breakfastBackyard  Berry Plants

Specializing in Organically Grown Blueberry, Blackberry, and Red Raspberry Plants

Strawberry plants
Certified Organic by

MOSA seal                    

This page has all the pricing, ordering, planting and care information about strawberries.
To print our order form, use the navigation bar above, or
 click here

All strawberry plants we sell are grown organically and do not contain any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  They are grown from stock on our farm, or from seed (the alpine cultivars), and are certified disease free by the Indiana DNR Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

All strawberry plants
are $4.50 each, and ship as a potted plant in a quart pot.

NEW FOR 2014
DUTCH Day-Neutral
Cultivars
See Below Descriptions for
Toscana and Pikan

Notice to Customers:
The nursery will be having a summer shut down between
September 1st and Oct. 6th.
No shipping during that time, though it may be possible to arrange pickup of local orders.
 I will of course resume shipping in October/November.  If you want to get your plants into the ground in Sept, then you will need to have your order in to me no later than the middle of August for shipping at the end of August.
Thank you very much for your support and understanding.
Keith

 

Strawberries have a separate shipping schedule from our larger potted stock. See table below to determine your shipping costs for strawberries.

Shipping Rates for
Potted Strawberry Plants

To determine your shipping zone and rates, use Table 1 below to find your ship zone based on the state to which the plants will ship.
Then go to the second table to find the cost per package to your ship zone.

All Rates Are Per Package

Table 1
Determine your shipping zone
by state:

Shipping Zone 1 Shipping Zone 2 Shipping Zone 3
IN, OH, IL All other stares east of Mississippi River,
 as well as TX, LA, AR, MO, IA, MN
All western states and those not listed in zone 1 or 2

 

Table 2: 
 Your Shipping cost

Ship Zone 1 2 3
 1-4 strawberry plants $16 $21 $24
 5-8 strawberry plants $18 $24 $27
9-16 strawberry plants $23 $30 $36
 17-24 strawberry plants $26 $34 $43
25 to 32 strawberry plants $29 $39 $49

Numbers listed show the minimum and maximum number of plants for a box.  So an 8-plant box could hold between 5-8 strawberry plants, and a 24-plant box could hold between 17-24 plants.  The maximum number of strawberry plants that can fit into one box is 32. 

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Not sure of your USDA hardiness zone?
This link will take you to the USDA planting zone map.
Once there, use your zip code to precisely determine your
hardiness zone.

Cultivars and Prices are listed below
 (all plants for 2014 are $4.50 each).
For Shipping Costs on Strawberries, click here
For Planting and Care Guide, click here

Strawberry Cultivars Available for 2014

All strawberry cultivars are self-pollinating.

Day-neutral
strawberry cultivars
All plants* $4.50 each
(4.5" pot)
*TOSCANA and *PIKAN
$5.50 each

NEW for 2014

Toscana
Dutch strawberry

In stock for 2014   

Toscana Stawberry in Nursery
 copyright Luke Meeker 2014

Toscana is a beautiful strawberry.  I feel it captures so many aspects of what I like about gardening.  It  has deep green, compact foliage, above which bloom deep rose flowers a little larger than regular strawberries.  A couple weeks later bright red berries of medium size and nice shape, with sweet flavor when full red.  Toscana needs more room than other strawberries, as it is quite mounding in habit (I'd suggest a spacing of 2 feet). It does reproduce itself readily with runners, and plants I've started from seed in February have made up to 4 runners each by mid May!  A very robust and vigorous plant.  Beautiful, disease resistant leaves; bright and colorful flowers; and sweet berries.  I like all the cultivars I grow, but I do smile every time I go by the bed of Toscana, they just look so pretty and happy, holding their flowers high above the foliage.  Blooming on 4 week cycles through the summer, it will  have berries at intervals similar to Seascape and the Alpines.
USDA hardiness zones 4b-9b
Well suited to coastal CA, TX, and FL
Appreciates some afternoon shade when grown inland in zones 8-9.
Toscana is available in a 4.5" pot for $5.50 each, or a larger 6" pot for $10.50 (these larger pots ship with the rates for our blueberries and raspberries)

