By: Mary Ellen Ellis
If you decide to grow strawberries in your backyard garden, you may be overwhelmed by all the choices. There are many cultivars of this berry, developed and hybridized to give a range of characteristics. If you want a high-yield plant that produces large, good quality berries, try the Tillamook.
What is a Tillamook Strawberry?
Tillamook strawberry is a cultivar of the summer berry that comes from Oregon. It is a great berry to grow just to eat in your backyard, but this is also a type of strawberry that is often used for processing. It stands up well to being processed because it produces large, sturdy fruits. Interesting Tillamook strawberry facts include the origin of the name. It comes from the tribe of Native Americans who lived on what is now called Tillamook Bay in Oregon.
The development of the Tillamook strawberry included crosses of other cultivars. The result was a berry that was large compared to others and with a high yield. For commercial production, this made it easier and more efficient to harvest. For the backyard gardener, it simply means getting a big yield of beautiful, large berries.
Tillamook Strawberry Care
If you’ll be growing Tillamook strawberries this year, make sure you have a sunny area for your plants. It’s also important to plant them in an area where you have good drainage. Strawberries need a lot of water, but not standing water. Work compost or other organic material into the soil to provide adequate nutrients.
Get the strawberry plants into the ground as early as you can in the spring, when the ground is workable. If a frost is expected after you planted, use some kind of frost blanket to protect the young plants. Make sure your plants have plenty of space between them to grow and spread.
Pinch off the first flowers and runners that appear. Although this seems counterintuitive, it will allow the plants to put energy into growing a strong root system, and ultimately you will get more berries and a better harvest come spring.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Strawberry Plants
Three easy Oregon strawberries to plant now: Gardening basics
Totem is a June-bearing strawberry that produces medium- to large-size fruit with very good flavor.
From strawberry jam to fruit salad, nothing says summer quite like the succulent strawberry.
What's more, these sweet berries are also packed with Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. So think about enhancing your edible landscape with healthful strawberries this spring.
It's best to plant them in late March through April after the threat of hard frost has passed in western Oregon, said Bernadine Strik, a berry specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.
"Totem" is a June-bearing strawberry that produces medium- to large-size fruit with very good flavor.
"The key thing to remember about strawberries is that there are three main types grown in Oregon," Strik said, who is a professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences and leads OSU's berry crops research program at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora.
She describes each type below and recommends varieties to plant within each category. Read a full list of cultivars and descriptions for each in a publication released earlier this year by the OSU Extension Service, "Strawberry Cultivars for Western Oregon and Washington."
- Produce one crop per year in June to early July, typically for four weeks each year.
- Produce many runners, which are above-ground stems that grow over the soil surface and forms "daughter plants" from the buds. These new daughters can be managed to increase the yield of the strawberry patch.
- Strik recommends growing June-bearers in the matted row system. Set plants about 12 to 15 inches apart in the row or in the raised bed, with 3 to 4 feet between rows. Allow the early runners to develop and root. Sweep them into the row area, but keep the path between the rows clear by cutting late-forming runners.
- Strik recommends these older varieties: Hood, Puget Reliance, Shuksan, Totem and Benton.
- The cooperative breeding program between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and OSU released these new varieties that Strik recommends: Sweet Sunrise, Sweet Bliss, and Charm. Sweet Sunrise and Charm were released in 2012 Sweet Bliss, 2011.
- Strik also recommends Puget Crimson, released in 2011 by Washington State University.
- Produce a crop almost continuously from late May until frost in the fall. Strik recommends day-neutrals in the yard for fresh fruit all season and your favorite June-bearing varieties for producing lots of high-quality fruit for freezing and jam making in summer.
- Produce relatively few runners compared to June-bearers.
- Strik recommends growing day-neutrals in a hill system. Set plants 12 to 15 inches apart in double- or triple-wide rows. Paths between the rows should be about 1 1/2 to 2 feet wide. Cut off all runners every few weeks.
- Strik suggests the large-fruited varieties Albion and Seascape and the small-fruited, but better-tasting Tristar and Tribute.
- Are better suited than ever-bearers or June-bearers for container gardening in barrels, planters or hanging baskets.
- Produce two crops per year in June-July and in the fall.
- Produce few runners.
