Runners on strawberry seedlings

macky77(2a)March 31, 2013

While I've been vegetable gardening for a while now, this is the first time I've decided to try growing strawberries from seed. I started out with just one packet of seeds for Pikan, planted in January according to the packet directions, and I now have 10 healthy plants under lights.

I'm familiar with pinning down runners out in the garden, but I wasn't expecting plants that are a mere two months old to be sending out nice runners while still indoors. Should these be trimmed as the plants are still so young or is it fine to pin them to root in another pot as I would for an established strawberry plant?

I'm in zone 2 and I won't be planting any of these out until late May, providing spring gets a move on (we're still covered in feet of snow here).

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I'd say your mother plantlets will be more vigorous and produce more if you pinch the runners until after they're established in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Pinch them unless you want more plants. You have an envious problem, good work :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 12:55PM
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Thanks, michael357. :)

Well, I contacted Stokes via their Facebook page as well as posting the question here (the seed was from their catalogue). The Stokes folks agreed with you, ltilton, that they should be pinched for now, so I've snipped most of them.

I'm still curious, however, and I have pinned a couple of runners just as an experiment. I'm going to mark them all appropriately and see if there's any difference by the end of the summer.

Including a photo of the two-month-old starts when I was potting them on the other day. I think I waited too long! Not starting these things in January again, that's for certain, lol.

This post was edited by macky77 on Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 18:20

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:18PM
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For two-month seedlings, that's astonishing growth.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Could it be due to variety? Pikan is a hybrid... vigour and all that jazz. Let me just reference my notes here for a sec...

My mistake, they're two and a *half* months from seeding in this pic, taken March 31. Started January 14. Followed packet directions to maintain temps between 20 and 22C and not to go over 23C. Sprouts between 8 and 11 days. 16 seeds were in the packet, but the kids lost a couple when they were "helping" me, so roughly 71.5% germination for my first try. The packet has a 93% germ stamp on it, so I hope to do better next time as far as quantity. I may have had them a little too warm at the beginning.

Anyway, thanks for the advice and compliments... love GardenWeb! :) I'll follow up with my experiment results later on if I remember.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Hello again! I remembered to come back and update on my little experiment, though unfortunately not with any pics (that I did forget, sorry).

10 out of 14 seeds germinated.

3 of the 10 plants were smaller than the others right from the start and remained so throughout the season. They did not send out any runners and fruit production was less than average.

At 2.5 months old (while still indoors under lights), I pinned 6 runners from 5 of the 7 plants that had them. All runners were trimmed from the remaining 2 plants.

16 plants went out into the garden in late May - 10 original plants and 6 daughters, duly labelled (A Mother, A Daughter, B Mother, B Daughter, etc.).

5 of the daughter plants out-produced their mothers in terms of fruit size and quality. Their mothers produced slightly more fruit in number, but they were smaller in size.

Plant size and health were the same for all mother/daughter pairs with the exception of the 1 daughter which underproduced (it looked much like the 3 plants which never produced any runners at all). The 2 plants which had all their runners trimmed from the start were slightly bigger, but didn't produce much more than the others averaged.

None of the plants produced any runners at all once planted outdoors.

So, those were my very amateur observations. I realize my little experiment had a ridiculously small sample size and was rather unscientific, but I thought I'd share anyway. :)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Good of you to keep the detailed notes & posting them too...I just learned something new. Maybe I'll plant some strawberry seeds in the new year.
Thank you, Rina.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:54PM
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