By Kristen Fisher
Quinault is an everbearing variety of strawberry with large, juicy berries up to two inches in diameter. Quinault plants produce a crop of berries in June and another in fall, with smaller numbers of berries in between so you can enjoy fresh fruit all summer long. They’re frost hardy but need at least 6 hours of sunshine daily, so they’re best for gardeners in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
In early spring, choose a site with full sun and well-drained soil; prepare the soil by destroying all weeds, then adding some compost and about four pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet.
Build soil mounds to grow your strawberries, spacing them so that individual plants will be about 12 to 15 inches apart.
Soak the plants in water for about 5 minutes, then dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the roots without bending them. Set Quinault plants deep enough that the crown is just above soil level and the highest roots are ¼-inch below soil level; water thoroughly.
Add a heavy layer of leaf mulch or grass clippings to discourage weed growth and preserve moisture.
Pick the plant’s flower buds during the first month after planting.
Make sure your plants receive about an inch of water every week during the growing season, whether through rainfall or by hand.
Add an application of fertilizer in the middle of the growing season.
Cut off any runners that appear in order to encourage a strong root system.
To protect your plants from the cold, add a layer of leaves or straw once temperatures drop to 20 F.
Replace your Quinault strawberry plants every two to three years, planting in a new area.
Although the Quinault variety is one of the most pest- and disease-resistant, all strawberries will eventually fall victim to some sort of problem, which is why it’s necessary to replace plants every few years as quality and production decrease.
Enjoy the fantastic flavor and nutrition of Quinault strawberries by incorporating fresh berries into your summer meals and snacks and freezing extra quantities for use in the off-season.
Don’t plant Quinault strawberries in a site where eggplant, peppers, tomatoes or potatoes have grown—the soil might contain verticillium wilt, a fungal disease that will quickly infect your fruit.