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A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

Typical Pine

The edge were tree meets field creates a haven for all sorts of critters.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Fragaria × ananassa

Store bought strawberries are huge and often tasteless. There is nothing quite like a warm strawberry popped from plant to mouth.

Growth Requirements

Strawberries get their name from the common practice of laying down straw beside the plants to keep the berries from rotting in contact with damp ground. I know one farmer who grows them in eaves troughs on trestles. Strawberry jars are also common. But the easiest way is probably just to use landscape cloth.

Build your bed with ridges a few inches high. Cover with cheap landscape cloth. Cut slits, and plant your plants. When the plants develop runners, you can tuck them into pots for later transplant.

Water in mid day. You want the plants to dry off before sunset. This will reduce mold on the fruit. Or set up drip irrigation

Robins like strawberries too. A light weight row cover fabric can reduce their predation.

[Add info for row-cover low tunnels]

Day Neutral, Everbearing, June Bearing.

Day neutral plants start blooming shortly after the new leaves are fully filled. For the rest of the summer until killed by frost there is a series of blossoms and fruit. They tend to have their peak in August.

June bearing have a big crop of fruit sometime in June, and then taper off doing little but produce leaves and store energy for next year.

Ever bearing have two crops -- a big one in June, and a smaller one four to six weeks later.

Most people prefer the Day Neutral types, as providing a steady stream of strawberries for morning cornflakes and evening icecream.

If you are canning, or making pies, you will prefer one of the June bearing varieties to get enough fruit at once to be useful.

In the sections below varieties I can get are in bold. I usually bring in either Seascape or Tribute on spec. If you want more than 25 contact us well before spring.

June Bearing varietes

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Kent Mid-season, Medium size fruit. High yielding, produces abundant runners, difficult to hull, slightly susceptible to powdery mildew, winter hardy. Produces multi-crowned plants with few runners in hot conditions. Very susceptible to leaf spot, leaf scorch, angular leaf spot, Botrytis, Sinbar, and anthracnose fruit rot. Plants wilt and fruit becomes excessively dark in hot weather.

Cavendish Mid-season to late midseason. Large, firm dark red fruit (ripe berries may appear overripe), fruit are slightly hairy. Very large fruit. High yields. Resistant to red stele. Can be harvested over a long period. Flavour depends on soil type (off-flavour on heavier soils) Does well on loam and sandy loam soils. Sandy soils tend to get too hot. Resistant to leaf diseases. Highly resistant to red stele and has some resistance to Verticillium wilt. PYO, and fair for shipping.

Does well on both sandy loam and clay loam soils. Does not do well on hot sandy soils.

Glooscap: Early-Midseason. Medium size fruit. High yields of medium to large dark red fruit, medium firm with good flavour. Result of Mic Mac X Bounty. Susceptible to red stele. June yellows has been observed. Tolerant to Sinbar. Popular for PYO. Good size initially. High yield. Good winter hardiness. Decaps easily. Red flesh. Good for freezing.

Honeoye: Early to early mid-season. One of the top strawberry varieties for over 20 years. Vigorous plants with no soil-disease resistance. Widely adapted to different soils and conditions. PYO or fresh market. Good yields and bright glossy fruit, good quality. Consistent fruit size throughout season. Flavour is variable, sharp or acid taste, depending on site.Colour darkens in hot weather or when overripe. Tip of fruit ripens last. Somewhat sensitive to Sinbar. Susceptible to black root rot.

Day Neutral Varietes

Tribute Medium size, high yeilding. Leaves are resistant to powdery mildew and tolerant to leaf scorch, but susceptible to leaf spot. In the planting year, 'Tribute' peaks in September an subsequent years produces a large June and summer crop which coincides with 'Tristar'. Fruit flesh and skin are very firm, but the color is not as intense as some. Often white areas under the calyx (crown of leafy stuff on plant end of berry)

Seascape Medium size fruit. Medium to high yield. Most fruit produced late summer, early fall; firm large fruit with good texture. Susceptible to two-spotted spider mite. Extremely susceptible to powdery mildew. Ripe fruit easily damaged by rain. Annual production, for local fresh market and shippin

Care

Dayneutrals perform best when planted at high densities and with runners removed. A staggered double row with plants set 20 cm (8 in.) apart, offset 10 cm (4 in.) from center, with 1.2 m (4 ft.) between row centers, is a very efficient planting design.

First year you will get fruit about 3 months after planting. Remove flowers for 6 weeks after planting, or plants will remain small.

Fertilizing

A large amount of fast-acting nitrogen fertilizer applied at any one time to dayneutrals can soften fruit and cause excessive vegetative growth. Apply 34 kg/ha (30 lb/ac) (1 oz per 100 square feet) of nitrogen at monthly intervals throughout the growing season. Be careful not to allow the fertilizer to accumulate on the leaves, especially if they are wet. That is actual Nitrogen content. If using 20-0-0 you would use 5 oz. An easier way is to include it in the water.

Watering.

Varieties susceptible to leaf diseases should be watered with soaker hose, or drip irrigation.

Weed control.

This is one of the good uses for cheap landscape fabric. Lay out, and plant through the fabric. You want a fabric that drains well, so that berries don't sit in puddles. You may want to use straw in addition.

Life Span.

Commercial producers often replace plants every year. Strawberries are a short lived perennial, and will often succumb to either a leaf or soil borne disease after 3-4 years. Plant something else for 3 years and move your bed to a new location.

You can propagate from runners. If in new soil, transplant to the new bed as soon as they have roots. You can also put a pot or tray of new soil next to the plant, and pin runners down with a paper clip. They should be ready to be snipped and moved after about 10 days.

Pests & Diseases

As you see from the above descriptions strawberries are subject to a bunch of diseases. You need to learn about each one. Happy googling. That said:

More Information

Recommended varieties for Alberta

More info about varieties. Not canada focused.


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Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 8 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.