1
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How to acquire Strawberry seeds in Kenya?

Strawberry    None Given

Strawberry seeds are not available in Kenya.Seedlings which are expensive and bulky to transport are the only planting materials available.How can we acquire seeds? Is there advantage of using one over the other?


Posted by: deactivated (1 point) deactivated
Posted: February 25, 2013




Answers

2
points
There are a number of points about your question we have to discuss

1 Seeds It is possible to grow strawberries from seeds. The small pits on the outside are the seeds (technically called achene, see picture below).
A) There are three main methods to be used to collect the seeds. You can dry the strawberries completely in the sun (or a drying oven with low heat) and when completely dry (dehydrated) you can rub the seeds off between your thumb and forefinger. Do this onto a piece of white paper as the seeds are very small.
B) The other method is to use a food blender. Add the strawberries to a blender with a cup of water and blend for 2-4 seconds (and less than 5 as that will damage them). Seeds that are not good (called non-viable) will float and good seeds will sink. Drain off the pulp and water and collect the seeds at the bottom of the blender.
C) You can also use a sieve. Push the strawberries against the edge of the sieve which will forces the flesh and juice through the sieve but keep the seeds in place where you can pick them off.

For the sieve method and the blender method you must dry the seeds. If you do not dry them they will become diseased as bacteria or fungi grow on them. Dry the seeds slowly by placing them either in the sun or in low heat oven. You will know that the are dry when the seeds no longer stick together.
Store your seeds in envelopes (here is a video explaining how you can make seed envelopes: http://www.motherearthnews.com/diary-...). Keep the seeds in a cool dry place.

2 Hybrids Sometimes it is not possible to grow strawberries from seeds because the plant you collect the seeds from is a hybrid. The hybrid is a cross between two different plants. In Kenya there are 42 types of strawberry plants and the hybrids are Chandler, Pajero and Sulphur. Other types that are popular are Tioga selva, Douglas, Tristar, Domanil, Rabunda and Tribute.
Do you know what type you have? Many people beginning strawberry farms in Kenya simply buy seedlings from nurseries on the side of the road and there is very little/no information given on the type of plant plant or how to grow is given. So, if you do not know what type of plant you have I recommend you simply try to grow from seeds. If it is a hybrid you can expect that most of the plants produced by seeds will not be as good as the parents. Some can be but mostly they will not be good.

3 Splitting You ask about seeds but why are you not growing plants by splitting. Strawberries grow by sending out stems (called runners) that touch the ground to then form roots. So, if you have a large plant you can split it into smaller plants. Here is a nice video on how this can be done easily. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAQvq4... It is important to cut the runners connecting plants and take out roots with the plant you are splitting. Put it in a separate pot, give it water and place in a sunny position.
Since strawberries are perennial that last more than one year (3 in Kenya). So, you can split the plant after the first production of fruit giving you extra plants.
(I see the Youth Agro Environmental Institute does discuss this topic http://yagrein.blogspot.com/2012_01_0...)

4 Pollination One important thing I want to mention here relates to pollination. If you are not getting good pollination you might be getting poor fruit that will certainly be unattractive for export. Please look at the picture and tell me if that seems to be the case.

I hope this helps. Please write back and give us more details.

Also, send some images of your strawberries and whole plants and we can offer some advice that way.


Good luck


Added 26th Feb

We had some input from our friends in FAO.
They said

"Dear David,

Our FAO/AGP ‘Plant Genetic Resources & Seeds Group’ (Osborn, Thomas (AGPM); Olivero, Lucio (AGPM); Hugo, Wilson (AGPM); NonoWomdim, Remi (AGPM); Kugbei, Samuel (AGPM)) might be able to provide additional information related to strawberry seeds (production, propagation/multiplication; runner and splitting plants, etc.) if required. I asked them for information to your question and received the following information (thanks to Lucio!):


The quickest and preferred way to multiply strawberry is through runners (stolons). One can get many clones from each mother plant which is far preferable than getting plants originated from seed. However, handling runners, as well as with any other vegetable planting material, needs technical capacity and specific care.
On the hills towards the Lake Victoria, where tea and flowers have been successfully cultivating for ages, it should be ideal for growing strawberries. Strawberry seeds should be available in this region…

Some additional information can be found following this link, esp. in the section on ‘Multiplication’: http://ecoport.org/ep?Plant=1112&...

The ‘Kenya Seed Company’ may supply strawberry seeds:

http://www.kenyaseed.com/branches/sim...

The ‘Eldoret Trading LLC’ seems to supply strawberry seeds; etc.

Here is an interesting article on high demand of strawberry leaves (!) for florist firms in Thika and Nairobi: http://farmbizafrica.com/index.php/ho...

You can also liaise with the KARI-Department of Horticulture and Industrial Crops for additional information on seed availability in Kenya!



Kind regards,

Jan
Jan Breithaupt
FAO-AGP Pest and Pesticide Management
Sustainable Intensification - Ecosystem Approach to Enhance Crop Production
http://www.fao.org/agriculture/crops/...
http://www.fao.org/agriculture/crops/...
Tel. home: +49 641 4941771 or +49 6413401927
Cell: +49 17661764802 ; Skype: janbreithaupt45 (Giessen)
Address: Am Alten Friedhof 32, D-35394 Giessen, Germany





Posted by: David Hughes (22 points) David Hughes
Posted: February 26, 2013




0
points
The one big advantage of growing strawberry plants from purchased transplants is that they will be clones of the mother plant and you can be certain that they will produce fruit that is equal in quality (if grown under the correct conditions of course). Like David said in his post, if you collects seeds from a hybrid variety then the young plants which grow can possess less desirable characteristics from their lineage. In addition, depending on the variety, seeds may need a cold treatment to break their dormancy and ensure successful germination and are also susceptible to rotting in moist soil.

It would be very useful to know exactly how you currently transport these young plants? Are the potted seedling or bare root plants?

******UPDATE 3/1/13*******

We had a response from a seed supplier in Kenya. This is what he said:

"Thanks for your noble objective. Kindly note that straw berry farming is very lucrative . It is very adaptable hence grows in many regions in Kenya. The market is very big since production is not widespread. The main issue is not many people are able to raise capital for the split which forms about 95% of capital outlay. Those who can afford and plant big portions export. The catch is to plant the right variety which does not have a long dormant period. Note that some people sell the wrong variety purporting it to be the right variety."

Thanks,
Gacheru


Posted by: Lindsay McMenemy (167 points) Lindsay McMenemy
Posted: February 26, 2013




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