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Strawberries, Fragaria x ananassa, are quite easy to grow.
They are perennial, winter hardy, and will thrive in full sunshine, as long as the soil is fertile and well drained.
Healthy plants will produce an abundance of berries for three to four years, after which they should be replaced.
There are two different types of strawberries; standard (June bearing) and everbearing.
You will want to consider how you will use the berries in deciding which varieties you want to grow.
The standard types will provide you with a large crop all at once for jams or freezing, and tend to be the better quality berries.
The everbearing will produce throughout the summer for desserts and snacking.
The culture is essentially the same for either. Different varieties are listed at the bottom of this page.
Planting time is determined by your growing zone.
In areas where the winters are severe (USDA zones 1-5), dormant plants should be purchased and set out in early spring, while temperatures are still cold.
In mild winter areas, it is best to plant in the fall, giving you a crop the first spring.
Flower buds should be kept picked off during the first month or so to allow the plant to establish itself and develop strength for a big crop.
Strawberries may be grown in rows or mounds.
The mounding method is best for everbearing types or areas where drainage is a problem.
In rows, the plants are generally set 18 inches apart, with the first runners positioned with 6 inches of spacing between them.
Only allow a few runners per plant, after which additional starts are cut off.
In mounding, the plants are set at about 12-15 inches apart.
Everbearers should not be allowed to produce runners until the mother plant is exhausted, and you wish to create plants for future use.
The plants need to be set carefully.
The crown must be above the soil level, and the uppermost roots should be 1/4 inch below the soil level.
An organic plant food should be applied alongside each row, or mixed into the soil if mounded. Water in the fertilizer well.
A heavy mulch of sawdust, grass clippings, or even plastic sheeting should then be added to prevent weeds and to conserve moisture.
Everbearers will need an inch of water each week during growing season.
The plants should be fed again at mid season.
Strawberry Diseases and Pests
When making your choice of varieties, be aware that some may be more succeptable to viruses than others, and therefore may be better for one area than another.
Strawberries are subject to fruit rot (botrytis), root rot (red stele), and fungus (verticillium wilt).
Aphids and spider mites may be a problem, so the plants should be dusted or sprayed to control these.
Slugs and snails may ravage your plants, so controlling them is also very important .
'Brighton' Large flowers and berries, good in hanging baskets
'Chandler' Large, juicy berries better grown in dryer climates
'Fern' Medium sized sweet berries, good for canning and freezing
'Fort Laramie' Large berries, excellent yield, very hardy
'Hecker' Small flavorful berries, very hardy
'Lassen' Medium berries, 1 spring and 1 fall crop, good for freezing
'Ogallala' Hybrid with wild strawberries, early producer
'Ozark Beauty' Large berries, mildly sweet, widely adaptable
'Quinault' Large tasty berries, my favorite
'Rainier' Large berries, a Northwest favorite
'Selva' Produces late, but heavy, for dryer areas
'Sequoia' Medium, delicious berries, heavy producer
'Tillikum' Small berries, but heavy producer
'Tristar' Large berries, flavorful, good producer
June Bearing Strawberries
'Benton' Medium berries, very flavorful
'Douglas' Medium berries, heavy producer, very hardy
'Hood' Large berries, better for jams or fresh use
'Northwest' Big beautiful berries, needs good drainage
'Olympus' Medium berries, vigorous grower
'Puget beauty' Medium berries, very sweet, second light crop later
'Shuksan' Medium berries, good in alkaline soil areas
'Tioga' Medium berries for feezing, for dryer areas
'Totem' Medium berries, very flavorful