By Brandy Alexander

Strawberries are common berries grown in home gardens because they enhance many foods and drinks. By obtaining the seeds from the outside skin of strawberries, you will get a sense of what your own crops can bear and verify that the seedlings are not coming from a diseased source. You can select full-grown strawberries and choose to start your own strawberry plants from these specimens to grow and enjoy your own harvest of fruit.

Select healthy and disease-free strawberries so that you can obtain the seeds to start your strawberry plants. Do not choose berries that are smaller, misshapen, or have discolorations in the seeds or on the fruit body. Choosing the right strawberries ensures that your strawberry plants will have the best chance for a successful growth cycle.

Remove the seeds from your chosen strawberries. Place the selected berries in a blender, add a cup of water, set the blender on low, and blend for no more than a few seconds. Blending the berries effectively separates the seeds from the fruit and allows you to distinguish between ripe and unripe seeds, as seeds that can be planted will sink to the bottom of the blender. Allow the seeds to sit for about a minute and then pour out the liquid. Access the ripe seeds by rinsing them out of the container and then place them on a paper towel to dry.

Simulate a winter season for the strawberry seeds to properly prepare them for planting. Do this by placing the seeds in an airtight container and leaving them in the freezer for two to four weeks.

Retrieve the airtight container from the freezer and let it sit unopened for a few hours so that the seeds return to room temperature.

Sow your strawberry seeds to start the growth process. Use an individual plant container for each seed, and fill each one about 3/4 of the way with a seed starting mix, which will ensure the seedlings grow in a weed-free environment. Place the seed on top of the mix and cover it with a light layer of seed starter so that the seed is not buried too deep. As a visual guide, the seed should have no more than three seeds placed on top of it. Keep the potting mix moist and place the container(s) in an area with low traffic to avoid spills.

Supply a fluorescent light between two to four inches above the seedlings to give them an excellent heat source.