NEW for 2014

PIKAN
Dutch strawberry

I have been growing Dutch cultivars for a few years now, and have weeded out the ones that don't take the continental heat and humidity (and freezing winters!) we have here in Indiana.  Pikan is certainly the forefront of hardiness and vigor for Dutch day-neutrals here in the Midwest.  But it has more going for it than topping 3 years of trials:  bright green foliage that is very disease resistant; apple-blossom pink blooms; and medium size, deep red strawberries that rival Yellow Wonder for sweetness and strawberry flavor.  It is not a runnerless cultivar, but if keeping runners pruned is the chore to do, it is worth having for the color and fruit it provides. It is a very compact grower, but I have found that the same spacing used for Seascape helps control berry rots and leaf issues in wet, warm weather.
Hardy in USDA zones 4b-9b
Similar to Toscana in growing needs.
Available only in 4.5" size pot for $5.50 each

 

Alexandria
red Alpine strawberry

IN STOCK FOR 2014

Fragaria vesca
(OP seed grown)
Heirloom cultivar.
 Alexandria produces long, red berries of exceptional flavor, averaging 1" long by 1/2" wide.  The plants bloom from early spring through fall, and with protection from frosts, into early winter (yield will get smaller as cooler weather and shorter days urge the plant to go dormant).  The plants are runnerless, forming a foot wide plant at maturity with many crowns (which can be separated for starting new plantings).  Alexandria does well in pots and small garden areas, and with no runners, one doesn't have to worry about it spreading into other locations. Like most Alpines, Alexandria is very disease resistant, and I have never had to use any organic controls on it or Yellow Wonder.  Best yields have been obtained in raised beds and potted growing.
USDA hardiness zones 4-9

 

Yellow Wonder
yellow Alpine strawberry

IN STOCK FOR 2014
Fragaria vesca
(OP seed grown)

Heirloom cultivar
This is the first Alpine I ever grew, over 12 years ago.  It is one of the most flavorful strawberries I (and my kids) have ever eaten.  As they have gotten older and more adept at picking berries, it is a rare treat for me to actually find one on the plants they have picked over.  When fully ripe, they are extremely sweet and aromatic (like most alpines), with hints of sweet pineapple as an undertone.  Berries are longer than they are wide, averaging about 1" long by 1/2" wide, and are prolific on a mature plant.   Mature plants get over a foot wide, are runnerless, and yield from mid-spring through the late fall.  They will stop flowering when temps get over 86 degrees F, so a little shade in the hottest parts of summer will keep them producing for most of your growing season.  If they do get too hot, they will resume flowering when daytime temps consistently fall below 86.  Excellent for pots, square foot gardens, and hanging baskets.  Plants are long-lived, and crowns can be divided for propagation after a few years.
USDA hardiness zones 3-9

 

Seascape

Will begin shipping in May 2014

Developed in 1991 by the University of California, Seascape has had great success outside the Golden State.  Of the day-neutral introductions that I've trialed on our farm, Seascape has consistently had the sweetest flavor for a full-sized, red strawberry, and better production.  Berries are large and deep red.   I've had Seascape in production on our farm for over 9 years now, and I can't see replacing it with any other cultivars.  Like all day-neutral strawberries, a little shade in the high heat of summer really helps keep production and fruit quality at its highest.  Spacing of at least 12" apart, and up to 24" apart, helps to control disease in the mid to late summer if wet, warm weather hits.
USDA hardiness zones 4-9

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Monterey

Will begin shipping in May 2014

Another California bred day-neutral (U of Cal., 2009) which shows improved yields and higher heat resistance in summer.  Berries are large, red, and sweet.  I have yet to see how it compares to Seascape (which I've been growing for over 10 years here in IN) in the long run, but I've been impressed with the berries it produced in 2012, which was a very hot summer for day-neutral production here in Indiana.  Monterey showed fine resistance to any leaf disease when grown in container or raised bed setting.  Runners well for a day-neutral, but keep them pinched back on producing plants to keep berry size and yield at the maximum.  Sustained feeding (we used drip lines with our liquid fertilizer blend) is key to keeping up high production on Monterey, as well at the other day-neutrals.  This is a good complement to Seascape, and well worth trying, especially in hotter parts of the country. Hardy in zone 4 with 3oz. freeze blanket (overwitner).
USDA hardiness zones 4 (see above)-9

