Our first exploration of white strawberries was WHITE SOUL on August 23 2015 in soil. In 2017, we learned how to grow in liquid base, and began new exploration using KRATKY hydroponics method. This post is a rewrite of the journal from 2015 to compare notes between soil based and KRATKY, non circulating hydroponic. The latter’s setup looked something like this –
2015 – Germination was very fast, only 6 days. Seeds were sowed on August 23 after freezing overnight and they germinated on August 29.
Not all white varieties germinate within the same length of time (less than 10 days), some varieties were slower, about 14 days. Please check out germination method at this post.
New method utilizing heat and light while balancing with cool in natural environment was developed in 2018 for speedier germination. This method is only taught in our workshops. For most cool seasoned plants, including lavenders, now used the balancing act to germinate.
2018 – 7 days to germinate
The germination time was about the same for soil based or hydro White Soul variety. In these observation, the seedlings were very small compared to red varieties.
FREEZING LENGTH (Seeds)
We also experimented in 2015 whether seeds that had been frozen longer would made any improvement on the speed to germinate seeds.
A second batch was sowed on October 16 2015, after freezing over a month, and they germinated on October 21, 5 days later. Thus, the length of (seeds) freeze did not make much difference.
WHITE SOUL OBSERVATIONS
Whether sowed on soil or other medium, the seedlings are very small and frail compared to the red strawberries.
They are very delicate plants and transplant process was difficult. Young seedlings have very low survival rate when we tried them in 2015. The risk of failed seedlings increased with every transplant. Thus do not transplant too many times.
This variety may be difficult for beginner gardener to attempt. Every stage can be a challenge without prior knowledge of growing them from seeds and how to troubleshoot when symptoms of stress appeared. Much of what we learned from growing this variety formed the formation of our workshop’s curriculum on the challenges and how to resolve them.
The heirloom characteristics of red stem showed by the third week. At this stage, the roots were about 1 cm long.
We transplanted most of the soil based seedlings before the crown developed. The growth rate of this medium was slower than liquid based plants. Among the white varieties, White Soul grew the slowest.
In soil, they often die without warning. The leaves drooped and brown after being transplanted. We learned the most insights by growing this delicate variety.
Seedlings in liquid base grew faster compared to soil based. Knowledge on how to settle the seedlings and hydro nutrients are necessary to grow them in liquid base. Not all nutrients are suitable. Trial and error experiments to get our KRATKY formula right.
RATE OF GROWTH – Height , New Leaves
Were slower compared to other varieties, especially from germination to third month. In soil, this variety was an uphill challenge at snail pace at every stage.
In liquid base, they grew faster even without any high technology conveniences. However without prior handling experience of strawberries or/and no hydroponic knowledge, they are difficult to grow.
Whether soil or liquid base, this variety remained slow and small compared to red varieties.
They tolerate morning sun and early afternoon heat well from the forth month. More growth was observed from 4th month.
Not heat but rain killed young White Souls seedlings on January 18 2016..
This trial tested whether they could adapt to natural environment without shelter from heat and rain. Thus 30 plants were sacrificed for this test and planted in 60 L of natural compost outdoor.
From pioneer batches of 30 seedlings,
only one seedling survived this experiment.
At the height of our hot months, White Soul variety suffered stress from heat. The entire plant drooped like this.
Removal from stress source will revive these plants. In soil, icing down soil relieved the plants. It is not recommended to grow white soul outdoor.
PLANTS STRESS SIGNAL
Our first exploration in 2015, in soil, was not successful. All the flowers dried up and the plants seem in poor health. From this experience, we learned how to read strawberry plants’ signal and what were they telling us before rushing to apply a remedy.
A wrong remedy add more stress to plants already in distress. For example, adding fertilizer can kill.
White Soul leaves like most other white varieties are lighter green and thin texture.
A healthy plant showed open faced leaves and not cupped as illustrated by above picture.
Soil based White Soul enter flowering stage at 8 months, whereas Kratky was 4 months.
In White Soul, the initial flowers may not turned into fruits. Most dried up.
Even with the best bee at work! 🙂
Liquid Based plants enter flowering stage at around the 4th month.
Typical of white strawberries, White Soul turning into fruits from pollinated flowers took about 3 weeks to fully form.
The first flush of flowers may not turned, thus we learned to prune off rather than keeping on the plant. Trimming off encourage more buds and fruits form better on the next round.
The fruits start oddly shaped and fill up later.
- Fruits size are small
- Not uniformly shaped
- White flesh outer and inner
- Musky scent and taste, mild
- Flesh soften very quickly
White Soul variety provides a good learning experience for immediate level strawberries gardeners, because they are challenging. Overcoming their constant pitfalls in our natural environment enable us to handle any type of strawberries. Learn about other challenges of growing white strawberries in our climate here!
The plant remained small compared to other varieties, but fruit production can be vigorous.
Seeds are available for sale in SHOP .