Strawberries

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If you have grown strawberries for any length of time, you know that flavor and yield are not predictable but vary from year to year depending on spring growing conditions. Strawberries are also very regional in their adaptation and the best variety in one state may be only fair in another. A good nursery can be a big help, since the staff keeps abreast of developments in plant breeding and offers plants that should succeed. Your county agricultural agent can help, too, especially if you've had trouble in the past. Two types of strawberries are available: standard and everbearing. The traditional "everbearing" types actually bear two crops per season, one in summer and one in fall. Recently strawberries have been developed that are truly everbearing, producing fruit spring, summer, and fall. These are listed in catalogs as "everbearers" or "day-neutrals" (since they fruit regardless of day length). These are very good for decorative hanging baskets, since they even fruit on unrooted runners.

To encourage vigorous growth of regular varieties, remove blossoms that appear the year the plants are set out. The year that everbearing kinds are planted, remove all blossoms until the middle of July. The later blossoms will produce a late summer and fall crop.

Strawberry Quinault Everbearing
'Sequoia'

Plant strawberries in soil with good drainage, and mound the planting site if you're not sure about the drainage. The new leaf bud in the center of each plant should sit exactly level with the soil surface. Never plant strawberries deep.

Gardeners who grow strawberries in containers in a dis-ease-free soil mix don't have to worry about verticillium wilt and red stele (root rot). Both are caused by a soil-borne fungus. Whether growing strawberries in containers or in garden soil, always ask for plants that are certified as disease free.

Winter protection is needed where alternate freezing and thawing of the soil may cause the plants to heave and break the roots. Low temperatures also injure the crowns of the plants. In the fall, after the soil has frozen to a depth of 1 inch, place a straw mulch 3 or 4 inches deep over the plants. Remove most of the mulch in spring when the centers of a few plants show a yellow-green color. You can leave an inch of loose straw, even add some fresh straw between rows. The plants will come up through it, and it will help retain moisture in the soil and keep mud off the berries.

In northern areas, and as far south as North Carolina, strawberries should be set out in early spring. In the warmer regions of North Carolina, plants can be set out in fall or winter as well, and you can expect a light crop from these plants about five months later.

In northern Cotton Belt climates, set out plants in September for the highest yield of spring berries. Waiting until later will diminish the crop.

In the warmest Gulf climates and into Florida, you must order cold-stored plants, or plants from the north, for planting from February to March. You can also obtain a quick crop by planting northern plants in early November for winter fruiting, but the crop will be smaller. The runners from February plantings can be transplanted in May and August to increase the size of your planting.

Western planting seasons impose unique restrictions on strawberry growth. In the coldest areas of California and from the Great Basin to Colorado, plant as early in spring as possible since there is good moisture in the soil to start the plants. If soils are usually too wet for planting, protect a mounded bed with plastic to keep the soil friable.

In the Northwest, especially the coolest areas of western Washington, plant early in fall so plants can become established before real cold sets in, or else wait until early spring. Watch for washouts from heavy fall rain. Weed carefully in spring so weeds don't compete.

In milder-winter areas of California, use chilled plants (stored at 34° F for a short period) and set them out in October and early November. The low desert is a chancy area for strawberries, but October planting may give results.

Anywhere in California, the berries will do better with a plastic mulch, which increases winter soil temperature and keeps the berries off the soil. Irrigate by furrows for raised beds or by drip irrigation.