 

Eversweet

Will begin shipping in May 2014

This day neutral cultivar was given a rather promising name by the breeder, though I don't find it to be any more sweet than other day neutral types (they have all been very sweet).   As with most day neutral cultivars, it blooms on 4 to 6 week cycles; requires good irrigation and feeding; and in USDA zones 7-10, a little summer shade will keep them happy and productive.  Eversweet produces deep  red, conical berries.   Good spacing (at least 12" between plants) will help reduce or eliminate any foliar and fruit diseases.  Ever Sweet will sometimes runner weakly the first year of establishment, then stronger in following years.  This cultivar has a wide adaptation across the U.S., and has done well especially here in the Midwest and Southeast (both high humidity areas).
USDA hardiness zones 4 (with protection) to 9b (possibly 10)

Fresca

Sold Out for 2014

Fragaria ananassa (open pollinated)
Fresca is a seed grown, day-neutral strawberry that is runnerless.  Fruit is medium sized, bright red, very sweet, and produced from late spring through the fall in waves.  Plants are compact, and do well in pots, square-foot gardens, or narrow beds.  Fresca has a lower overall yield than Seascape, but also has very few disease issues, and the foliage has always looked very nice and green during the growing season.  The important aspect to seed grown, open-pollinated plants is that they are all genetically distinct, which means each plant has the potential to stand out against particular pests, or to prosper during challenging years.  The careful gardener will note these differences, and select from the most outstanding plants for the enlargement of their gardens.  When I sow the seeds, I select only the most vigorously growing seedlings for transplanting to cell plugs.  After a month of growing in the trays, I pick again only the fullest and most lively of the plug grown plants to move into their final sale container. Fresca has performed well for me here on our farm, and I'm happy to add it to the list of cultivars that may add to your diversity of strawberry growing.
USDA hardiness zones 3b-8b

 

Fort Laramie


Sold Out for 2014

Released 40 years ago by the USDA station in Cheyenne, WY, this near-heirloom strawberry has kept its place in the ranks of newer cultivars due to its cold-hardiness and ability to produce fruit in very tough environments.  While it is a day-neutral type, it belongs to the first generation of those strawberries, which are known as "ever-bearing". 
Fort Laramie produces medium to large berries (larger with good fertility) with a bright scarlet color, very sweet, showing exceptional resistance to fruit rots here at our farm in Indiana (performing better than Ozark Beauty).
 Fort Laramie bears a large, early crop just before or with our first June-bearing types; with another crop in late summer.  Berries on older plants are also produced sporadically through the summer, especially if runners are kept pruned (the spring runners on a 2  year plant will actually fruit in the summer, though the berries are on the small side for that crop).  This is a very rugged cultivar, hardy to zone 3 and the cooler areas of zone 8.  Originally bred with the mountain west in mind, Fort Laramie has done reliably well across the U.S., and continues to enjoy popularity for the ease of its growth and the production of quality strawberries under adverse conditions.
USDA hardiness zones 3-8a

 

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"June-bearing" (early summer) cultivars
All plants $4.50 (4.5" pot)

Cultivars are listed in sequence of ripening

Wendy
 early season

In stock for 2014

Wendy is a very early-season producer of consistently large, sweet strawberries.  This cultivar is very early to bloom, and in our frosty valley I always have some freeze blankets ready for covering the blooms.  I've had excellent production after late April temps in the mid 20's, as long as I kept the beds covered with 3 oz freeze blanket (you can also double up 1.5 oz to gain that benefit).  Freezes below that temp saw some loss of production, but the berry size was large and excellent.  Wendy was developed at the Kentville Research Station in Nova Scotia, and is very winter hardy (I always keep our beds covered overwinter with freeze blankets, as we often don't get enough snow cover; it also keeps deer and rabbits from chewing the crowns off).
Wendy has shown good disease resistance in our plantings; and keeping good spacing between plants, and the bed thinned, keeps the berries large and sweet.
This is the earliest producing June-type I've grown, and is far and away better flavored than Earliglow (in my opinion).
Hardy in USDA zones 3-8

 

