Introduction: No Budget Strawberries

Not many things are as summery and cheerful as strawberries! In this instructable I will show you how to grow your own strawberries from seeds for virtually nothing! It is very fulfilling to be able to grow your own strawberries, AND even more fulfilling on a shoestring budget, using almost only recycled trash re-purposed for gardening. To the point! -

Step 1: Supplies

  • Toilet Rolls (empty yoghurt pots or similar small plastic containers will work but will need drainage holes made in the bottom with a knife)
  • At least one fresh strawberry (from the garden, a shop, or from the wild)
  • Toothpick or similar object
  • Scissor or Knife
  • Small plastic box/container for easily carrying seedlings around
  • Soil (from garden, a shop or from anywhere the outdoors)
  • Transparent plastic bag or sheet of plastic from trash
  • Trowel, spoon or hand for gathering soil with

Step 2: Find at Least One Strawberry

You could pick one growing outdoors or in the wild, or buy a pack of fresh strawberries from a shop.

Step 3: Extract Seeds

The seeds on a strawberry are those tiny little things found on the outside of every strawberry. Take one strawberry, and using a toothpick or knife point, scrape at the seeds to dislodge them and remove them from the fruit. It may be very fiddly to extract them from the fruit depending on the ripeness of the fruit and other factors. It is okay if a bit of the fruit's flesh comes with the seed. I placed them on a piece of paper towel to help dry them out. At this point you could extract far more than you are wanting to germinate to store for the future.

Step 4: Create Seedling Pots From Used Toilet Rolls

To create little pots for the seedlings to germinate in, acquire several used toilet paper rolls. It depends how many seeds you want to germinate, but using this method one toilet roll creates two seedling pots.

  1. Cut the toilet paper roll in half using a scissor or knife.
  2. Make roughly 1.5cm or 1/2 inch long slits about the same length apart all along one edge of the roll.
  3. Fold each segment so that each one overlaps the previous segment.
  4. Voila!

You now have small recycled biodegradable pots for your seedlings that can later be planted directly into a bigger pot once the seedlings have grown!

Step 5: Prepare the Seedling Pots

Using a gardening trowel, spoon or your hand, fill up each pot to the top with soil. You do not need to pack the soil in firmly - loose and well drained soil is best for germinating seeds because they need both water and oxygen to germinate. Once all the pots are filled, pour a little water in each pot, just so that the soil is wet, but not absolutely flooded with water. The soil will compact slightly as you water it.

Step 6: Sow the Seeds and Begin Germination!

  • Get your seeds, and let one or two fall into the middle of each pot. Do not bury them. Strawberry seeds need light to germinate. It is ok if they fall into holes inside the soil slightly.
  • Place the seedling pots inside a small plastic container, simply to make them easier to move around together, and place the entire container inside a see through plastic bag, or alternatively place a see through piece of plastic over the entire container. This helps keep the atmosphere around the seeds warm and humid. Seal the bag by knotting it or using a small piece of wire.
  • Place the sealed container in a window sill or area that gets lots of light.
  • Keep an eye on the soil and water it lightly if it feels dry to the touch. Opening the bag will also allow fresh air into the container.
  • Varying greatly depending on the seed condition, variety, season and ambient temperature etc, your seeds will hopefully germinate and create small visible seedlings in around 2 to 3 weeks. The seeds that I sowed that are pictured actually created small visible seedlings in 11 days. (UK, summertime).

  • Once the seedlings (tiny plants) appear, remove the plastic bag or plastic lid, because the intensified sunlight can burn them in a sealed container at this stage.

Step 7: Transplanting and Harvesting!

To protect my strawberries from insect pests and birds, I grow mine indoors. However, once the seedlings have grown large enough that you can carefully handle them without easily causing damage, you may transplant your strawberry seedlings into the outdoors (or simply into a larger pot to keep indoors). But it is highly recommended to "harden off" the plants if you intend to transplant them outdoors - which means for the week or 10 days prior to actually planting, to expose the seedlings to gradually increasing amounts of outdoor weather. A simple way to do this is to place the seedlings in a shaded wind protected area outdoors during the day, for a little while longer each day, and bringing them indoors at night time.

You can plant the seedlings with their biodegradable toilet paper roll pots directly into a bigger pot or into the ground outside. I recommend breaking or tearing apart the pot slightly though, but do take care to not hurt the seedlings when doing this.

Harvesting

When growing strawberries from seeds, the plant usually creates a crop of strawberries the following year. First the flowers will be produced, which then finally turn into strawberries. Patience is key! Note that seeds from strawberries bought from the supermarket will likely not grow into identical copies of the original strawberries, but this is all part of the surprise! A big tip is to pinch off the flowers (that eventually become strawberries) in the first year - this will allow the plant to become stronger and result in a significantly increased crop of strawberries in the following year. If you have planted your strawberries outdoors, consider using some kind of netting or mesh to protect your precious plants from birds or other pests that will want to eat your strawberries. I hope you've enjoyed this experiment in self sufficiency!

