Seascape: My Favorite Spring-to-Frost Strawberries

May 8, 2009


When it comes to harvesting strawberries, one can have four weeks of pleasure, or one can enjoy a five-month-long orgy. It all depends upon the type of strawberry you plant: June-bearing types, or “day-neutral” varieties. Guess which kind I selected for my own, small Fragaria patch?

“Day-neutral” strawberries are sometimes frowned upon, because they produce smaller-sized fruit than June-bearing types. However, Stephen McKay, a specialist in all things berry-related, and the owner of Micosta Nurseries in Hudson, NY, introduced me to a new day-neutral variety called ‘Seascape.’ It produces the same large, juicy, heart-shaped berries that its June-only relatives are famous for. But Seascape continues to flower and set fruit from late May until the first frost of October.

For the largest harvest, disbud Seascape for the first five weeks of flower-production. This will encourage the plants to grow strong root systems and more leaves, which will give you a higher yield over the long harvest period.

I bought 25 bare-root Seascape plants from Micosta. After researching them further, and after discovering how productive they are, I went back to Micosta, and bought 25 more. I planted them in one of the 8′x4′ raised-beds in the kitchen garden. Here they are:

Regardless of the type of strawberries you grow, take care not to bury them too deeply. Spread out the roots when you plant, and keep the crown completely exposed. Day-neutral varieties can be grown fairly close to each other; mine are seven inches apart. A mulch of chopped straw will keep weeds at bay, and conserve water.

Now, may I ask you a favor? Well, two favors, really. First, what is your favorite way to enjoy strawberries? Straight off the plant? Sliced in a pie? Thrown in a blender for a frozen daiquiri?

Next, do you have a recipe for strawberry jam? An easy recipe. I only ask because my mother used to make this ambrosia when I was a child. Perhaps I’ll ask her for the recipe, and see if she’ll share it with us. For Mother’s Day.

Anyway, I look forward to reading your strawberry stories. Post them in the comments section below.

See you soon.

Comments

  1. berrylover says:

    I love strawberries with whipped cream, but I would love to hear how other people enjoy them. I too would like a recipe for strawberry jam.

  2. Judy says:

    Strawberry sorbet! Yum!

  3. Berrylover & Judy: Whipped cream and sorbet…delish!

    My partner enjoys strawberries with Cool Whip; I prefer the REAL thing.

  4. Dittims says:

    Strawberries and sour cream! Strawberries on my cereal for breakfast! Strawberries with vanilla ice cream! I am going to try the Seascape berries. We had so many June-bearing strawberries this year we could barely keep up with picking them. My back was really hurting. It would be nice just to pick a little at a time.

  5. Dittim's daughter says:

    Strawberries dipped in chocolate!

  6. Welcome, Dittims & Daughter! Yes – do plant seascape. Then you will have a long, luxurious supply of berries for sour cream…cereal…ice cream…and dipping in chocolate.

    See you again soon, I hope!

  7. Laura says:

    Kevin, I make strawberry ‘ freezer jam’! It is fabulous & easy to make, no hot water bath canning required! The recipe is in the pectin box, or you can google it.
    In 2010 we yielded 25 pounds of berries — oh my gosh it was amazing! Shortcakes, jams, fresh berries on waffles, and so much more! A while back I had read about the ‘Seascape’ berry & will try it sometime. Our June bearing berries have borne delicious fruit for several years & now need replenishing. The patch is at ground level & unfortunately a neighboring creeping charlie invasion made its way in, in spite of rigorous pulling :(

  8. Laura – Ooo…strawberry freezer jam…my mouth is watering! Must try this summer. Have to say that 25 pounds of berries is “berry” impressive. I responded to your creeping charlie question under the Platycodon ‘Sentimental Blue’ post.

  9. Laura says:

    Thanks Kevin & yes, you will love it! The fresh berry flavor is out of this world!
    I kept it in ziplock freezer bags. No fuss or muss as it doesn’t crystallize nor freeze solid!

  10. Ian says:

    Kevin and Laura, I second the freezer jam suggestion. I’ve got about 30 feet of strawberries edging my kitchen garden, and the yield has been overwhelming (though not as good this last summer as in 2010). Ball sells bags of a pectin mixture (with dextrose I think) that you mix with crushed strawberries and sugar, and that’s it. I’ve had good luck freezing the jam in Ball’s plastic screw top jars. A very welcome flavor in January!

  11. Ian – Thanks to you and Laura, I’m totally sold on the freezer jam idea. Can’t wait for the first big strawberry crop in June. My local Mom & Pop hardware store sells Ball screw-top jars and also pectin, so I’m all set!