Annapolis
 early season

In Stock for 2014

Originally bred in Nova Scotia, in 1984, Annapolis is a very early ripening strawberry that I have found (here at our farm) to have better flavor and larger size than Earliglow .  Berries are  consistently large throughout the picking cycle, and have a bright red color and rich sweetness, especially in warmer springs.  Annapolis is vigorous and cold hardy, and has been one of the most reliable and consistent early strawberry cultivars I have grown.  Noted for its resistance to red stele.
USDA hardiness zones 3-8

 

Honeoye
early season

In Stock for 2014

Released in 1979, in New York, Honeoye is still one of the most widely planted early season strawberries in the Midwest.  The simple reason is flavor and production:  large, red, sweet berries on very vigorous plants that runner well.  It is also one of the most winter hardy cultivars available. 
I have found that all strawberries perform better in raised beds, especially if your native soil is on the heavier, clayey side.  With heavy soils, Honeoye tends to be less sweet and lower yielding.  The lighter, fluffier, better drained soils in raised beds offer the best production and flavor for Honeoye. 
USDA hardiness zones 3-8

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Northeaster
early mid-season

In Stock for 2014

This 1996 USDA release has very good disease resistance coupled with fine flavored, sweet berries, and above average yield.  Northeaster berries run medium to medium large in size, and are bright red and firm. This is a very vigorous berry plant, with strong growth and good runner production. This cultivar has resistance to  Verticillium, red stele , leaf scorch, and powdery mildew.
USDA hardiness zones 4-8

 

Cavendish
early mid-season

In Stock for 2014

From Nova Scotia in 1990, Cavendish has Annapolis as one of its parents.  Very cold hardy cultivar, it also produces large, dessert quality strawberries that are firm and very sweet.  My kids love to pick these and carry them around as they eat them, and there is something just wonderful about biting into a huge, sweet strawberry.  Cavendish also takes a longer time to ripen its whole crop, so you can get fresh strawberries over a little longer period with them than most other cultivars.  With proper feeding and irrigation, large berry size remains consistent during the long harvest cycle.  Plants also runner strongly, and have a good resistance to red stele and Verticillium wilt. 
USDA hardiness zones 3-7

 

Guardian
 mid-season

In Stock for 2014

1969 release by USDA in Beltsville, MD. Guardian was the first cultivar to have wide resistance to many common and difficult strawberry diseases such as red stele, verticillium wilt, leaf scorch and powdery mildew, as well as some viruses.  Very large to large berries are scarlet red, very sweet, firm and juicy.  Berries can be picked over a
 2-3 week period.  This was another surprise in our 2012 trials (I trialed a number of old time cultivars), and given the late freeze, along with the dry Spring and early heat, Guardian performed at the top in flavor and yield.  The one drawback to this cultivar is berry color, which is not as deep red as we've come to expect.  Even though lighter colored (which is why it was dropped from commercial use), the flavor is very sweet.  My daughters and son had no trouble devouring the berries last summer, and I'm increasing our strawberry production areas with Guardian.
 I'd suggest some extra protection (like a freeze blanket) for USDA zone 4
USDA hardiness zones 4-8

 

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Mesabi
 mid-season


Sold Out for 2014
Will be back for 2015

Introduced by the U of MN and USDA breeding cooperative.
Very cold  hardy cultivar with bright scarlet berries.  The berries have been large sized for us, with only a small portion of the later ripening berries being a bit smaller.  Flavor of the berry grown in raised beds and pots has been very sweet when full red, and mildly sweet and spritely at the pink stage (not unusual for home-grown strawberries).  My kids often can't wait to eat the berries as they watch them ripen, and often just eat them when they are pink with a lot of white still near the stem end.  Mesabi they noted were "good enough" to eat, so why wait?  I have not only to worry about birds and chipmunks, but now my kids are eating them before they ripen!
Mesabi has been a real treat to grow, as it ripens in a window that is usually lacking strawberries for us at that time in June.  Has shown good resistance to leaf diseases, no berry rot (again, the raised bed is helping this), and is a vigorous producer of runners.
USDA hardiness zones 3-7

 