- "Our experience with ever-bearers is that they do not have as good a fruit quality as the day-neutral types and with only two crops per year they don’t fruit all season," Strik said. For that reason, she recommends day-neutral types over ever-bearers.
"A common problem with strawberries is that people tend to keep their strawberry patch in the same spot too long," Strik said.
Keep your strawberries in the ground for five years, including the planting year. Older strawberry plants show lower yield and smaller fruit size, often due to virus infestation, Strik said.
For this reason, do not establish your new patch with daughter plants or runners from the old patch — these plants will likely get a virus too, she said. Instead, buy new certified disease-free plants from a nursery this is a good time to experiment with new, recommended varieties.
To learn more about cultivating strawberries, view the OSU Extension publication "Growing Strawberries in Your Home Garden."
OSU Extension Service provides a variety of gardening information on its website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/community/gardening. Resources include gardening tips, videos, podcasts, monthly calendars of outdoor chores, how-to publications, information about the Master Gardener program, and a monthly emailed newsletter.
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
A strawberry plant is a wonderful addition to any outdoor area. Whether you have a large backyard, a small patio garden or something in between, it can do wonders for your space. A group of strawberry plants creates a beautiful, edible ground cover that will protect other plants in excessively sunny areas. They also produce runners as they grow, which will increase the size of your crops year after year. We have two types of strawberry plants:
- June-bearing strawberries produce one large crop of fruit each growing season, typically in June.
- Everbearing strawberries produce fruit throughout an entire growing season.
The strawberries you pick at harvest time are delicious. They are glossy and firm, with an excellent flavor and an enticing aroma. These strawberries are perfect for fresh eating, freezing for later, or making a variety of sweet treats. They’re good for you, too — strawberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and more.
To ensure your growing success and satisfaction, there are a few things to consider when you buy a strawberry plant.
Your climate plays an important role in whether a strawberry plant will produce fruit or even survive. Before ordering a plant, make sure its recommended hardiness zone range includes your area.
Even though our strawberry plants are self-pollinating, we still recommend planting another variety in your yard for optimum fruit production.
Growing Strawberries in the Pacific Northwest
Strawberries are always a popular plant for the home garden because they are delicious and easy to grow in our Northwest climate. Nothing says summer more than the first bite of a sweet, homegrown strawberry. Plus, they can be grown easily in small spaces and in containers.
CHOOSING YOUR PLANTS
Would you like an early bumper crop? Strawberries all season long? Another harvest in early fall? The type of strawberry you choose makes a big difference in when and how much you will harvest.
There are 3 classes of Strawberries:
• JUNE-BEARING (summerbearing) strawberries produce one large crop in June.
• DAY-NEUTRAL strawberries fruit continuously throughout the summer and into fall.
• EVERBEARING (two-cropping) strawberries produce a crop in June and another in early fall.
Where will you be planting your strawberries?
DAY-NEUTRAL and EVERBEARING strawberries produce few runners, making them ideal if you would like your plants to remain somewhat neatly in their areas. They are great for borders, garden beds, and hanging planters. If you have a large space or would like your strawberries to spread more rapidly, choose JUNE-BEARING types.
NOTE: Strawberries are self-fertile so only one variety is necessary for successful yields. But who could stop at just one kind?
SOIL & PLANT PREPARATION
Choose a location with well-drained soil that receives full sun. Prepare the site by incorporating new organic matter using a planting amendment such as compost or soil-building conditioner. The goal is to have soil that is composed of about 25% new organic matter and 75% existing soil. You can add an all-purpose or small-fruit fertilizer at planting time following the directions on the package.
When planting in containers, always choose a high-quality potting soil. Containers filled with garden soil will not drain well and the soil will be too heavy for your strawberry plants' liking.
Prepare strawberry plants by removing them from pots and gently massaging the roots to separate them slightly, then plant.
NOTE: Bare-root plants should be soaked in water for about an hour before planting. Plant them so the crown remains just above the soil (crowns planted below the soil are subject to fungal disease).
PLANTING IN THE GARDEN
We recommend one of these two successful planting systems:
• THE HILL SYSTEM
• THE MATTED ROW SYSTEM
THE HILL SYSTEM is generally is the best system for DAY-NEUTRAL and EVERBEARING strawberries because they produce relatively few runners. After preparing the soil, make mounded rows about 6-9 inches tall and 1-2 feet apart. Plant the strawberry starts 12-15 inches apart in the mounded rows. Maintenance consists of simply removing all the runners that grow between the rows before they root. The idea is that by removing the “baby” plants (runners) the mother plant can focus on making bigger and better fruit. Runners can be rooted in another spot or put into the compost bin.