  12. Ian says:

    Kevin – Just be sure to get the pectin specially marked for “freezer jam” since it’s a bit different than the little boxes used for cooked jam. Enjoy!

  13. Ian – Thanks for the heads-up on that!

  14. Mary says:

    Mix them into rhubarb pie or rhubarb sauce. The freezer jam is wonderful but you have to have homemade bread to do it justice. Which by the looks of your pictures you have the homemade bread.

  15. glora mckissick says:

    Last year I bought some Lock & Lock containers on QVC. I purchase strawberries whenever I go to Sam’s Club and now that I have those containers I will buy 2 large packages of them beause I will put them in the containers and have them in the refrigerator for more than a week up to two weeks and they are still wonderful.
    I have about 200 everbearing strawberry plants on the alley side of the house so I am really looking forward to using these containers this summer. I usually have to throw so many into the compost pile because I can only eat so many at a time. I thought I would pass the Lock & Lock containers on.

  16. Paul pbc1951 says:

    I eat half in the garden, and half in the kitchen. !! And 50/50 with Rhubarb in a pie too !!!

  17. Terri says:

    I have started a small strawberry patch (on a very small lot) but how the heck do I keep the squirrels out of them?!? I want them open enough to allow bees, but the squirrels get the berries before I can even get close. ;c(

  18. Mary – You are SO right about homemade bread. To me, it’s a MUST for strawberry jam!

    Glora – Thanks for the Lock & Lock container tip.

    Paul pbc1951 – I never mix strawberries and rhubarb in a pie. I blame this on my mother.

    Terri – Try throwing bird-netting over them. The strawberries, I mean, not the squirrels. Also, plant some lavender near the berry patch. Squirrels, woodchucks and deer hate the scent loathe the scent.

  19. Lou says:

    I have strawberries all year round an put it down to my dogs eating them morning an night,no matter what the weather frost, rain they still come.I have baby tears under planted an it keeps them clean, warm in winter an cool in the summer. Plus I just let the runners grow where thry want, no work planting

  20. Denise says:

    Squirrels are so destructive! I put netting over my strawberries and they chewed holes in it. This year they also chomped my blueberry shrubs down to mere 6 inch sticks. I had been trying to get blueberries to grow for years. Finally I got them to stay alive and then this. My husband saw them, so we know it was the squirrels. Another strange thing we caught them doing was chewing pieces off of a resin lounge chair and carrying them off. I think they’re just really angry at us for chopping down the trees near our house. (We did that after they got into our “attic” and chewed a hole through the ceiling in our laundry room).

  21. Sharon says:

    Okay I realize you aren’t supposed to do this but we had destructive squirrels too. My husband finally bought a trap and would drive them miles away and let them go in a nearby wooded area near a cemetery. They would need to cross 2 highways to get home and they haven’t come back here.

  22. Dale Gasque says:

    I serve strawberries with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of brown sugar on a plate. Dip the strawberry in the sour cream, then brown sugar–just a little of each. Simple and delicious!

  23. Amy Simonson says:

    I, too, only do freezer jam now. I also use the Ball Freezer Jam Pectin. It’s awesome because you only need a cup & a half of sugar to 4 cups of fruit. It’s so good – tastes like fresh strawberries on toast! We also battle the wildlife eating our berries – mostly deer. I’m going to try the lavender idea this year. As for a favorite way to enjoy them, I’d have to say over a good shortcake with a good dollop of homemade whipped cream. Hungry now!!

  24. Sharon says:

    I like to slice the luscious strawberries into a salad with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese with baby lettuces and candied pecans and a drizzle of a raspberry vinaigrette-type of dressing. Feels like summer to me.

  25. stamperitis says:

    I love to make toast with fresh peanut butter and slice strawberries on top. Yum!

  26. Karen says:

    Hull the berries, dig out a little hole (if it isn’t already hollow). Mix confectioner’s sugar into softened cream cheese (mix in a little bit of fresh mint if you like) and stuff into the berry. YUMMY!

  27. Amy says:

    My daughter’s favorite is Fresh Strawberry Pie. Prepare a pie shell first. (Bottom crust only.) Slice one pound of strawberries and combine in a bowl with one cup of sugar. Let the strawberries stand for a few hours until they are juicy. Drain the juices off into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix 1/4 cup of water, one tablespoon butter and two tablespoons plus one teaspoon cornstarch and add to the saucepan and continue cooking, covered, over low heat for two minutes. Cool the mixture slightly and stir into the strawberries. Pour into your pie shell and chill thoroughly. Easy and delicious :) I have used regular pie dough, graham cracker, added a layer of sugar/creamcheese filling and even used this with puff pastery dough baked into individual shells. Its always a hit.

