One of the French variety that we started in 2018 was the MIGNONETTE Alpine strawberries.
This variety was easy to grow, entered flowering stage at 3 months and a vigorous grower with about 100 – 120 fruits in a 4 months window. This matched growing data from gardeners abroad, even though we started them in a tropical climate. This strawberry variety is hardy in United States zone 5 to 9.
Our seeds were freshly harvested from a private grower and germinated in 4 days with 90% success and they are available for sale in SHOP.
Steps to germinate strawberry seeds at this post.
Our goal since 2016 after learning how strawberries grew, was to grow them better in a systematic method so that at every stage, we minimized the time between one development stage to another. It should be easy for even a novice gardener to understand and learn. It can be cross apply to other cool seasoned plants.
POLLINATE LIKE A BEE !
This method is only taught in our workshop. Hopefully by filling the gap of information from seeds, home gardeners from different growing experiences would be able to scale our level of understanding strawberries even higher.
Mignonette’s journey began on July 13 2018 when the first sprouts were spotted. We used the balancing act method to hasten the germination progress.
Very quickly, more seeds began to germinate over the next few days.
Over the years of growing strawberries from seeds, we observed that seedlings which showed “strong” characteristics will grow to maturity with ease. The signs are quick development from sprouts to standing seedlings. The better seedlings will carry the seeds husks for a while. Development leap from seed leaves to true leaves was within days instead of weeks.
We grew all our workshop seedlings from Heirloom seeds, to offer varieties not available in Singapore to our participants. It is also important that these seedlings started in our natural environment to acclimatize faster.
HIGH K (Potassium) FOR FRUITING PLANTS & NATURAL FERTILIZER
One month old seedlings showed significant leaves development. What was unseen, was how much the roots zone area had progressed.
Beneath the soil, the roots length were about 4 cm and the crown turned pink. Fling Test (new workshop curriculum) is required to establish seedlings at every stage of transplant. This method ensured that transplanted seedlings were set properly to approach flowering stage with ease and reduce transplant stress as much as possible.
Healthy strawberry plants have un-cupped leaves with red stems and thickening crown. They love the sun while roots zone preferred to be cooler.
A scent of sweetness emitted from the plants during active photosynthesis, this became more pronounced during fruiting stage. Thus, pests prevention is a good idea!
CAN BE CUT TO DESIRED SIZES
In our natural environment, strawberries seedlings can grow without a hitch. They love the sun but may still be too young to cope with direct afternoon heat.
The first flower were spotted on October 22 2018 from only a single crown and at 3 month old!
Although small, these fabric pots work very well to carry young seedlings towards flowering stage with ease. In my humble opinion, growing strawberries is easier than tomatoes! They were not fussy at all, readily accepted low soil depth (2 inch) of mini pots.
Even if the fruits bearing stem snapped, it can continue to carry the fruits to ripen with a scotch tape bandage!
With this confidence, we tested and modified more ways to grow them. It is important that the starting stage from germination to 3 months, was established properly. Thereafter, we could plant them in mini or high pots or any way we want to grow them.
Mignonette Variety is a vigorous grower. Even in a less than ideal environment or low soil depth, they will produce many berries. Once these mini starter plants were plugged into their permanent pot, they continue to thrive without transplant stress. We developed a crossing over technique to ensure they are able to ease over to new environment.
In addition to growing seedlings for workshop, we also grow to learn.
For example, understanding how roots developed is important for hydro or soil based nutrients application. This new understanding allowed us to find new ways to grow them better and more importantly, faster to fruit in our natural environment.
Other trials included moving mature seedlings from soil to liquid base to study how they adapt to new environment.
We saw that they adapted with ease although fruiting was delayed. Their soil based comrades were fruiting aggressively whiles these new hydro seedlings were still pondering at the change of environment! 🙂
From here, we understood that any change in their growing environment can delay fruiting progress even though they remain healthy plants. Our learning journey over the years is not wasted, because we now fully understand these plants and know how to tweak our environment to “cheat” them to fruiting without the perks of a cooler climate!
Sweet fruits of our labour, from Nov 01 2018 ! 🙂