Strawberries (From Seed)
Best started indoors in early March. These seeds are very tiny and should be sown on the surface of the soil. Sprinkle seed very thinly over the surface of the soil and cover flats or trays with a clear plastic wrap, bag or dome to hold moisture and humidity within the soil. Provide bottom heat to maintain a soil temperature of 15-21°C (60-70°F), which will maintain a temperature at seed level of 15-18°C. Seeded trays should be kept from any direct bright light until seeds germinate. Trays can then be moved to a sunny location. If the temperature fluctuates widely, then germination will be very poor. Germination will take 3-4 weeks. After 4-6 weeks, transplant tiny seedlings into 2x2" pots until they are ready to be placed permanently outdoors. Light feedings with a well balanced fertilizer can begin at this time.
Thrive in full sun to partial shade with a soil pH of 5.5-7.0. Moderate feeders. Alpine strawberries are perennials and special care should be given to area in which they will be permanently planted. Prepare a rich well drained soil by adding plenty of compost and well rotted manure to the area. Use bonemeal and compost teas or other balanced fertilizers during the growing season.
Pick once the fruit has fully ripened to a crimson red. (These strawberries will be much smaller than commercial types).
Pests & Diseases:
Red Spider Mite is easily recognizable by the first signs of fine speckling on the upper surface of the leaves, which eventually lose colour and become hardened. In severe attacks, webbing can be seen on the underside of the leaves. Mites love dry air and dust, so wash off foliage with a jet of water in dusty seasons. An excellent all-natural bio-degradable insecticide is Safer's Natural Insecticide. Mulch over winter for protection.