  28. kimberly ann says:

    1. Slice ‘em, smoosh ‘em, and top Angel Food cake with ‘em!
    (I use a grapefruit spoon to top them, and give the tops to the chickens)
    2.
    2 cups strawberries
    1 cup purple violet blooms
    juice of 1 lemon
    sugar 1 1/2 – 2 Cups
    If you want to eat it fresh, blender smooth, and use it without pectin.
    For a bit of ‘punch’ toss in 1/2 C rhubarb (sliced, and heated soft – microwave 3 minutes).

    Freezer jam: add one packet of the sure jell – it comes in liquid form, thus eliminating a pot and boiling time.

  29. lola lawton says:

    I read a lot of garden journals and Eco-friendly articles, I wish to express; I find your ‘ garden for the house’ excellent in a simplistic style that is easy to read and understand. pics are excellent recipes are simple thank-you. I recommend your site whenever the topic of ‘ how does your garden grow’ comes up Bravo; thank-you

  30. lola lawton says:

    mothballs keep ground animals away chipmunks squirrels mice however they do have a bit of a unpleasant odor and must be kept away from children ( they look like little white balls) they will even repel skunk( for a time skunks are relentless).

  31. Cindy says:

    I love them any way! :p I forgot about rhubarb pie. Yum Mom use to make it. The freezer jam, taste fresh. But i needed to know… do you really use straw under your berries? I haven’t been and lost a lot of my plants last year. If I use it how thick do I lay it?

  32. Tina Tibbetts says:

    I love them straight from the garden! (with a little dirt)
    Second best is with low-fat vanilla yogurt and a little granola.

  33. Lynda says:

    The best way is from plant to mouth in 1 second. Second is on lemon cake. Yum. I make freezer jam from purchased berries because I can’t get rid of the little slugs and rolly pollies that nibble on my big pot of plants. Got any hints for ridding the dirt of them organically?

  34. Meg says:

    I macerate them with sugar and eat them over waffles. Sometimes I add some lemon curd to this as well. I always make freezer jam, but have started experimenting with adding in vanilla beans and I recently saw a jam made with sherry as well that I may try this year if I have enough yield. I only have the June-bearing right now.

  35. Meg says:

    Sorry, not sherry, but balsamic vinegar. It’s a freezer jam too from Organic Gardening’s website.

  36. MicronCat says:

    Kevin, do you put anything under the berries to keep them up off the ground? I see you said chopped straw as mulch. I’m having a problem with the side of the berries that are on the ground being rotted away. :(

    Thanks
    Lisa

  37. My favorite way to eat strawberries is warm, one at a time, right off the plant in the garden! Strawberry shortcake and strawberry jam are definitely my next choices!

  38. meeri says:

    We slice them up, sprinkle w/ sugar, and let them sit for a bit while supper is cooking…after which, we top them with a simple dollop of heavy whipped cream (unwhipped). As for keeping chipmunks away, an oversized yard cat keeps our continuously threatened within an inch of their lives and the dogs have the same affect on the deer. In the absense of a good pooch, deer are off-put by anything new–so, we have purchased the little (neon) orange flagging ribbons and rotate them as well as lawn-furniture, wheelbarrows, and various project materials around the property to keep them confused and at bay.

  39. meeri says:

    MicronCat: strawberries don’t mind an acidic soil, so we mulch ours with about 4″ of cedar chips from a nearby sawmill. This does the trick–unless you have chickens grazing nearby. Cedar is toxic to them.

    Kevin: in the absence of cedar chips or straw, would you recommend using grass clippings to mulch a strawberry bed?

  40. Pam Ulmer says:

    Hi Kevin.
    I just found your link through Pinterest.
    I’m growing strawberries for the first time in a few years.
    I was wondering if I should be cutting off the new babies or letting them take root?
    Thanks for any help.

    Oh and our favorite way to eat strawberries is on Belgian waffles with whipped cream though I do have yummy memories of freezer jam and will try some again when this crop comes in.

