Friends With Plants
Menu
Walderdbeere

Wild Strawberry

Jude Jude
25/02/2022 · 7 minutes reading time

Help your February plants grow big and colourful!


February is over, and that means one thing: it's time to plant your second strip of seed-paper from The Growable Calendar! This month is wild strawberry. Because seriously, who doesn't love strawberries??

Here's what's ahead:


Getting Started

Okay, so we're about to get a bit wild. Strawberry wild, that is.

The wild strawberry may have smaller fruits than the traditional variety we all know and love, but these ones are much more flavourful than their big sisters that hog the limelight. The strawberries also bring joy to insects of all kinds, who absolutely adore their flowers and fruits – those sweet sweet vitamins, baby.

Incidentally, most of the better-known varieties of strawberry grown today are the result of cross-breeding scarlet strawberries with Chilean strawberries, both of which come from the Western Hemisphere. Before this feat of engineering, which was successful around 1750, wild strawberries were the only strawberries known in Europe. They still grow wild in forests today – just keep an eye out for bright red fruits as you enjoy your first summer walk.

So let's get cracking on your February seeds from The Growable Calendar.

Quick Tips

Quick tips at a glance:

  • Sowing depth: 0.2 cm, light germinator

  • Germination temperature: 20°C

  • Germination period: 14-42 days

  • Row spacing: 20 cm

  • Plant distance: 15 cm

  • Root depth: 15 cm

  • Indoor sowing/harvest: February-March/May-September

  • Sow outdoors/harvest: May/August–September

  • Type: Medium Eater

  • Location: semi-shady to sunny

  • Soil: rich in humus, loose, moist, slightly acidic

Reife Walderdbeere


Sowing

Here's what you'll need:

  • Pots or cultivation tray

  • Potting soil

  • Shower ball

For growing outdoors: Prepare your soil with compost. If you've got loamy soil, that can be treated with sand before you sow.

For growing indoors: Fill the seed pots or seed tray with soil up to 1 cm below the rim. Rip out the calendar sheet and tear it into small snippets, each snippet containing one seed. Put one piece of seed-paper lettering side down onto the soil. Be sure to keep your seeds at a distance of approximately 2 cm. Once your seeds are down, sprinkle some soil on top, then give it a good watering. Next, put it in a bright, warm place, and be sure to not let it dry out until germination. Putting a foil over it helps to maintain a favourable microclimate. Think climate control, but for your plant-babies. You'll want to remove the foil for a few minutes each day to prevent mould growth, because…ew.

Transplanting

For transplanting indoors: It can take four to six weeks for your strawberry plants to form multiple pairs of leaves in their nursery pots or nursery tray. When this happens, it's time to transplant them. To do this, use larger pots – approx 11 cm in diameter – which you fill with garden soil this time, as your plants now need a little more nutrients to grow. Carefully lift your wild strawberries out of the old pots with a pricking stick and place them in their new homes with their roots.

From the pot to the bed: If you have a garden, you can transplant your wild strawberries from the pot to the bed as soon as there are no more night frosts to be expected (around mid-May). To do this, dig holes deep enough for your plant and its roots to fit into. Press the soil down again and water it.

From the pot to the pot/balcony box: If you don't have a garden, your wild strawberries can be moved to balcony boxes or hanging baskets in mid-May. They are shallow diggers, so you won't need particularly deep pots for their roots. Just make sure there is enough planting distance so that they have enough space to develop. To provide your hungry little strawberries with enough nutrients, transplant them into high-quality, peat-free, organic garden soil or vegetable soil.

Transplanting (outdoors): Did you sow your seeds directly into a bed? Perfect! Then you've saved yourself the transplanting – unless they have grown too close together. In this case, you can simply lift them out of the ground with a pricking stick or pencil, and then put them back into the ground at a given distance. What comes next? You guessed it: watering!

Walderdbeere in der Hand


Location

The most important clue is in the name: Wild strawberries need conditions similar to those found in the forest.

Forest soils are some of the best soils your plants can enjoy. In a healthy mixed forest (and this does not mean an economically used monoculture) there is living, humus-rich soil. No wonder everything that dies gets recycled. Leaves, animal remains, dead wood – everything is decomposed and made available again to all living things. (*Hey Siri, play Elton John's "The Circle of Life" please*) It's a state that you should strive for in your own garden too: A cycle in which nutrients do not go to waste, one in which the soil can regenerate itself.

However, our gardens are often far from forests. We can help by adding mulch (i.e. spreading protective layers of leaves, grass clippings or similar over the beds) and working with compost.

When choosing a location for your wild strawberries, think about it: what's closest thing to a forest? Is there a light tree under which the soil is damp, loose and humus? Perfect! If you don't have a place like that, you can plant taller wildflowers next to your wild strawberries to give them some shade and give them those humussy, foresty vibes.

By the way, it is also advantageous if beans or potatoes have previously grown in the same place the year before. These prepare the soil perfectly for medium eaters, as they loosen it up well. Plus, more than anything, beans store nutrients. But more on that in an upcoming article.

Good and Bad Neighbours

Good: borage, lettuce, garlic, leeks, radishes, chives, spinach, onion

Bad: cabbage

Diseases and Pests

Snails love strawberries. I mean, who can blame them? Still, if they get to your strawberries first, then that means none, for you. Collect snails by either placing wooden boards around the strawberries, under which they crawl during the day, or by laying straw under the strawberries. Not only will this prevent the fruit from hanging too low the ground and potentially getting dirty, but it also makes it difficult for snails to crawl over it and steal your strawberry goodness.

Mildew: One important thing is to make sure you only water your strawberries from below – do not wet the leaves. Putting garlic cloves between strawberry plants protects against mould diseases. Bonus: This also keeps the vampires away. But mostly the mildew.


Harvest and Storage

Harvest time is whenever the fruits are red and will fall into your hands when you pick them.

Depending on site conditions and weather, this can be as early as May, and the harvesting season can last well into September. Incidentally, some plants only produce flowers and fruit in the second year – this is completely normal, and it's not that your plants dislike you or anything. They just sometimes need a bit of time to come out of their shell.


Time to enjoy!

You probably don't need us to tell you how to use your wild strawberries. Pick them up and put it in your mouth and enjoy. Why complicate things?

If you want to make the effort, you can also use them to make jam. This is quicker if you add large strawberries.

Dessert

We also find that the flavour of wild strawberries works great in a tart or on a shortcake. Put them in your yoghurt or use them as eyes on your pancakes. Maybe use them to learn how to juggle. There really is no end to how you can use your wild strawberries. And we can't wait to see and hear how you love them!


So let's talk about it! What do YOU think about planting these wild strawberry seeds? Let us know in the comments below how you find your experience growing this delicious fruit from Jack of All Trades edition of The Growable Calendar!