2014 Garden Plans: Bed 5 – Annual Strawberries
We haven’t had any fruit in the Demo Garden since we renovated a couple years ago, so it is going to be fun to have some strawberries again. What we are trying this year are two varieties of Day Neutral strawberries that are typically grown commercially as annuals. Plant, fruit, and remove all in one year. Now, most production systems recommend fall planting for a spring crop and any additional harvest is bonus. Obviously we didn’t do that, so we are trying an early spring planting with the intention of letting the plants fruit for as long as they want to until it gets too cold in the fall.
We only have a small raised bed dedicated to this project, so despite the temptation to cram 4 varieties in, we opted for just two – ‘San Andreas’ and ‘Mara des Bois.’ Both are supposed to have good flavor for day neutrals (they are usually not so flavorful – think grocery store strawberries right now), and have some good disease resistance. A local grower had tried three other varieties last year, so we wanted to try a couple others. I’ll be growing a third variety (‘Albion’) at home, so I’ll be interested to see how they compare. Day neutrals typically don’t fruit well when the temperatures get hot, so the weather will impact our yields. Last year the local grower reported issues with fruit rots in mid-summer due to the rain. We just can’t win, no matter what!