The Best Organic Strawberry Variety

September strawberries
September strawberries | Source


Conventional strawberry growers are able to solve insect, disease and weed problems with chemicals. Organic growers don't have that option. It is, therefore, especially important for organic strawberries to be strong, healthy and disease resistant from the very beginning. Choosing the right strawberry variety is the first step toward a healthy crop of organic berries.
Here's the problem: I can't tell you the one, single best strawberry variety for organic growing in your area. A strawberry that grows well in my back yard may not grow well in your yard, even if it's only fifty miles away from mine. What I can tell you is what to look for and how to find the best organic strawberry variety for your area.


Strawberries for your Region


Strawberries are sensitive to changes in moisture and temperature. A variety that produces beautiful berries in a cool, damp climate might not even grow in a warmer, drier region. Varieties that grow well near the ocean may not produce well further inland. If your strawberries are going to be healthy, they must be suited to your region. Your county extension agent or the land grant university in your state can introduce you to the varieties that have a proven track record in your area.


June Berries and Ever-Bearings


June-bearing strawberries produce one crop per year, typically in April or May in warmer climates. Ever-bearing strawberries produce three crops: one in the spring, one midsummer and one in the fall. A third kind of strawberry, day-neutral, produces steadily throughout the year. Day-neutral berries are newer and not as widely available as June-bearing and ever-bearing. Ever-bearing types require cool nights. If the nighttime temperatures in your area doesn't get below 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the time these berries are setting fruit, you will get a poor harvest. If you live in zones eight through 10, June-bearings berries will be stronger and more disease resistant.


Disease Resistance


The four main strawberry diseases are leaf spot, leaf scorch, red stele and powdery mildew. Different varieties of strawberries have differing levels of resistance to these diseases. The severity of the diseases also varies from region to region. Again, your county extension agent will be able to tell you which diseases are most prevalent in your area. Plant a strawberry variety that is resistant to your local disease problems. Your extension agent or a knowledgeable nursery worker can direct you to an appropriate variety.


Buy Commercially Grown Plants


Strawberries propagate from runners. Potting a new plant from one of these runners is one way to supply your garden with the next year's plants. If, however, you are having disease problems, propagating from runners is a bad idea. Doing so just transfers last year's problems to this year's strawberry patch. If you have disease problems, dig up the strawberry bed and start new in a new location. Then buy a different variety of certified disease-resistant plants from a reputable grower.


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