So Cal Strawberry Trials

MrClintNovember 18, 2012

I just opened up a 16 square foot bed (4' x 4') devoted to strawberry trials, and am going to check out some new (for me) varieties. Historically, Quinault and Sequoia have been proven performers for years and I still have some of those going strong. With the new bed, I've branched out a bit and have planted Eversweet, Chandler, Albion, and Camarosa. All are in the ground now with some space saved for Seascape -- when I can find it locally.

It would be nice to hear from some So Cal folks regarding their strawberry experiences and recommendations. Also, if you are starting your own trials it would be nice to hear from you as well.

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MrClint

So far, Eversweet packs a pretty good flavor punch from the outset. They are tart as can be before ripe but super sweet if you let them hold for a time. Granted they are very young, but would appear to be a good choice for folks that plan on growing strawberries as annuals.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:32AM
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uscgardener(USDA 9 Sunset 20/21)

Quinalt did not do so well for me last year. I got a fair number of berries, but they were all very small, maybe the size of a fingernail. Sequoia grows really well for me, and are a nice snacking size :) (Nowhere as large as the supermarket strawberries, though.) That's what I ended up replacing the Quinalt with this year, and I was very pleased with the results.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 12:54PM
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MrClint

Sequoia is definitely a great June bearing strawberry. Even though I've cut way back on the carbs, there is nothing like a handful of Sequoias over a bowl of corn flakes.

For an extended harvest, one or more of the day neutral and earlier/later June bearing varieties are needed. It will be interesting to see how long I can extend the harvest of fresh berries.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 1:48PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

This is a great thread, mrclint. I don't grow strawberries, but maybe after reading all of your suggestions I will.
Renee

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 8:29PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Here in 23 Quinault and Camarosa were crunchy when ripe. Last thing I want is a crunchy strawberry. Sequoia has always been best for me. The past few years I've had far better results with blueberries. A lot less work, too.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 12:08PM
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MrClint

Strawberries are pretty easy to grow. You can pick up the 6 cell pony packs for cheap at the nursery. I've grown them in pots with cheapo potting soil and in my heavily composted garden beds successfully. I'm not much for adding fertilizer -- preferring to side dress with compost.

I never thought of rating strawberries by texture. Sequoias are generally soft and juicy now that I think of it. Curious if growing conditions can influence softness/juiciness. If the flavor is there you should be good to go with smoothies, yogurt & granola, or other dessert dishes.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Mikey(SoCal-Z10-22/23)

I used to grow strawberries. They loved my sandy soil...however the sow bugs enjoyed my strawberries and apparently thought I planted them just for them....

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:06PM
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chezterr

To deal with the sow bug issue I had last spring/summer, I've added straw to my strawberry patch, to elevate the flowers and fruit off the soil. I'll also periodically spread a light amount of DE around the patch and on the soil.

I'm hoping the straw will do the trick... and based on what I've read about using it, the sow bugs won't bother the fruit any more.

We shall see come next spring!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 1:43PM
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kittymoonbeam

Chandler is so sweet. The strawberry I loved best was called Douglas. It was popular along with Sequoia but Chandler replaced it in popularity. I never got a good crop from my seascapes. I had good luck defeating the bugs by making little fruit hangers out of bent pieces of wire to keep the fruit up in the air away from the bugs. The best thing to defeat bugs is self watering hanging baskets but then when the summer heats up, the roots can roast on the sunny side of the pots. You always get more fruit from a 1/2 barrel or the ground because the plants have more roots. I had less bug damage planting the in the barrel than the ground.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:24AM
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MrClint

The final tally for my strawberry trial is now set: Quinault, Sequoia, Eversweet, Chandler, Albion, Camarosa & Gaviota.

I use plastic forks to prop the berries off the ground.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 4:23PM
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uscgardener(USDA 9 Sunset 20/21)

How do you use the forks to prop berries up? I am trying to imagine it, but cannot. Do you stick the fork upright upside down into the soil, and thread the berries through the tines? I'm particularly interested in this solution because earwigs like to eat the strawberries in my garden, so this may help me...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 6:14PM
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lgteacher(SCal)

I have only Sequoias, and I like the flavor. They bear over a long period of time. Strawberry research is being done in Irvine at the UC Agricultrual Research and Extension Center. They developed a variety called Irvine.

Last year I ran across a Topsy Turvey planter for a good price. My strawberries did well in it and I had far less bug and snail damage than when I grew them on the ground.

Here is a link that might be useful: Strawberries

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 12:33AM
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MrClint

Yes, the fork handle gets stuck in the dirt at the desired level and the berry stems rest in the tines. This places the berry up off the ground.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 2:12AM
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onederw

I don't grow strawberries myself, but I'm looking forward to reading about the results of your trials. I buy my berries from the local farmers market (Pasadena), and there are a couple of vendors who specialize in Gaviota berries. They get a premium for them, and they're absolutely worth it.

Kay

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 3:10PM
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MrClint

There aren't too many things that can beat a dead ripe strawberry fresh from the garden. :)

I was pleasantly surprised to find Gaviota pony packs at Sperling Nursery in Calabasas this week. They are not a typical retail variety. Never did find Seascape anywhere locally.

So far Albion has emerged as a keeper. The size and sweet/tart balance are excellent. Hard to gauge production so soon after planting and in the dead of winter.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 6:03PM
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kittymoonbeam

I grew Camerosa as well. They were very tasty.

A good soil for pots is Laguna Hills potting mix. It has peat moss and pumice to which I add some fine sand and a little good soil that has been sifted. Regular old potting mix works but the yield was much better when I used the above mixture.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 9:40PM
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slowhands95128

UC Davis just announced several new strawberries excusively for California commercial strawberry growers. The Benicia variety looks like a winner. But it's exclusive to Cal commercial growers for two years. Fair enough, UC paid to develop it for the growers, but I would dearly like to get hold of some plants to compare with my Sequoias grown in San Jose. check it out at the link attached and let me know if you have a source.

Here is a link that might be useful: Benecia Strawberry Trials

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 1:02PM
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MrClint

slowhands95128, I don't have an answer for your question. But I can say that your Sequoias would be hard to beat with a commercial variety that needs to ship and store well.

My main takeaways from my own trials is that there are no bad strawberries and growing a number of different varieties as annuals is a fun project.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:14PM
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