If you like this instructable Please click on the vote button above! :)

Comments

author
DeeMo made it! (author)2017-03-03

Sushi roll takeout containers it turns out are perfect for a 6 pack of strawberry starters :) Now to be patient (ARGH)

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author
gauzz (author)2016-08-08

I live in hot weather, I'm thinking they won't grow here :(

author
Paulusvdh (author)gauzz2017-03-02

I live in the Philippines and I grow my own strawberries. The temperatuur is sometimes around 95 degrees F and no problem. Just give it a try

author
rch (author)gauzz2016-08-09

I live in sunny SoCal in an area that gets temperatures up over 110 degrees F in the summer. We have had very good luck growing strawberries here, other than the occasional pest eating some of the fruit.

Give it a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised!

author
gkist (author)rch2016-08-09

-Ola, espalhe cinzas de queima de madeira por cima das plantas de moranguinhos, informe-se na Internet.

Boate.

author
imerrymary (author)gauzz2016-08-09

I lived in central Florida, next door to "The Strawberry Capital" of Plant City, where summers are in the high 90s for 3 to 4 months with high humidity. The strawberries LOVE it. They even have 2 growing seasons for the berries. Give it a try!

author
offseid (author)2016-09-30

This is a great Instructable, thanks for posting!

author
lsadwdwadw (author)offseid2016-10-05

thank you :)

author
ladymda (author)2016-10-01

I love this, it is easy to follow and it is very well written! Thanks for sharing ;)

P.S. I will certainly try this in the spring :D

author
PDF laboratory (author)2016-08-08

What is the best month to start a plant seed ??? genuary i say.

author

Early spring is said to be the best time to sow strawberry seeds. It depends where you are in the world for what month your spring starts in. Good luck if you try it!

author
damionflynn (author)lsadwdwadw2016-08-09

With the way you are doing them here Isad, it would be relatively easy to start them indoors 3-5 weeks before last frost (or your best estimation of it). Also, many growers use plastic to cover them in early Spring if they plant early and frost is expected. I live on the MS Coast and while hard freezes are rare, we can get them occasionally early Spring so many strawberry growers will use small row covers and start planting in mid February or early March outdoors. While most large growers are growing from previous year roots, those that do start with seeds can start as early as January to get the seedlings started and ready to plant by mid-February or early March.

author
lsadwdwadw (author)damionflynn2016-09-04

thank you for the info!

author
Deneva (author)2016-08-09

REMEMBER: When choosing store bought strawberries, make sure they have not been eradiated. Doing so will render the seeds useless. Stores irradiate potatoes to keep the potatoes from growing "eyes'. These potatoes will not sprout a new plant. Better to buy that one strawberry plant from a nursery and grow more from that one.

author
lsadwdwadw (author)Deneva2016-09-04

thank you for the information!

author
gkist (author)2016-08-09

-Vou lhe falar, não é tão simples muito menos fácil esta plantação de moranguinhos, não mesmo!

Eu não estou errado.

BOA SORTE, MUITA SORTE e bom trabalho.

Forte abraço.

author
lsadwdwadw (author)gkist2016-09-04

замечательно!

author
Sylak (author)gkist2016-08-10

Ja!! Dette er nyttig for alle oss som ønsker å dyrke selv! Takk. Mvh. Sigurd

author
GonçaloM7 (author)gkist2016-08-09

lol

author
amcgamcg (author)2016-08-09

Thanks for that! I think I'll collect seeds from store-bought strawberries and keep them for next Spring. They'll be indoors all year - we don't have a garden! Your tips are easy to understand and nicely written.

author
lsadwdwadw (author)amcgamcg2016-09-04

Thank you very much, its a pleasure. Make sure to give the germinating seedlings enough light and heat such as using a window sill to put the pots on.

author
dogmelissa (author)2016-08-09

I just need to point out that some varieties of strawberries need cold stratification before the seeds will germinate. If you don't have any luck getting yours to germinate after 3-4 weeks, put some seeds in the fridge for about 4 weeks and then try again. Good 'ible otherwise!

author
lsadwdwadw (author)dogmelissa2016-09-04

Thank you very much for the tip! I have also just noted that I got better results of germination from the seeds I removed from store bought strawberries when using a plastic container for the seedling pot, this could be because its quite hot here now and the cardboard seedling pots can evaporate out the moisture far quicker than plastic which contains the moisture much better. Though a few holes should be made in the bottom of the pots of course for drainage. However a different cultivar of strawberry germinated fine in the toilet paper roll pots.

