Organic strawberry plants are available at many nurseries, both locally and online. Like conventionally grown plants, they come in several different varieties.
Strawberry Varieties and Where They Grow
Strawberries come in many varieties, but not every berry can be grown in every climate. They grow best in cool, moist climates but certain varieties have been developed to grow in warmer climates.
Canada and the Far Northern United States
Northeast and North Atlantic States
Mid Atlantic States
What Is the Difference Between Organically and Conventionally Grown Plants?
Organically grown strawberry plants must be grown in an organic soil without the use of chemical fertilizers, weed control, or pesticides. Organic standards and regulations must be followed every step of the way from the grower's greenhouse to your door.
Commercially produced berries and berry plants are very dependent on chemical herbicides and pesticides to keep the plants healthy. Most berry fields are treated with chemicals before planting. This kills any pathogens in the soil. The area is then covered by plastic. The chemicals in the soil can be absorbed into the plant and transferred to the fruit.
In fact, one government study showed that organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit that conventional berry farms.
Where to Buy Organic Strawberry Plants
If you can't find organic strawberry plants near you, the Internet is a great source of plants. They are usually only shipped during certain times of the year. Since organic plants may be available in limited amounts, you should order them as soon as possible. Some sites will allow you to preorder for an upcoming season.
When ordering, plan on 25 plants per family member plus an extra 25 plants to cover loss from birds and pests.
Mountain Valley Growers
Mountain Valley Growers carries Chandler and Albion strawberries that are organic. They are shipped in pots rather than bare root.
Grow Organic has seven different varieties of organic strawberry plants. You can purchase them by the pound or by the 1,500 plant box. All items are guaranteed but be sure to read the limits of the guarantee carefully.
How to Grow Organic Strawberries
As long as you don't use chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your plants, you will be growing them organically. Strawberries need a rich, well drained soil, full sunlight, and plenty of water to do well.
Building a raised bed is a great way to grow your berries. Fill it with a mixture of organic soil and compost. The pH should be slightly acid; between 5.0 and 6.5
- As soon as you can work the soil in the spring, you can set out the plants.
- Cut out any damaged areas on the leaves or roots.
- Dig a hole big enough to contain the roots without crowding.
- Heap a small amount of soil in the center of the hole to help support the roots.
- Half fill the hole with soil, making sure that no leaves get covered.
- Pour water in the hole slowly and allow it to be absorbed and pack down the soil.
- Add the rest of the soil and pat it firmly around the plant.
- Invert a berry box over the plant for the first week to protect it from the sun.
Strawberry Diseases and Pests
Check with your county agricultural agent about the best types of strawberries to grow in your area. Choose varieties that are recommended for your area and resistant to disease for the best results.
Some problems that may affect your plants are:
- Pests should be controlled with beneficial insects and other predators.
- Red Stele is a fungus that will cause the plant to wilt and die just as the fruit begins to ripen. It is prevalent in wet climates and soil that doesn't drain well. Be sure to plant resistant varieties.
- Verticillum Wilt is also a fungus. The leaves become dry and turn brown. Don't plant berries in beds where tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes have been planted in the past.
A Healthy Choice for You and Your Family
Strawberries are on the list of the top foods to buy organic because of the amount of chemicals used in growing them conventionally and the way that the berries absorb the chemicals. When you grow your own organic strawberry plants, you will have a fresh supply of organic berries at a fraction of the cost.