picking berries. At this time, new roots are formed, buds are formed for the next fruiting season. It is important at this time to pay maximum attention to strawberries..
As a rule, strawberries at home are not susceptible to disease. The only feature is the lifespan of plants. Since strawberries of the NSD varieties bear fruit more abundantly and more often, which means that it ages faster, its lifespan is 1 year. As for the varieties of DSD, the fruiting of which is several times poorer than NSD, then their lifespan will increase proportionally and is 2-3 years.