Varieties for the South

  • Albritton' This late berry is large and uniform in size and is excellent fresh and for freezing. It develops a rich flavor in North Carolina. Origin: North Carolina. 'Blakemore' These early berries are small and firm, with a high acid and pectin content. They have only fair flavor but are excellent for preserves. The plants are vigorous, with good runner production and high resistance to virus diseases and verticillium wilt. They are adapted to a wide range of soil types from Virginia to Georgia and westward to Oklahoma and southern Missouri. Origin: Maryland.
  • Cardinal' These large, firm, dark red berries are sweet and good for fresh eating and processing. The heavy midseason crop comes on plants resistant to leaf spot, leaf scorch, and powdery mildew. Widely available. Origin: Unknown. 'Daybreak' These medium red berries are large and very attractive with good flavor and preserving quality. The plants are very productive. Locally available. Origin: Louisiana.
  • Dixieland' This early berry is deep red, firm, acid in flavor, and excellent for freezing. Plants are sturdy and vigorous. Origin: Maryland. 'Earlibelle' This widely adapted early variety produces large, firm fruit that is good for canning and freezing. The plants are medium sized, with good runner production and resistance to leaf spot and leaf scorch. Origin: North Carolina. 'Florida Ninety' These berries are very large, with very good flavor and quality. The plant is a heavy producer of fruit and runners. Origin: Florida.
  • Guardian' These large, deep red, midseason berries are firm, uniform in size, and attractive. They have good dessert quality and freeze well. The plants are vigorous and productive and resist many diseases. Origin: Maryland.
Growing Strawberries Louisiana
  • Surecrop'
  • Olympus'
  • Surecrop'
  • Headliner' These midsea-son berries are of good quality. The plants are vigorous and productive, make runners freely, and resist leaf spot. Locally available. Origin: Louisiana.
  • Marlate' This very large, attractive fruit is good fresh and freezes well. The plant is extremely hardy and is, therefore, a productive and dependable late variety. Origin: Maryland.
  • Pocahontas' This berry is good fresh, frozen, or in preserves. The plants are vigorous and resist leaf scorch. They are adapted from southern New England to Norfolk, Virginia. Origin: Maryland. 'Redchief' The fruit is medium to large and of uniform deep red color with a firm, glossy surface. The plant is extremely productive and resistant to red stele (root rot). Origin: Maryland. 'Sunrise' These berries are medium sized, symmetrical, and firm and have very good flavor. The flesh is too pale for freezing. A vigorous grower, the plant resists red stele, leaf scorch, and mildew. Origin: Maryland.
  • Surecrop' This early berry is large, round, glossy, firm, and of good dessert quality. The large plants should be spaced 6 to 9 inches apart for top production. Resists red stele, verticillium wilt, leaf spot, leaf scorch, and drought. Good in all zones. Widely available. Origin: Maryland. 'Suwannee' This is a medium to large, early, tender berry of very good quality either fresh or frozen. It is a poor shipper but excellent for the home garden. Locally available. Origin: Maryland. 'Tennessee Beauty' This late berry is medium sized, attractive, glossy red, and firm and has good flavor. It is good for freezing. The plants are productive of both fruit and runners. They resist leaf spot, leaf scorch, and virus diseases. Origin: Tennessee.
  • Olympus'

Varieties for the Northeast and Midwest

  • Ardmore' These large, late midseason berries are yellowish red outside and lighter inside and have good flavor. The plants are productive in heavy silt loam. Origin: Missouri. 'Canoga' This late-ripening, heavy-bearing cultivar produces large, sweet fruit that lasts well because of firm flesh and tough skin. Origin: New York.
  • Catskill' These large mid-season berries are of good dessert quality and are excellent for freezing. The fruit is not firm enough for shipping, but the plant is a productive home garden variety. It can be grown over a wide range of soil types from New England and New Jersey to southern Minnesota. Widely available. Origin: New York. 'Cyclone' This variety yields large, flavorful berries that are good for freezing. The plant is hardy, resists foliage diseases, and is well adapted to the North Central States. Widely available. Origin: Iowa.
  • Dunlap' This early to mid-season fruit is medium sized, with dark crimson skin and deep red flesh. It does not ship well but is a good home garden fruit. Plants are hardy and adapted to a wide range of soil types in northern Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Origin: Illinois. 'Earlidawn' If you want the first strawberrries in your, neighborhood, this is the cultivar to plant. The berries are medium to large on heavy-bearing plants. Origin: Maryland.
  • Fletcher' These berries are medium sized, with a medium red, glossy, tender skin and excellent flavor. They are very good for freezing. The plants are well adapted to New York and New England. Origin: New York.
  • Holiday' The first fruit ripens at midseason, then ripening continues into summer with full-sized, large, bright red fruit. The plant is a heavy producer. Origin: New York.
Berys Nuts

'Midway'

'Sparkle'

'Midway'

  • Honeoye' This conical, bright red fruit boasts exceptional flavor among the early midseason cultivars. The yield is high, and the fruit is highly resistant to berry rot. Origin: New York.
  • Howard 17' ('Premier')

These are early, medium-sized berries of good quality. The plants are productive and resistant to leaf and virus diseases. Locally available in the Northeast. Origin: Massachusetts. 'Midland' This very early-variety bears large, glossy berries with deep red flesh. They are good to excellent fresh and also freeze well. The plant does best when grown in the hill system. It is adapted from southern New England to Virginia and west to Iowa and Kansas. Origin: Maryland.

