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.