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hendi_alex
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Heirloom strawberries

Back in the mid 1960's my mother-in-law had some really great tasting, small June bearing strawberries. My wife says that her mother dug them from her mother's farm, so they could have been a much older variety than the 1960. The berries were small, not much bigger than a small marble but full of berry flavor and very sweet. The texture was much too soft to be a commercial variety. This coming spring I'll be looking for sources for old variety strawberries. Any thoughts, suggestions, vendors? I've found a really good article that gives the names of many varieties from 1900-1965. And a quick search for 'Sparkle', a variety introduced in 1943 gave a vendor that sells the variety. But am wondering if anyone has any useful info or ideas related to this search. Am so tired of very big tasteless strawberries.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

MaineDesigner
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I've grown Sparkle but I prefer Earliglow. At least in Maine Sparkle is a little on the soft side and not as vigorous and productive as Earliglow but I know many people here who prefer Sparkle. It all comes down to you and your growing conditions. A real coup would be to find Fairfax the legendary lost strawberry selection of the brilliant but now largely forgotten plant breeder, Albert Etter. Fairfax is rumored to be the best strawberry ever. I have Etter's wonderful apple, Wickson.

Fairfax was a parent of Sparkle

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hendi_alex
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Sparkle resulted from a cross between fairfax and aberdeen. If I buy some sparkle berries I may grow some plants from their seed. Approximately 1/4 of the plants from seed should have qualities similar to those of the fairfax parent. Might be an interesting experiment.

damethod
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when should strawberries be grown?

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hendi_alex
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Strawberries are perennials and are generally planted in the spring or the fall. If planted in the fall, the plants should produce a full crop the next spring. When planted in the spring, you will get a light crop. Some say pick off those early blooms the first year. I say bunk, they make perfectly good strawberries and don't hurt the young plant at all IMO. If you find some potted strawberries locally, you could transplant those most any time, but be sure and give adequate water if done during the hot part of the summer. Here in the south, I think that strawberries do best with only morning and early afternoon sun, as late afternoon and evening sun is too harsh on the plants. Once established, don't let the plants make too many new plants via runners each year. Don't let the bed get over crowded. Also it is good to either renovate and renew your bed every two or three years or and might be even better to simply start a new bed in a different location using fresh disease free plants.

damethod
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Im going to try growing heirloom strawberries now in the fall. They are called "ALEXANDRIA ALPINE STRAWBERRY SEEDS" Has anyone grown these before? The pic shows them in a container, but I was planning on growing them in my backyard. Which would you all recommend?

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hendi_alex
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I've never grown strawberries from seeds but have noticed that the seeds are generally very small. It would seem that germination would be better if they were started in a container with fine loose seed starting soil. It is too easy for such seeds to get washed away or covered too deeply when placed directly in the ground.

damethod
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I currently have 4 pots with the seeds in them. I don't plan on putting them in the ground outside until October.

Can anyone recommend a good fertilizer?..or a particular soil that strawberries like best?

mr_tumnas
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Alpine strawberries have been easy to grow from seed for me. They need less fertilizer than regular strawberries. To be honest I don't think I ever fertilized mine and planted them in only so-so soil. Fish emulsion for the seedlings might be a good gesture.

One thing to keep in mind with Alpines is they don't produce near as many strawberries and the berries are very very small. They're sweeter and tastier, but don't expect much in way of volume

damethod
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I actually saw that on the packet. I figured I'd start with these and move on to others as I gain experience.

Which variety do you all think is a heavy producer of sweet berries?

mwellik
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Alpine Strawberry Info

I just joined your group. I grow and sell alpine strawberry seeds, plants and fruit. I would like to offer some assistance for those who have questions about growing these little wonders.

One person asked about seeding them. I wouldn't suggest seeding them until this winter. Unless you live in a warm climate area like zone 8 or above, plants grown from seeds started in August likely won't survive the winter. If you want fruit in the same year as you sow the seeds, plant them in late December or January. Alpines take 4 months from seed to seed. This means that seeding them will produce the first fruit 4 months later under ideal conditions.

Someone else asked about fertilizer. I use organic fertilizers only. The best commercial organic fertilizer that I've found for strawberries is Holly Tone made by the Espoma Company. Using the rate on the package will give you about 6-8 weeks of benefit. An application in the spring and one mid-summer will usually give you optimal yields.

I am working on a site for heirloom strawberries. I have been collecting strawberries varieties for nearly 20 years. I am growing a couple of interesting heirloom varieties. One is a white fruiting variety that dates back to the 1700's. It's called 'White Carolina'. I love the white fruit that this variety produces. Another is an French heirloom variety called 'Madame Moutot'. It was the standard in France for years and produces an excellent red fruit that is very sweet. Unfortunately, both of these varieties are June bearing varieties (one crop per year).

Another excellent variety which is not technically an heirloom is called 'Mara des bois'. It is a garden variety bred with some wild flavor. Beware of this variety in the sense that it produces prolific runners. It can take over an area quickly.

I'm also growing musk strawberries which are not true heirloom varieties here in North America. They are native to Europe, especially Italy. They have an unbelievable flavor. Some say they taste like a combination of strawberries, raspberries and pineapples. I'm not sure about that but they are extremely fragrant and aromatic and they will definately please your taste buds.

Good luck with your strawberry growing!!!
Mike

damethod
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Thanks! One last question... can strawberry plants be started by cuttings?..or is seed the only way?

cynthia_h
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I've seen strawberry starts at my local plant nursery, so that's how I plan to start them. Probably next month in the classic strawberry pot, since all my dirt is now allocated.

I might get some strawberries, but at least the pot will be in use!

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

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