Cardinal
 mid-season  to late-season

Sold Out for 2014

Released in 1974 by the Arkansas Ag Exp. Station.  Cardinal does well throughout the Southern states, and into the Ohio River Valley (So. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania).  Bred for tolerating humid summers, Cardinal has resistance to leaf scorch, leaf spot, and powdery mildew. The berries are very large, red (sometimes a very slight green tip), firm, and very sweet.   Cardinal runners heavily, so be sure to keep them trimmed to prevent over crowding of the bed.  This cultivar has a long picking season, with berries ripening over a longer period of time (can be up to 4-5 weeks on mature plants) than most other June-types.  I trialed my first crop in 2012, and was very impressed with the flavor of this old-time cultivar.  This is our agricultural heritage, and I'm glad to be maintaining one of our country's older, reliable producers. Can be grown in USDA zone 4 with extra protection over winter.
USDA hardiness zones 5-9

 

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Tennessee Beauty
late mid-season
heirloom

In Stock for 2014

From Tennessee in 1949 by Dr. E.M. Henry, Beauty is still around for home gardeners due to its reliability and flavor.  This heirloom cultivar has a longer picking season (something that caused it to lose popularity in commercial harvesting) and very good resistance to strawberry viruses.  The berry size is large, with a high cap (easy to pop off for freezing and canning), deep red color, and very sweet.  Towards the end of the picking season, berry size drops to medium, but flavor and taste remain the same.  Large berries make up 70% of the total crop.  Good fertility and irrigation during dry spells (esp. during the summer when it is initiating flower buds for next years crop) keeps yield high for Tennessee Beauty.  This strawberry was bred with the lower Midwest springs in mind:  wet, humid, and stormy. Does well in all the Southern states, as well as Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, the lower New England states, Oklahoma, and Texas (these two states pay extra attention to irrigation). Can be grown in zone 4 with extra winter protection.
USDA hardiness zones 5-9

 

Sparkle
late mid-season
heirloom

In Stock for 2014

Bred by J.H. Clarke of Rutgers University, NJ, in 1942.
Sparkle used to be a leading late-season cultivar, and like many old-time cultivars, it had great flavor and high yields.  But the berry size was considered too small compared to new introductions, so Sparkle was relegated to small growers who still served what the local people wanted.  Sparkle's berry size is considered small to medium by modern standards, and the fruit is medium firm with a rich, aromatic strawberry flavor.  The yield is also very high, usually out-producing modern cultivars in yield per area. As Sparkle has a powerful runner potential, one needs to keep the planting area thinned of excessive new plants.  This will keep overall yield in the high range, as overcrowding of plants can cause a decrease in yield (strawberries are often their own worst weed).  Sparkle has resistance to some strains of red stele, but I have had no issues with any disease when they have been grown in raised beds or large pots.
USDA hardiness zones 3-8

 

Valley Sunset
 late season

In stock for 2014

Sunset is yet another successful release from the Kentville Experiment Station in Nova Scotia.  The strawberries are light, blushed red; and are large, sweet, and not too firm (not the best for shipping, but excellent for fresh picking and eating).  Sunset ripens later in the strawberry season, and has been one of the latest to ripen on our farm here in Indiana (Record has been consistently the latest, with Sunset and Sparkle preceding it most years).   Sunset's foliage is noted for its high resistance to fungal and bacterial pathogens that can reduce growth and yield in strawberries.  A moderately winter hardy cultivar, Sunset has always done well for us (since 2011) in our zone 5 climate when properly protected from sub-zero freezing winter weather.
USDA hardiness zones 4-7

 

Record
late season

In stock for 2014

Bred and selected in Forli, Italy, by Dr. Faedi.  Record is the latest ripening, June-bearing strawberry available at this time.  I began growing this one in 2012, and was very impressed with the quality of fruit, and sweetness.  In 2012 it was really hot, and it did not seem to negatively affect Record berries at all.  Berries are medium to  large sized, prolific, very sweet, and bright red. 
USDA hardiness zones 4-8

 

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Planting and Care for Strawberries

Strawberries can be an enjoyable berry to grow.
   Of course, anytime a juicy, sweet fruit grows close to the ground, one should take some extra precautions.  Most all of the diseases associated with strawberry production can be controlled  with cultural methods (no spraying).
In my experience with strawberries, these are the key factors to reduce leaf and fruit diseases:
Air circulation
Wider planting distances
Elevated or raised bed planting
Drip irrigation / soaker hoses
Low nitrogen, organic fertilizers

