The wide variety of everbearing strawberry cultivars gives gardeners the chance to choose a strawberry that is just right for the situation. Whether sweet strawberries for ice cream toppings or the largest, juiciest berries destined for jams and jellies, everbearing varieties are cultivated for the space efficiency while still bearing a desirable, high-yield crop.
Everbearing strawberries can be one of the ways to make the most of a limited space. While other types of strawberries such as June bearing produce a large amount of runners, everbearing varieties have few runners; this allows the plants to grow into a bushier, less sprawling shape. This makes them an excellent choice for containers and greenhouses.
These strawberries also produce three different crops in a single season. Hardy varieties like the Fort Laramie can withstand cold and frosts that might kill the first or last season, but will withstand most of the damage and still produce at least two if not three batches of strawberries.
Size and Flavor
Two of the biggest concerns that can impact the selection of a variety of strawberry is the size and flavour of the berry. Among the largest berries produced comes from the Brighton cultivar, with average single berries weighing about half an ounce each. Varieties such as the Ozark Beauty, Tillicum and Ogallala typically bear fruits about half the size of those from the Brighton, but can be more desirable because of their hardiness.
The Gem cultivar bears strawberries with a strong flavour that is slightly acidic, making it an option for those looking to grow strawberries for pies and jams. Other varieties, such as the Ozark Beauty and the Geneva, have a sweeter flavour that makes the berries more suitable to eating alone.
Disease and Pest Resistance
In areas where disease, insects and other pests can severely impact the yield of the strawberry plant, it may be worthwhile to look into some of the resistant qualities of the everbearing strawberry. The Ogallala, Red Rich and Rockwell varieties are extremely resistant to some of the most common strawberry plant diseases such as leaf spot.
Unfortunately, all varieties of the everbearing strawberries are susceptible to developing mould. Everbearing varieties have a shallow root system; this same characteristic that makes them produce less runners than other types of strawberries makes it necessary to keep soil moist. In turn, this consistently moist soil provides a rich ground for mould to develop, a condition that can be averted by leaving several inches between plants.
For areas with harsh winters, late summers and early fall temperatures, hardy varieties of everbearing strawberries can present gardeners with the best chance for a high yield crop. Fort Laramie, Gem and Ogallala are very hardy cultivars that can survive a spring frost and go on to bear fruit in the summer months.
Less hardy varieties are recommended for more mild climates. The Arapahoe is well suited for dry climates, as it is a drought-resistant cultivar that does not require as much water as other types. The Ozark Beauty and Geneva do well in areas with early springs and late falls.
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