Best Strawberry Varieties?


#1

Hello all,

I’ve been sticking around GW for the most part. I do keep checking back here to see what’s going on. My gardening interests are varied and fruit is a small portion of what I do, although I find fruit interesting, I also think of it as more work intensive than other things I do. At least that’s my perception.

I basically have blueberry bushes and strawberry plants and that is the extent of fruit in my garden. I am planning on adding more strawberry plants in the spring and wondered if anyone had any suggestions for great varieties?

I did try starting grapes from seeds awhile back, but they were seed I traded with someone for and they didn’t turn out to be healthy and I ripped them out last fall. I’m still debating whether it’s worth it to start all over again with a healthy dark purple table grape, but that’s a topic for another post.

I do grow organically, so healthy plants to start out with, with resistance to disease is very important for me.


Strawberry recommendation
#2

Hi Liz, my favorite strawberries are Earliglow (june) and Mara des Bois (everbearing). They are different and they have a wonderful rich strawberry flavor.

You can get cuttings of grapes and root them yourself fairly easily, and that way you will get a good plant. Seedling grapes are often not so good. Do make sure its super disease resistant, some grapes are a nightmare to grow without sprays.

Scott


#3

A recent posting in F&O may help.


#4

Scott, thanks for the recommendations. I did want both June bearing and Everbearing. I’ll look for those varieties. And yes, I won’t be using sprays of any kind, so unless I can find something disease resistant enough not to, I guess grapes may stay a ‘wish’. I do realize that getting a cutting over a seedling will be better next time. Thanks!

Fruitnut, thanks for that link to the Strawberry varieties FAQ. I’ve bookmarked it.

:slight_smile:


#5

Scott, I am happy to see you list Mara des Bois as one of your favorites.
Our local Conservation District is having their seedling sale and offering MDB plants this year. They describe it as having the best flavor among day_neutral varieties. I can get 25 plants for 23 dollars. Last year I planted Earliglow from them.


#6

As a side note… How big do the fruits get on MDB? And will 25 plants be enough to make lots of jam etc. and for fresh eating. My family loves strawberries fresh. Especially my grandson.

Ginny


#7

Ginny, the berries are on the small side. My plants produced large berries early and then smaller berries throughout the season. The early ones were tasty but the later smaller ones were exceptionally good.

Scott


#8

That price is steep! Nourse has 25 for $13.95. 50 for $24.00 If 25 plants is not enough, you can plant runners for more plants. I throw hundreds of plants out every year. They are prolific producers of new plants.
Nourse is one terrific nursery too, one of the very best out there.
I like June bearing for jam, as the berries come all at once. MDB is everbearing.


#9

They sound really good. I dont mind the small size as long as we have lots of them coming on through the season. Thank you .
Ginny


#10

Drew I will check out Nourse Nurseries. I know the MDB is priced higher than other strawberry plants our local Conservation District is offering. It is a new listing this year. While I have to pay sales tax on orders at least I would not be paying a shipping fee. But still, 24 dollars for fifty plants is hard to beat. Good to know MDB sets good runners. We need to make and prepare a few more raised beds to make more room the runners when the time comes. The prices have been increasing for plants and seedlings through our Conservation District.

Thank you
Ginny


#11

I’ve been growing Mara des Bois for 11 years now. They are a delicious strawberry with a hint of ‘wild’ strawberry in their flavor. They range from medium-large to very small, almost tiny in size. It is just the nature of the berry and plant. But they are one of the best tasting strawberries out there. I have purchased all of my strawberries from Nourse Farms as well. They too are excellent! Make your order of plants large as you will be sorry that you didn’t. You will not have fruit bearing plants till year two, as you must remove all flowers in year one! More is better on this one! Mrs. G


#12

Thank you Mrs. G… I will make sure to place a large plant order. I cant wait until I have bearing fruit.


#13

I’d love to be able to grow some Marshall strawberries, but cannot find a reasonably priced source. I may see if I can find someone up in Washington to check out Vashon or Bainbridge Islands, where I think some folks are selling plants. I know Leah Gautier is trying to propagate and sell her Marshall strawberries, but at $135 for 4, a bit out of my budget.

Patty S.


#14

Why are the Marshall Strawberries so expensive?


#15

Well, they were the #1 commercial strawberry crop back in the '50’s, but other cultivars were developed that shipped and packed, better, and this cultivar fell out of favor to the point of almost going extinct. It is supposed to be the best tasting strawberry out there. But, very few folks are propagating it. There is an area up in Washington (Bainbridge Island and Vashon Island) that is growing this strawberry again, and selling it to local markets, since it doesn’t ship or pack, well. Leah Gautier is encouraging folks to propagate this cultivar and has started a campaign to reintroduce the strawberry, but at $45 per plant, or $135 for 4, just too pricey for me. However, I admire her tenacity. She has a Kickstarter campaign launched to help defray costs of production and shipping, so hopefully, as her operation grows, costs for the plants will drop. I know there are growers up in Washington selling their Marshall strawberries at local Farmer’s Markets, and most likely at a more reasonable price.

Patty S.


#16

You can get Marshall from the ARS. I looked into it several years ago when I made an ARS order for strawberries, but it is highly disease-prone so not a good east coast berry. The legendary berry out east is Fairfax, not Marshall. I grew Fairfax and its a good berry but Mara des Bois is better. Both Fairfax and Marshall were rated excellent by Darrow in his famous strawberry book. Darrow’s favorite in his book is Suwannee, and I agree its excellent. But it was never as popular as Marshall or Fairfax and nobody seems to grow it anymore.

Scott


#17

Scott and MrsG, how disease resistant is this strawberry? I wanted to get it when I placed my Nourse order, but I couldn’t find much info on its disease resistance. I may still have time to add it before the order ships. Thanks.


#18

Scott, I checked out the Corvallis ARS and on their site they said they will not send any plant materials to home gardeners. So, I will check the main ARS and see if they have the Marshall runners. I’m a CRFG, so maybe I can use that as my request.

Patty S.


#19

Hmm, I have ordered from them, but it was five or more years ago.

@RobThomas, Mara des Bois was about like other berries for me. I have problems with leaf spot on all my berries and it was not that different. Other than leaf spotting I didn’t have disease problems.

Scott


#20

Hi Liz, I’m going to credit harvestman/Alan for saying that gardening is the gateway drug for fruit growing. It has certainly been that way for me. So better beware! :wink:

Strawbs are one of those things that are fun to trial, mostly because they can be grown as annuals and there really aren’t any bad berries. With all gardening being local, consider picking up some varieties that are readily available in your area and plant some out. A mix of June bearing and ever bearing is a good idea – this has given me strawbs nearly year round in my locale. Either way, experiment and have fun with it. I did a trial a while back and came away with some personal favs: ‘Camarosa’, ‘Eversweet’, ‘Albion’, ‘Sequioa’ & ‘Quinalt’

Here are some berries setting fruit in December: