We get frequent questions about saving strawberry seeds. We hope to talk about this in detail in the future. In fact, we plan a separate publication on the subject because it is an important aspect of growing any plant from seed. Here are a few thoughts.
Seed saving has been a part of agriculture since it began hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Seed companies are now trying to take that away from us in the name of convenience or using productivity arguments. Most of us do not want bureaucracies or corporations controlling what we plant. We all search for varieties/selections that grow well in our climate and systems. When we find just the right plant we want to keep growing it year after year.
This is not going to be a lesson in genetics. It is an introductory lesson for those who want to save strawberry seeds. And, it will be simple. Part one is that you can grow multiple species like Fragaria vesca and F. virginiana with assurance that they will not naturally cross. The second name indicates the species. Runnering and non runnering vescas will cross with each other. And, I might add that you will get some very interesting results with these types of crosses. It seems that runnering is what they want to do.
Another aspect true for F. vesca is that crossing white and red fruiting types will again result in some interesting results. It seems that the tendency is toward red fruit. Most of the cross made with vesca will result in red fruit with plants that produce runners. You will get some white/yellow and some clumping types but if you want to breed the ultimate white fruiting clumping type it will be a challenge and you’ll have to grow a LOT of plants to find what you seek.
The final thing I’m mention is that if you want to grow the same selection year after year then grow only one unless you have multiple locations separated by a mile or more. If you grow two selections in the same area they very likely will cross and the resulting plants will be different than than what you started out with. If you want to grow white or yellow fruiting types then don’t even think about growing a red fruiting selections. And, make sure and pick all the fruit. Volunteers produced from unpicked fruit can produce plants that are not the same as the parent. This is primarily true of crossing but self pollination can result in inbreeding and varietal variability.
We will try to expound on this theme and will rely on questions we receive to help guide the discussion.