Index of Care Topics
Where to Plant Strawberries
How Far Apart to Plant Strawberries
Soil Amendments for Strawberries
Fertilizing Strawberries
Winter Care
Helpful Products for Growing Strawberries Organically

Where to plant your organic strawberries

Raised Beds
I'd have to say that raised bed, intensive growing has done more for my strawberry production than anything other action I've taken.  The soil is lighter in a raised bed, and the benefit of that in my Midwestern climate is that the usually heavy spring rains drain away quickly.  This keeps soil pathogens from getting a foothold on the strawberries, and also eliminates standing water in the growing area.  Keeping the soil moist and not sodden is very important for insuring consistent, heavy yields from your strawberry plants.  I'd suggest at least a 6" above grade height for your raised beds.

Planters and Large Pots
Potted culture has also worked well for day-neutral cultivars, and I have a number of different pot sizes with which I work.  These have allowed me to move them around so they can get shade or more sun when they need it, or rolled into a cold frame or greenhouse when weather gets frosty in the fall, thereby extending my picking season.

Raised Bed Soils and Irrigation
There are many recipes for mixing up raised bed planting soils.  Most work well, and I'd suggest that the importance is that they have a good amount of organic matter (like sphagnum peat; aged, weed free compost; leaf mold), upwards of 40-60% of the total volume.  Since you don't cultivate in a raised bed, you can put down a good drip line under the mulch.  Using drip lines gets water to the roots, and keeps it off of the berries and leaves, reducing the chance of diseases.  Some growers I know have erected a frame over their strawberry beds, which is open on the sides, but has span of clear grow film over the top, to disperse rain water away from the bed.  These plants rarely get any water on their leaves, and the plants look great and yield very well, with no sprays of any kind.
The raised bed offers increased air circulation (it is above the ground); increased drainage during wet times of year (which are usually the times the June-bearing cultivars are trying to make their berries); and a chance to use drip lines effectively in a non-cultivated, mulched growing area.

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How Far Apart to Plant Organic Strawberries

For June-bearing strawberries, I plant into a raised bed that is no wider than 4 feet.  The spacing is 12" O.C. (on center), and I sometimes use staggered rows.  For some cultivars, like Cavendish and Cabot, which make very large to huge berries, I will go a little wider, to 16" O.C.  I've also found that to be a good spacing for Seascape (a day-neutral). The Alpines I space 12" apart in a bed.  I also keep runners pruned out of all the day-neutral beds, and divide their crowns every 3-4 years, depending upon the cultivar and size of plant. 
For June-bearing strawberries I allow only 4-5 runners per mother plant to root into the bed.  These rooted plantlets are transplanted to new beds the following year, keeping the spacing and area clean for the June-bearing plants.  These mother plants can be replaced every 3 years (at which point they have reached their maximum potential, and will decline in yield) with new 1 year plants generated as runners the previous year.

 

What to add to the soil when planting organic strawberries

When planting strawberries into a raised bed or planter, I like to add a few amendments to help with onward growth and production of the plant.  Regardless of the type of strawberry (June-bearing or day-neutral), I always add these amendments when planting.
For each plant, add a Tbsp of soft rock phosphate (optional if you are using Neptune's Harvest liquid fish during the growing season), 2 Tbsp kelp meal, and 4 Tbsp alfalfa meal.  If you have it, you can also add a cup of compost or a half cup of worm castings per plant.  Most of these amendments do more directly for the beneficial soil organisms than the strawberry plant, but then the old saw, "Healthy soil, healthy plant" is quite true in my experience. 
I mentioned low nitrogen fertilizers above, and that is important, because it is very easy to get too much available nitrogen in the soil.  When this happens, plant growth accelerates to un-healthy rates, and becomes very accommodating for bacterial, fungal, and insect pests.  The plants natural immune system is essentially compromised during exposure to high nitrogen fertilizers, which is why so many toxic sprays are needed in chemical growing of fruits.

