One of my goals in the 2017 gardening season is to have a great variety of strawberries growing in my garden. I do not own my own house right now, so as a renter I am limited in what fruit I can grow. I want to plant an orchard of apples, peaches, and other fruit bearing trees, but not until I own a house. What I can plant for fruit is strawberries. They are easy to grow in containers so that I can pick up and transport them when I must move, like I did this off season.
In this post I want to share with you the varieties that I am going to be growing this season. These are varieties are all available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. First watch my video of me thumbing through the catalog. After that I have information on the varieties I am growing myself.
After that video, if you aren’t excited about growing your own strawberries yet, keep on reading!
One variety that stood out to me in the seed catalogs this year is the Tresca strawberry. It is a new offering from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. The Tresca strawberry originated in Poland and can produce berries the first year, even from seed! That is amazing. The challenge in growing fruit is that you have usually wait a while, can be years. Yes, I know that technically a tomato is a fruit and you can grow it from seed and eat it the same year. I am talking about fruit that we treat as treat – apple, oranges, berries, and the like. I love the idea that I can plant seeds this year and eat the fruits of my labor this year.
Do They Taste Good
So, the catalog says they are be bursting with flavor. Hopefully I find them to be as well. When it comes to seed catalog and saying something is flavorful, I usually look for when they don’t mention flavor. I think that lack of information speaks more about a selection than when flavor is mentioned.
Typically when I cut open a strawberry I want to see as much red as possible. At first glance a strawberry that is completely white on the inside may sound terrible. My knowledge of strawberries makes me want to run away from this one. But it is time for a paradigm shift. Not only is this strawberry said to be amazing, it is said to be the most flavorful one that Baker Creek has to offer. Now I am intrigued.
The Scarlet strawberry may be new to me this year, but it is by no means a new variety. It has been around since Colonial America! Besides it’s all white color the strawberry is unique in that the flavor resembles bubblegum pineapple. I want to experience what that taste like.
This variety I will be receiving as plants. I am getting 3 of them. Plants will starting shipping April 1st, starting with the southern regions first. The plants are produced for Baker Creek by tissue culture, a natural process that produces plants that are generally high-quality and disease free. I am excited to have some plants that I don’t have to worry about starting myself as I am doing these other varieties myself. Nice backup in case things go south with my seed starting.
Yellow Wonder Strawberry
If a strawberry that stays white on the inside wasn’t crazy enough for you, how about one that doesn’t turn red on the outside. The Yellow Wonder strawberry is just that. It is considered an alpine or wild variety. That means they are going to be on the small side. These strawberries are said to pack big taste in a small package. Often people say bigger is better. I see stores advertising they have jumbo apples or jumbo pears. But I want to know how they taste. On my food blog, Eat Like No One Else, I wrote a piece on how smaller fruit can be better.
There are plenty of reviews for this variety on the Baker Creek website. I also talked with someone who has been growing them. She was kind of nice to share some photos with me. She describes the taste as tart and tangy but still sweet with good flavor. The texture is more seedy which she thinks adds to the tartness because of the seeds.
Here are Megan’s photos. Make sure to check out all her gardening adventures on Instagram.
White Soul Strawberry
Why grow 1 light colored strawberry when you can grow 2! I want to grow these to compare them to the Yellow Wonder. They are also an alpine type. I like that the catalog said they produced over a long season.
I have been growing this variety the last couple years. My mom started the seeds for me. These were really small plants. Quite adorable. The reason I picked this variety was because it is an alpine type that shoots out runners – not a characteristic seen often in those types. What this allows for is more plants to be formed as the mother plants sends out a vine that starts a new plant. You can plant them in a space and they will eventually fill up that space.
So far I haven’t had a lot of fruit. I am transplanting the plants to my new house. The soil they were in before wasn’t very good, so I hope to improve that at the new house and help them to grow more productively. The raised bed they were in previously contain cactus – yes, cactus and I live in Michigan. Not something you expct here, but it actually grew and produced nice yellow flowers. But kids and cactus don’t mix so I ripped them out. That soil I never could grow anything well in – expect weeds and cactus.
Why Grow Your Own Strawberries
Why bother growing strawberries? They are easy to find in the grocery store. In fact, certain times a year you can get them for a buck a pound. In a lot of states, you can go strawberry picking when they are in season and get your fill. The reason to grow them is flavor. The grocery store varieties are selected, picked, and packed for their ability to store and ship. Flavor is not important. I find most grocery store strawberries to really disappoint. I think most people don’t know the potential that a truly good strawberry can have. The strawberries that have better flavorful or typically smaller in size and do not hold up at all. If you tried to ship them anywhere, or even bring them to a farmer’s market stand, you may end up with strawberry jam before a customer can even buy them. That is why if you are a strawberry fantastic you must have the experience of growing your own and getting to eat them directly from the garden.
Kids Loving Growing Strawberries
One of the favorite things in my garden for my kids every season is the strawberries. They check them daily when the begin to flower to not miss a chance to get a ripe one. I love that they get excited about it. It gets them interested in gardening. They understand where their food comes from.
Tips on Starting Your Strawberries
I asked Matt Powers over at Baker Creek what he recommends to first time strawberry growers, whether you are doing it from seed or transplants. Here is what he had to say (thanks, Matt!)
When starting Strawberries from seed, give them time – they can take a while. Some seeds may need some time in the fridge to imitate a cold winter. With all new strawberry plants and transplants, pluck the flowers off the first year to stimulate and focus the plant on root growth and not flower/fruit growth. You will get larger strawberries and stronger plants year 2. Alpine strawberries (which we focus on carrying) cover an amazing spectrum of flavors that will not be acquired at a grocery store, only a backyard garden. Truly a treat!!
Matt, I couldn’t agree more. Gotta to grow them yourself to experience the flavor. If you got a sunny spot to place a pot you grow them. I am challenging you right now. Do it! Your taste buds are begging you!!!!
If you are looking for more tips on gardening and specially strawberries, I recommend “The Heirloom Life Gardener“. It is book written by Baker Creek founders, Jere and Emilee Gettle. I have found it to be a very helpful book.