When we put in our perennial concrete beds, I picked up a 12 pack of everbearing strawberries on clearance at Menard’s. It took a couple of years for them to take off, but we were quite pleased with the results. So, I ended up ordering two new varieties from Territorial Seeds: Seascape Strawberries (everbearing), and Rainier (June bearing). We now have two full beds of strawberries, plus my original first bed of the mystery variety from Menard’s:
And, we have two full non-beds of runners. The Rainier berries have completely overtaken parts of the garden. In fact, they are nearly as thick outside the beds than they are inside the bed, where they should be.
I’ve found strawberries to be pretty easy to grow, in my experience. They do need full sun, but the varieties we picked seem to be quite hardy. Strawberries are susceptible to a couple of different viruses, though, and we are starting to suspect that our original row of “Menard’s Variety” berries may have caught this. Rainier is supposed to be resistant to viruses though, so I’m hoping that we can keep int from spreading.
To keep strawberries virus-free, I’ve read that you shouldn’t keep the plants in the same bed for more than 3-4 years. So my plan with the garden it to continually move the new strawberry runners, and rotate them through the beds in the garden. This fall, I plan to take healthy runners from our Menard’s Variety and put them in the back row of the garden. This will give us three full rows of strawberries next year – and we can continue rotating rows every three years.
Last year we harvested 40+ pounds. This was used in jam, fruit leather, and we froze some. With two small boys, I don’t think we’ll have a problem using all of our strawberries again this year. We are, however, happily sharing the runners with local friends who want to start their own bed!
The strawberries are already flowering this spring, which has been a fun opportunity to explain the importance of bees, and the growth cycle of the fruit, to our three-year-old.