Monday, March 2, 2009

Building a Strawberry Tower - Choosing Strawberry Plants

There are three type of Strawberry plants: June Bearing, Everbearing, and Day Neutral.
June Bearing Strawberry Plants have the highest yield and will produce a lot of fruit during a few weeks in spring.
Everbearing Strawberry Plants will produce fruit during two or three periods of the year, in the spring and in the Fall (with a possible small harvest in the middle).
Day neutral Strawberry plants produce strawberries evenly throughout a long growing season. However, Day Neutral Strawberry Plants will have a lower yield than the other types of Strawberries. In addition, Day Neutral Strawberry Plants will not flower if it gets too hot (above 85 F) or too cold (below 35 F)

Since the whole purpose of this exercise is to replace weekly trips to the local Supermarket to buy Strawberries, I decided that the Day Neutral Strawberry Plants were the perfect way to go. I can make up for the lower yield by planting more Strawberry plants. The weather in Southern California is also perfect for Day Neutral Strawberry Plants as it only gets above 90F for a few weeks in August and it never gets below 35F.

Unfortunately, the only way for me to buy Day Neutral Strawberry plants is via the Internet/mail order. I can buy the other types of Strawberry plants in the local garden supply/nursieres around Southern California. Even, Home Depot carries Strawberry plants.
On the Internet, I saw Day Neutral Strawberry plants available from a wide variety of California sources. Buying from a California source is important, because if I order on a Monday or Tuesday, I can get the Strawberry plants by Friday and be able to plant on Saturday. I did not want to have the plants sit in the garage for a week while I waited for the next Saturday.
The best Day Neutral type of Strawberry that I saw available on the Internet was Albion.
Albion is a day neutral everbearing Strawberry variety patented by the University of California at Davis. Albion Strawberry plants produce very large fruit that is suppose to be sweet tasting. It is also popular with Commerical growers in California because it is easy to grow and has built-in tolerance to a variety of Strawberry diseases. In addition, it does not need many chill hours, which makes it a perfect type of Strawberry to grow in our mild Southern California winters.

You can buy Strawberry plants either as Bare Root or already growing in pots. Bare Root plants cost a fraction of the cost of fully potted plants.

I decided to buy Bare Root plants because even if the plants did not take, I was not out very much money and I still would have time to buy fully potted plants.

I got my Albion plants from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply . They had the lowest price and since they were in California, the shipping was very quick.

The picture to the right shows how the Bare Root Strawberry Plants look coming out of the shipping container.

The plants did not look very promising and I thought I had made a mistake, but it was too late to do anything about it.

I bought 1 pound of Bare Root Strawberries. I counted 29 in the batch. There are 36 pockets in the Strawberry Tower, so I will need to buy another set to fill out all of the pockets.


  1. I was also able to find bare root strawberry plants online through Sakuma Market Stand, Their prices were very competitive and they made sure my plants would arrive by Friday so they wouldn't ship on a UPS dock somewhere over the weekend. It is my understanding that their nurseries are in California under the name Norcal Nursery.

  2. I am just starting a kitchen garden in my backyard and wasn't sure if I want to have a strawberry bed because of the space and bug issues. I learn so much reading your blog!

  3. I got 50 bare root strawberry plants from Burpee. They are producing, although this is my first year with strawberries so I hope I can improve the yield as I get more familiar. Anyway, bare root strawberries were certainly simple enough for this strawberry novice.