  41. April says:

    I heart strawberries, and since we are big believers in the eat local, eat seasonally, I wait until they are in season and FABULOUS. I’m growing my first strawberry patch this year. I have Albion and Diamante everbearing. I’m going to try the seascape though. My local nurseries don’t carry them, so I will order online once this hateful heat passes. I also planted my first blueberry bushes. We have extremely alkaline soil (think 7.5), so I planted them directly in bags of peat moss and ran drip line through them to keep them moist. I planted them in May and they are leafing, so I’m hopeful. Also have blackberries in the ground and when it cools down a little I will put in raspberries (we just moved in last fall and there was zero landscaping, so we’ve been working like mad to do it all).

    My newest favorite way to eat strawberries is by making chocolate Greek yogurt and strawberries on top. It’s like a dessert, but I eat it for breakfast or snack. Or dessert if the sweet tooth hits me before bed.
    http://www.ourfoodstorage.com/2012/06/18/perpetual-food-storage-part-1-and-chocolate-greek-yogurt-with-berries/

    We also love to make a salad with spinach, strawberries, bacon, Parmesan cheese, grilled chicken and homemade poppy seed dressing. One of our favorite fair weather meals.
    http://www.ourfoodstorage.com/2009/06/10/rotating-dehydrated-onions/

    I also freeze tons of berries when they are ins season. I put them on jelly roll pans to freeze individually, then use my food saver to package them. Until my ow plants are bearing, I buy from local growers. Last year I froze 5 flats each of blueberries and raspberries and use them every day in smoothies and such. I”m nearly out. I can’t wait until I’m freezing my own berries!

  42. Pam says:

    Hi Kevin. How do we winter over our strawberries? I am in SW Oregon.
    Thanks for any help.

  43. Sage says:

    Enjoyed this post.
    Do you order your strawberries online?
    I’m wanting to get started with strawberries in my garden and hope to get them ordered soon!
    Thanks so much.

  44. Kathy Chase says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I really enjoy visiting your site. I wanted to thank you for your help with my winter sowing questions. My sowing is coming along. I have 10 jugs out so far – all perennials. I’ll send you pictures this spring. It’s amazing that your snow is almost gone. We are in the same zone in Michigan and still have 2+ feet in our yard. I guess I can just keep sowing. :)

    I loved your article on making cheese. I am definitely going to try it.

    I am also going to order the Seascape strawberry plants from Micosta. I plan on experimenting with planting them in a tower because I don’t have very many sunny spots in my yard. Any tips on this venture?

    Also. is there a trick to making my own hash browns and freezing them?

    Thanks for all of your help,

    Kathy

  45. Deb says:

    I have a clay pot under a pine tree and I hear strawberries do well with pines…and it must be true. This plant produces year after year and my dog loves to go over, check them out, and pick them at the peak of ripeness! I’m lucky to get even one so if there is a good use for these strawberries, I think this is it…a happy dog and it’s so cute to watch her pick the berries. I get as much enjoyment as she does.

  46. Shelly Randall says:

    Hi Kevin, just want to confirm when the best time to transplant strawberries and blueberries as well, I’m guessing after they are done baring fruit? I did transplant some strawberries last fall into a container and they did not come back this year. That’s why I wanted a second opinion. Thanks

  47. Sheryl says:

    Hi all!
    You all are making my mouth water! I made a jello poke cake with fresh strawberries and cool whip. Super easy and everyone loved it. Lite, too.
    I also made jello strawberry rhubarb jam and strawberry rhubarb hand pies (turnovers). they were scrumptious!!!
    I will order some of these strawberries. Right now I only have June berries.
    Thanks for all the ideas everyone!
    ps, I can my jam, to save freezer space!

  48. Roger Weill says:

    What is day neutral? When do I plant in mid Mississippi. Is seascape OK here?

  49. elizabeth says:

    Hi! what would be a good strawberry to plant for a patio pot here in Salem Oregon? something big and sweet and blooming in early summer?

  50. Mary in Iowa says:

    1. Grazing right there in the patch on sun-warmec berries, juice dripping, is wealth beyond measure.

    2. Sliced, sugared enough to draw the juices, ladled over fresh-baked almond shorcakes, and gererously topped with whipped cream–the real deal, not the ersatz stuff.

    3. This past June, I was invited to a chicken killin’ party. Yes you heard that right. Two men own an organic farm about an hour south of here. They sell produce and eggs at farmers’ markets, and when the hens get past their prime and egg production falls off, they have to be sacrificed, albeit with a certain amount of regret. That day we processed 35 of the tough old birds, then repaired to the kitchen for a beautiful meal of their organic beef and produduce. There were only 5 of us, and Matt concocted the most ambrosial fappe from their strawberries, fresh cream and vanilla ice cream whirled in the blender. This may be my new favorite.

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