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Selecting for Better Berries in the Future

July 22nd, 2019

I’ve been growing strawberries for many years. After trialing many varieties, ‘Sparkle’ has emerged as a favorite around here. It’s a great berry with good flavor and it freezes well but it doesn’t last long once picked. Two years ago we noticed that a couple plants were producing exceptionally large berries (which still had great flavor) and producing a few more than other plants.

We selected those plant and allowed them to runner and reproduce while removing the plants that produced smaller berries. The following year we had a slightly larger patch of plants producing good sized berries. This summer we have a patch of about 50 plants producing the nice large berries.

As you can see in this photo, the larger berries on the left are the ones from selected plants. The smaller ones on the right are from non-selected plants.

We are once again selecting plants from this original plant to increase our stock of plants that produce the best berries. Next year our entire patch will be from these plants and all the berries should be of good size.

Do you grow strawberries? Do you have a favorite variety?

2 Comments to “Selecting for Better Berries in the Future”
  1. Lorna on July 22, 2019 at 11:29 am

    I envy your berries! We have tried for five years to grow strawberries here, but the rodents of various kinds have enjoyed far more than we have. I still have the original plants, badly neglected (I just can’t bring myself to rip them out and start over!). I’m curious, when you allow the plant to runner, when do you remove the mother plant, or do you? I’ve never successfully renovated a patch, so I’m curious if there is a trick beyond the basic instructions provided by nurseries to keeping them growing and producing. Thank you!

    Reply to Lorna's comment

    • Susy on July 22, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      I don’t rip out the mother, I just remove plants that look smaller and weaker (which may be the mother plant or weak younger ones). I try to keep them evenly spaced as well, so I remove plants that seem crowded (I try to space them 8″ or so apart). Strawberries benefit from a bit of fertilization in the fall as well, I often fertilize when finished fruiting and then in fall with a top dressing of compost.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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