  • Midway' These large berries are of good to very good dessert quality and are also good for freezing. Plants are susceptible to leaf spot, leaf scorch, and verticillium wilt. They are widely planted in Michigan. Widely available. Origin: Maryland. 'Raritan' These midseason berries are large, firm, and flavorful. The plants are medium sized. Origin: New Jersey. 'Redstar' These late berries are large and of good to very good dessert quality. The plants resist virus diseases, leaf spot, and leaf scorch. They are grown from southern New England south to Maryland and west to Missouri and Iowa. Origin: Maryland. 'Robinson' These exceptionally large, "picture-perfect" strawberries are amply produced on vigorous, easy-grow-ing plants. The prolonged fruiting period begins in mid-season. Origin: Michigan.
  • Sparkle'
  • Sparkle' This is a productive midseason variety with bright red, attractive berries that are fairly soft and have good flavor. The berry size is good in early pickings, but small in later ones. Widely available. Origin: New Jersey. 'Trumpeter' These medium-sized late berries are soft and glossy and have very good flavor. This is a hardy and productive home garden variety for the upper Mississippi valley and the Plains States. Origin: Minnesota.

Everbearing Varieties for the Northeast and Midwest

  • Gem' ('Superfection', 'Brilliant', 'Gem Everbearing', and 'Giant Gem') This variety yields small, glossy red, tart fruit of good dessert quality. Widely available. Origin: Michigan.
  • Geneva' The large, vigorous plants fruit well in June and throughout the summer and early autumn. The berries are soft and highly flavored. Origin: New York.
  • Ogallala' Berries are dark red, soft, and medium sized and have a tart flavor that makes them good for freezing. Plants are vigorous and hardy. Widely available. Origin: Nebraska.
  • Ozark Beauty' An everbearing variety for the cooler climate zones, this plant produces poorly in mild climates. The berries are bright red inside and out, are large, sweet, and of good flavor. Only the mother plants produce in any one season, yielding crops in the summer and fall. Runner plants produce the following season. Widely available. Origin: Arkansas. 'Tribute' This day-neutral strawberry with tart fruit is resistant to disease. Origin: Maryland.
  • Tristar' This day-neutral variety is resistant to diseases. The fruit is sweet and highly recommended. Origin: Maryland.
How Protect Strawberries From Birds
Netting is the best way to protect ripe berries from birds.

Varieties for the West

The western strawberry-growing regions are divided into three areas: the Rockies and the Great Basin, western Washington and Oregon, and California.

The Rockies and the Great Basin

Recommended for these areas are the following varieties described earlier: 'Cyclone', 'Dunlap', 'Gem', 'Ogallala', 'Ozark Beauty', 'Sparkle', and 'Trumpeter'.

Western Washington and Oregon

  • Hood' These midseason berries are large, conical, bright red, and glossy. They are held high in upright clusters and are good fresh or in preserves. Plants are resistant to mildew but susceptible to red stele. Origin: Oregon. 'Northwest' This late mid-season variety produces large fruit at first, then smaller fruit later in the season. The berry' has crimson skin and red flesh and is firm, well flavored, and good fresh, in preserves, or for freezing. The plants are very productive and so resistant to virus diseases that they can be planted where virus has killed other varieties. Origin: Washington. 'Olympus' The late midseason fruit is held well up on arching stems. The berries are medium to large, bright red throughout, tender, and firm. The plants are vigorous but produce few runners. They resist red stele and virus diseases but are somewhat susceptible to botrytis infection. Origin: Washington. 'Puget Beauty' The large, glossy, very attractive fruit has light crimson skin. The flesh is highly flavored, excellent fresh, and good for freezing and preserves. The plants are large and upright with moderate runner production. They resist mildew but are somewhat susceptible to red stele. Locally available. Origin: Washington.
  • Quinault' An everbearer with a moderately early crop, heavier in July through September, the fruit is large and soft with good color. The plant produces good runners. Origin: Washington.
  • Rainier' These late midseason berries are large, firm, and of good quality. The plants are vigorous with large leaf blades but moderate runner production. Origin: Washington. 'Shuksan' This midseason variety bears large firm berries that are bright red, glossy, and broadly wedge shaped. The fruit is good for freezing, and the plants are vigorous. Origin: Washington.