THE MATTED ROW SYSTEM is generally best for JUNE-BEARING strawberries, which produce ample runners. Plant the strawberry starts 1 foot apart in rows 3-4 feet apart. Then allow many of the runners to spread and fill in the rows, without letting the runners grow too densely (the foliage of the plants need as much sun and air as possible). Pruning out excess runners and foliage will likely be necessary.
PLANTING IN CONTAINERS
Strawberry plants do very well in all types of containers: plastic, wood, ceramic, or terra cotta. You can even build your own strawberry planter, as shown by our friend Kirsten Dunn on the Dunn DIY blog. Whichever container you choose, be sure it has drainage holes. Strawberries do not like wet feet.
Simply fill the container with high-quality potting soil and an all-purpose or small-fruit fertilizer, following package directions. Plant one strawberry plant for every 10-12 inches of pot diameter. Strawberries have a spreading habit and shallow roots, so an extremely deep container is not necessary, but choose containers at least 6-8 inches tall. If you prefer a fuller look in your container right away, plant more densely but divide the plants after one year so they don't become overcrowded and underperform.
WATER deeply and thoroughly on a regular schedule throughout the dry summer months. Drip watering or a soaker hose is preferable to overhead watering and helps avoid fruit molding and other diseases. For containers, water when the surface of the soil begins to dry out. Strawberries definitely don't like sitting in wet, soggy soil but they don't want to dry out either!
FERTILIZE when planting and then annually in April with an all-purpose or small-fruit fertilizer, following the directions on the package.
REPLANT with new strawberry plants after 4-5 years because by then they will likely have diminished yields. It’s best to wait for a few years before planting in the same location due to pests and diseases that can build up in the soil. For CONTAINERS, wash the container with a diluted bleach solution and use new soil when replanting to avoid pests and diseases.
And now for the best part! Enjoy your delicious, homegrown strawberries. Once you've grown your own it will be hard to go back to store-bought strawberries ever again!
Have questions or are interested in learning more about the varieties we carry? Ask us on social media using #heyswansons.
Growing Winter Strawberries
In most areas strawberries are considered one of the first summer fruits. They are so popular that growers have tried to develop varieties that can be grown in lower light levels to produce at less common times of the year, such as winter. Winter strawberries may also be imported from other countries.
No matter when you’re growing strawberries, you must meet their basic needs. These perennials like loose, fertile, well-drained soil. The pH should be 5.5 to 6.0. Regular water means healthier plants and more berries, but too much increases the risk of rot. Fertilize when the plants first start to grow after dormancy and monthly thereafter until berries start to develop. Use commercial 10-10-10 fertilizer or make your own.
June-bearing strawberries are the classic one-large-crop varieties. In the Northern hemisphere, they usually bear in late May or early June – hence the name. Over the years, breeders have refined these to produce with less light. Known as short-day strawberries, these plants will bear in warmer climates like Florida and California during the short days of winter.
Strawberries that produce blooms and fruit with less than 14 hours of daylight are considered short-day varieties. They will also produce in cooler temperatures. These are short-day varieties:
- Florida Radiance
If you live in a colder climate, it’s still possible to grow strawberries in winter. An insulated greenhouse offers the right environment. Short-day varieties planted in the greenhouse will ripen fruit successfully. You may need a heat source in really cold areas. In Victorian times, growers placed piping throughout the greenhouse and ran hot water from wood-fired boilers through the pipes. You can also use heat mats.
Growing Under Lights
If the only place you have to grow strawberries in winter is the basement, that’s still doable. Everbearing strawberries may be the best choice, as they are bred to produce successive crops, although both berries and the total crop are smaller. You’ll need full-spectrum lights that include all the colors found in natural sunlight keep them on 14 hours a day.
If you find strawberries in the grocery store at Christmas time, the odds are high they’ve been imported. Mexico is a common source of winter strawberries for the US. Since the seasons are reversed, winter strawberries also come from South America. However, the warmer regions of both California and Florida can grow winter strawberries as well, with Florida leading in domestic production.