 

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Fertilizing Strawberries

I no longer use granular fertilizers on our crops.  I have switched all of our berries and veggies over to a liquid fertility schedule.  While this is more involved, I have found it to be quite worthwhile as regards the quality and yield of the crop.  For strawberries, I follow the same mix ratio as is listed on our Plant Care page.  I'll list it here as well:

To 1 gallon water, add 2 Tbsp Neptune's Harvest (2-4-1),
1/2 Tbsp liquid kelp, and 1/2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses (yes, from the grocery store).
I apply this every week during flowering in spring, then when fruit set begins, I drop the Neptune's from the mix, and apply just kelp and molasses every 2 weeks until fruiting is done (for June-bearing).  After fruiting is done, I give them the full mix once a month until October, or the daytime temps drop below 50 consistently. 

For day-neutrals, which fruit all during spring, summer, and fall, they need more nutrient support to their soils.  I feed them twice  weekly at a half rate during their fruiting season, and that keeps the berry size up, and the blossoms coming.  NOTE: Do not spray foliage of strawberries with the liquid fish brew when temps are going to be above 80F, as the oil in the mixture may scorch leaves (especially sensitive are the alpines).
 When fall comes, I stop giving them any fertilizer, unless I'm doing season extension in a cold-frame or greenhouse, and then they get the fertilizer brew once every three weeks into early winter.

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Winter Care

Strawberries got their name because straw was a great mulch for them.  I don't like to use non-organic straw on berries (especially berries that are resting on the straw), but they do need a mulch over the winter to protect them from desiccating freezes.

 I've used chopped leaves, but wasn't happy with the yields where I used it, and the small bits of leaf stick to the berries and plants, creating wet spots that don't dry well.  That led to increased disease presence in the bed.  Grass clippings are out, and hay too, as they are just packed with weed seeds.  I have had good luck using pine bark mini-nuggets as a mulch around the strawberries, as it dries fast and doesn't soak up water. However, it is too heavy to use as a mulch over the plants, and too expensive.
 
What I use currently is a 3 oz. (or a doubled 1.5 oz) frost/freeze blanket.  It comes in  a handy roll, and lasts a few winters if you roll it up promptly when spring arrives.  Survival and flower bud initiation has been excellent, and I never feel like I have to rush out to get the straw off during a wet, rainy period in late winter.  Very easy to use, and the blanket protects the plants from winter exposure.
I think, if one were looking for an environmentally friendly cover, a few layers of burlap would work, especially if you had a good cover of snow for most of the winter.

 

Helpful Products for
 growing Strawberries Organically

Your hands are best, and keeping the plants thinned out so they get enough air flow around them.  But, sometimes all the work and planning don't pan out, and you need to do something to save a crop or stop a disease from wiping out your plants.  Healthy soil really is your best defense, but things with weather and temperatures can occur that will afflict even the healthiest plants.  When I know some nasty, cold, rainy weather is going to roll in on my strawberries when they are loaded with ripening fruit, or trying to bloom, I have used Neem oil to great effect.  It is sold under different labels, I use one called Trilogy (sold by Ohio Earth Food).  Neem oil is non-toxic to most animals (as an oil, it does kill scale, mites, and soft bodied insects), though it does act as a repellent for most scarab beetles (like the Japanese beetle).  It is also a very effective fungicide and bactericide, and it is for these properties I use it.  Different brands and formulations have varying application rates, but generally it is once a week during the times you expect problems.
There are some other OMRI listed products with which I have less experience: Serenade, Actinovate, GreenCure (a sodium bicarb based fungicide), and Oxidate (a hydrogen dioxide based fungicide). Ohio Earth Food and Johnny's Select Seeds offer these products.

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Strawberry Types

There are two types of strawberry that we sell:  day-neutral and June-bearing.
These descriptions refer to the affect day length has on when the strawberries begin flowering.

 For Day-neutral strawberries, as the name implies, day length has no effect on when the plant begins to flower.  Day-neutral strawberries are governed by temperature as to when they start, and stop, flowering.  Professional growers in California have found that day-neutrals stop flowering when  day/night temperatures exceed 86F/79F

 

June bearing, or short day, strawberries, begin flowering in the mid to late spring, when day-length is still less than 14 hours.  They tend to have a concentrated cropping time, and then a period of vigorous vegetative growth when they increase their crown size and send out runners.

 

Shipping Restrictions

We currently have no shipping restrictions on our strawberry plants within the continental U.S.
No shipments to HI or AK at this time.

 

 

 

 

Hope to be adding pictures here in 2012!