California

  • Douglas' This large, uniform, midseason fruit is light red and firm. The plant is very vigorous and produces early berries when planted in October. Good in Southern California. Origin: California.
  • Pajaro' The large, uniform, early fruit has red skin and firm flesh. This berry does well along the central coast for spring and summer berries. It does well in the Central Valley for early season berries. Locally available. Origin: California.
  • Sequoia' This is an early variety that may even bear in December. The exceptionally large fruit is dark red and tender with soft flesh of excellent flavor. Harvest frequently for best quality. The plant is erect and vigorous, with many runners. It is recommended for home gardens on the central and south coast. Plant in October and November. Widely available. Origin: California. 'Shasta' This large midseason berry is bright red and glossy with firm red flesh and is good for freezing or preserves. The plants are fairly vigorous with a moderate number of runners. They have some resistance to mildew and virus diseases. Locally available. Origin: California. 'Tioga' This early berry is medium red and glossy, with firm flesh that is fine for preserves or freezing. The plant is vigorous, moderately resistant to virus, and fairly tolerant of salinity, but highly susceptible to verticillium wilt. It is good for late-summer planting. Origin: California. 'Tufts' This midseason berry is red, extremely firm, and very large. This is a good variety for Southern California. Origin: California.

Everbearing Varieties for California

These are heavy berry producers and do not form many runners. Plant them anytime, and they will produce medium-sized berries in just 90 days. Try 'Aptos', 'Brighton', 'Fern', and 'Hecker'.

Almond Tree Southern CaliforniaAlmond Tree Varieties

Almond tree

A nut is the "pit" of a fruit. NUTS

Almond tree frost damage and set fruit, the developing fruit may be ruined by late frosts. The best almond climates are areas where the last frost date is not likely to damage blossoms and where summers are long, warm, and dry so the fruit can develop and ripen well.

Gardeners in less-than-ideal climates still have a chance at success with almonds. Where untimely frosts pose potential problems, select only late-flowering cultivars. If possible plant on a north slope where the lower light delays bloom and cold air drains away. Cool, moist summer regions usually don't provide enough heat for ripening fruit well, but some success is possible if you give trees the sunniest (usually western) exposure.

Since almonds are graft-compatible with peaches, nectarines, and plums, some home growers hedge their bets by grafting one or more of these fruits to the almond, assuring some sort of crop.

A mature almond tree is 20 to 30 feet tall and dome shaped with a spread roughly equal to the height. Newly planted trees will start to bear in about 4 years, and the productive lifespan is about 50 years. Most cultivars need another almond as a pollinator (exceptions are noted as self-fertile). If you don't have enough room for two trees, dig an extra large planting hole and plant two almonds close together.

See page 46 for pruning and training instructions.

Almonds grow best in a deep soil (6 feet or more) but are not fussy about type as long as it drains well and is not saline. Almonds are more drought tolerant than most other fruit trees, though drought, reduces quantity and quality of the crop. Where summer rainfall is light or lacking, the best watering regime is a thorough, deep irrigation whenever the soil dries to a depth of 3 to 5 inches.

A nut is the "pit" of a fruit. NUTS

Nut trees—with the exception of the filbert, or hazelnut-grow into extremely large trees. They make excellent shade trees and are beautiful when grown to full maturity, but they are not suitable for small yards. Like any fruit tree, they are subject to a fair amount of disease and insect attack, yet their size makes adequate spraying impossible for the average homeowner. Because of this nut trees should be viewed as large shade trees that often reward you with nuts, but not always. You should not count on a large harvest every year.

All nut trees need plenty of water because they are so large and deep rooted. Where summer rainfall is adequate, little irrigation is needed. In warm dry climates where summer rainfall is uncommon, nut trees need occasional deep watering. Run the hose at a trickle for 24 hours on each quarter of the root system.

That is, water for 4 days, moving the hose to the next quadrant of the root circumference each day. This may be necessary every two weeks, monthly, or only once during the summer, depending on the weather.

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