By: Amy Grant
Strawberry lovers who want more than one crop of the delicious sweet berries opt for everbearing, or day-neutral cultivars. A terrific option for a day-neutral strawberry is Seascape, which was released by the University of California in 1992. Read on to find out about growing Seascape strawberries and other Seascape berry info.
Seascape strawberries are small herbaceous, perennial plants that grow to only 12-18 inches (30-46 cm). As mentioned, Seascape strawberries are everbearing strawberries, which means they produce their delectable fruit throughout the growing season. The plants bear large, firm, brilliantly red fruit in the spring, summer and fall.
According to most Seascape berry info, these strawberries are heat tolerant and disease resistant as well as being prolific producers. Their shallow root systems make them suitable not only for the garden, but for container growing as well. They are hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and are one of the premium strawberry cultivars for growers in the northeastern U.S.
Like other strawberries, Seascape strawberry care is minimal. They like nutrient rich, loamy soil with excellent drainage with full sun exposure. For maximum berry production, full sun is needed. This is where planting in a container may come in handy; you can move the container around and into the best sunny areas.
Plant Seascape strawberries either in matted rows, high density plantings or in containers. Bare root strawberries should be planted about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm.) apart in the garden. If you choose to grow Seascape in containers, choose a container that has drainage holes and is at least 3-5 gallons (11-19 L.).
When growing Seascape strawberries, be sure to provide them with one inch (2.5 cm.) of water per week depending upon weather conditions. If you are growing the berries in a container, they will likely have to be watered more frequently.
Picking the strawberries frequently encourages the plants to fruit, so keep the plants well picked for a bumper crop of strawberries throughout the season.
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Read more about Strawberry Plants
“Seascape” and “Albion” are two day-neutral strawberry (Fragraria spp.) cultivars. Each is a hybrid of two other strawberry cultivars, selected for large fruit and high yields. “Seascape” (Fragraria “Seascape”) grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. “Albion” (Fragraria “Albion”) grows in USDA zones 3 through 9.
In the wild, strawberry plants are perennials. They set flower buds in the fall. Then the plant needs a long period of minimal activity to use photosynthesis in lower temperatures and less intense light to build up sugars in its stems and stolons to power a burst of fruiting the next year.
In strawberry plants, dormancy doesn’t mean total inactivity. It just means that the plant is redirecting its energy to built up buds for fruiting and stolons that will reach across the ground to form daughter plants.
If a strawberry never gets the cooler and darker weather it needs to recharge and rejuvenate, it will continue to try to flower and set fruit. But it will get weaker and weaker with fewer and fewer strawberries, while the crown and roots become more and more susceptible to disease.
Many strawberry growers are fine with pulling up strawberries at the end of the growing season and planting again the next spring. But it’s a lot of work to pull up old plants, sterilize the soil or containers the plants grew in, make sure that the dead strawberry plants aren’t harboring insects or disease, and then put out new plants the next year.
There is also the added cost of new plants. But some varieties of strawberry plants are so productive that it makes sense to keep them going through the winter.
What are some good guidelines for choosing which strawberries to keep through the winter and which varieties to pull out and replant next year?
If the strawberry is day-neutral, it isn’t sensitive to the length of day, at least with regard to trying to set more and more strawberries. Day-neutral varieties like Albion, Jewel, Fort Laramie and Tristar may yield strawberries for months on end, but they only get weaker if you try to keep them through the winter for production next year.
If the strawberry bears most of its fruit in the early summer, then it is a good candidate for overwintering. These “June bearing” strawberries (depending on your climate, the peak bearing season may be as early as March or as late as July) only need winter care to rev up production all over again next year. Strawberry varieties of this type include Allstar, Chandler, Earliglow, Honeoye, and Surecrop.
We can’t list all the early-summer bearing varieties here. But chances are they were identified as such when you bought them. You can check with the grower or the nursery to be sure.
Winter care for strawberries begins in late summer.
So once you’ve picked a good variety for your garden, let’s see how to grow strawberries.
There are multiple ways to start your strawberry crop. You can start fresh from seeds, grow runners, or get young nursery plants. As expected, starting from seeds is going to be more time-consuming and challenging as compared to growing a young plant. Existing strawberry plants give off runners. Most gardeners use these to propagate new plants.
If you wish to try out different types or are up for some challenge, you can sprout strawberry seeds and watch them grow.
Strawberry seeds are started indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the expected date of last spring frost.
Begin by adding pre-moistened seed starting mix to seedling trays. Plant 3 to 4 seeds in each cell. Since they’re very small, you can either place them over the soil or just under the surface. If they’re planted too deep, there’s little chance that the sprouts will break through the soil. Mist the soil with water, just enough to moisten it.
Maintain consistent moisture until the sprouts appear. Place the tray at a warm, sunny spot and wait for germination. Yes, it can take a long while before you see any greens! Strawberry germination can take 1 to 6 weeks, depending on the variety.
Gardeners who regularly grow strawberries expand their crop by regrowing new plants from runners given by the existing plants. If you’ve grown strawberries before, you might have noticed those long leafless stalks given off by the plants – these are called “runners.” Established strawberries give several runners over the soil surface. Each of these runners can be rooted as an individual plant.
Choose the healthiest runners, free from any diseases to propagate, and carefully pull them away from the mother plant – don’t cut them off just yet. Generally, the ones closest to the mother plant will be the strongest. How many plants can you grow from the mother plant? If you’re not planning to throw away the original plant, don’t use more than 5 runners from it.
Take pots that are 3 to 4 inches in diameter and fill them with potting soil. Secure them into the ground next to the mother plant. Lay the runners you’ve chosen to propagate on top of the potting soil and press them down with a hairpin, a bent wire, a U-shaped clip, or simply a rock. Water it deeply.
Wait about 4 to 6 weeks until the new plant has ample root growth before clipping it from the mother plant. Now you can relocate the new strawberry plant anywhere you want.
Best for first-timers, growing young nursery plants is the easiest. Purchase a healthy-looking plant from a reliable source. Make sure it’s disease-resistant and suited to your climate. Once you get the seedling home, you just have to plant it at the right location and give it optimal care to help it produce a good harvest.
Once you have the fruit, harvest it to feed your family or preserve what you can’t eat for use later on.
You’ll know it’s time to harvest the fruit when you notice them turning red. Taste a ripe one to know for sure. To harvest strawberries, which are sweetest when they’re fully ripe, follow these steps:
Preserving strawberries is easy and there are many different methods and recipes you can use. No matter which method you try, fresh strawberries will taste the best. You’ll know they’re at their peak, and when they’re in season, you can use them to create jams or preserves.
Another alternative is to freeze them, which makes a perfect addition to smoothies. Frozen strawberries keep for up to 3 months, and you can always use them to make jam later as well.