author
thundrepance (author)dogmelissa2016-08-09

boy, am i glad you gave input .... i have [what i call] a brown thumb: everything i plant turns brown & dies. i'd have given up on non-germinating strawberries if i tried & failed, when i might be successful with that trick. thanx melissa & isadw'! :^D

author
Sylak (author)2016-08-10

Thanks for some great instructions!

author
lsadwdwadw (author)Sylak2016-09-04

No problem, thank you very much :)

author
Sverd Industries (author)2016-08-15

Aren't store bought strawberries hybrids that may not produce viable offspring? Or is that just with some fruits and berries?

author

Yes as mentioned if hybrids, they may not be identical to the parent plant, but you would still get fruit or berries if its a healthy plant. If you want you can buy seeds for all kinds of cultivars very cheaply online.

author

I was wondering the same thing. Theoretically, the new strawberries wouldn't be quite the same.

author
TrapQueen1738 (author)2016-08-17

this is an amazing instructable. Love it !!

author
lsadwdwadw (author)TrapQueen17382016-09-04

Thank you! :D

author
JistMe (author)2016-08-18

Really good idea.

author
lsadwdwadw (author)JistMe2016-09-04

Thank you :)

author
A_Crow (author)2016-08-21

You may have better results if you place the seeds into a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer for a couple weeks. This will simulate the changing in seasons of the climate most strawberry plants like to grow in. As they thaw and gradually warm up this will trigger the seeds that it is time to start to grow. Great instructable, we started growing strawberries indoors hydroponically.

author
A_Crow (author)A_Crow2016-08-21

Side note: If you decide to grow strawberries indoors like me, you will need to pollinate the flowers yourself. Outdoors it is done mostly by the wind and insects. Indoors my kids like to "be the bee" we keep a little paintbrush by the plants and gently tap the flowers with it when we see a new one. Strawberry plants can pollinate themselves so you don't need to worry about getting pollan from one flower to another.

author
BoboTheEpic (author)2016-08-08

I think I'll have to try this. Does this grow well in everyday dirt that I might be able to dig up from nearby?

author
damionflynn (author)BoboTheEpic2016-08-09

To expand upon Isadwdwadw's response, if you do not know how to test your pH of your soil, if you are in the US, your local extension service office should have soil testing kits for high accuracy or most times they can tell you what the range of pH is for the local area fairly well. You can amend your soil to adjust pH for optimal results.

author
BoboTheEpic (author)damionflynn2016-08-09

Thanks, but due to the area I'm in the best solution seems to be some good ol' red cabbage indicator. I know the pH isn't too far out from neutral from some of the plants that grow around here, so the fairly inaccurate cabbage method should be OK.

author
lsadwdwadw (author)BoboTheEpic2016-08-08

It should yes :) strawberries aren't that fussy and traditionally they're planted directly into the ground of people's gardens. But they do prefer well drained and slightly acidic soil (between ph 5.5 and 6.2). Good luck!

author
sobeeya (author)2016-08-07

can harvest it in time of the year or any specific month?

author
damionflynn (author)sobeeya2016-08-09

This depends on your variety. There are Summer bearing and their are ever-bearing varieties. If you live in an area that has less than 7 months of growing season, you will want summer bearing. If you live in an area like southern states where the growing season outdoors is 8-9 months, an everbearing variety like Quinalts (large fruit, medium to medium high sweetness) are very good and can start producing as early as mid-Spring and go to the end of Fall when temps drop into the 40's overnight.

author
SoakedinVancouver (author)2016-08-08

Do you know if all of this could be done under (actually, "surrounded by") artificial light? I am thinking LEDs of various wavelengths in close proximity?

author

Yes, as long as you have full spectrum or the equivalent. Plants need blue light to grow vegetation and red to grow fruit. Look for LED lights that are specific for growing or if creating your own, make sure you have full spectrum diodes. LED grow lights need to be fairly close for optimal growing conditions (within 2 feet for sure, but the closer you get them the better so 6"-12" over vegetation is best).

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-08-07

Great idea. One strawberry can have hundreds of seeds. That can make a lot of strawberry plants.

author

Thank you! Yes definitely, and there's other berries it can work with too like raspberries, blackberries and currants etc.

author
One80Bits (author)2016-08-07

What a brilliantly written instructable! thank you so much, it's actually bridged the gap for me and I now feel confident to start growing my own fruit and veg ??

author
lsadwdwadw (author)One80Bits2016-08-08

Thank you very much :D I think that its a lot easier than it all seems. Your instructables are all really awesome by the way!

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