Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alpine strawberries are not worth the effort.

Today I decided to give up on the Temptation strawberries, and Alpine strawberries altogether. So far I have tried two different varieties from seed, and neither one has been worth the effort. My wife said "they taste like un-sweetened Kool-Aid", and I agree. The Sarian, however, seems to be worth growing, but I will be more able to make that call when they begin producing berries. As the Sarian sends out lots and lots of runners, I doubt I will have to grow them from seed again. The pistils on the flowers are fairly large, and I am waiting to see how big the berries are when they form. If I get a good size berry I will grow a few next winter.
I decided to cut the Temptation plant off at the base, as it was very large and blocking the other plants from receiving adequate light. When I removed the debris I found that the Sarian had many runners rooted in the hydroton. Some of the runners were removed and planted in soil in a strawberry pot, and I decided to cold store a few for winter growing. It took awhile but I did find some information on storing runners. First the soil, if any, must be removed. The runner is soaked in an anti-microbial solution. (I used Hydroguard) The mature leaves were removed leaving just a nub of stem at the base. Small leaves, two inches or less, were left attached. Each individual runner was wrapped in plastic, and then placed into a plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator for a few months. The runners I placed in cold storage now look exactly like the runners I purchased from Agway early in the spring. Not exactly rocket science.
The Seascape seems to be the best choice at this point. The plants; both in the hydroponic system, and in the soil, are really doing well. One plant has a gigantic berry just about ripe and I am waiting to pick it. I have seen plants produce a "king berry" first and then produce smaller berries afterward. All of the plants are producing a "king berry" more or less, but the other berries seem to be fairly large also. It may be just my imagination, and perhaps they will all be "king berries" when they grow up. Lets hope so.

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