[NAFEX] Fairfax strawberry

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Fri Nov 30 10:07:16 EST 2007


You don't need much to give some protection to a few potted plants.  A 
small screen cage will hold two or three one gallon pots of 
strawberries.   Say, two by two by two feet.  Set it up on something to 
keep insects from crawling up into it.  Put the whole works in the 
garage in winter.   Use the runners to start a new patch when you think 
you need it.  Just be sure you use extra small mesh screen to keep out 
aphids and other small sucking insects.  Put a lid on and use some 
rubber weather strip material to make it fit tight enough to keep out 
insects.  Staple the screen over the frame and run a bead of silicon 
caulking along the edges of the screen and around the frame anywhere 
something could squeeze in.  I build cages like that for other uses all 
the time and can turn one out in an hour or  so.   If you want to get 
fancy, use marine varnish on the bottom so the water from the pots 
won't warp the wood.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
For even more grape lessons, go to  http://www.grapeschool.com
For all other things grape,   http://www.vitisearch.com

On Nov 30, 2007, at 4:00 AM, loneroc wrote:

Lon or others:
 
Any thoughts on how I can maintain the plants without new virus 
infections for as long as possible?  The USDA describes 'Fairfax' as 
particularly sensitive to viral infection.  Pots in a screenhouse would 
not be my 1st choice.  I've got a garage full of dormant, potted 
material already.  And I don't have a sceenhouse handy.
 
On the other hand--maybe I shouldn't worry about it:  I don't suppose 
that the plants will become infected at such a fast rate that I 
couldn't get many good years of fruit out of them.  I imagine that the 
original pox-ridden accession Corvallis began with would have passed 
through the hands of dozens or even hundreds of farmers before ever 
making it to Oregon, braving exposure to all manner of different 
viruses I don't have here on their journey.  If I  am only infected 
occasionally by a local virus it may not make a huge difference in 
productivity or quality--just a very gradual decline over the 
decades---with the various infectious species causing little harm 
individually, but having a cumulative negative effect.  I can't imagine 
that I have all or even many of the possible contaminants living here 
already. 
 
Alternatively, maybe there are a couple of widespread viruses that 
routinely infect strawberries everywhere and rapidly put an end to 
their useful life--  Dunno.
 
Lon, could the Peruvian plants not have been exposed to the most 
damaging viruses?  I imagine that there is a degree of isolation that 
may have prevented exposure--or perhaps the 12000 foot altitude of the 
Peruvian highlands would not have as many leaf-hopper and aphid 
vectors, preventing exposure to many things.
 
Steve Herje
Lone Rock, WI USDA zone 3-4  
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Lon J. Rombough
> To: North American Fruit Explorers
> Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:16 PM
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Fairfax strawberry
>
> Strawberries are one fruit that doesn't seem to last long enough to 
> become an heirloom. Of all the interest groups in NAFEX, the 
> strawberry group has never taken hold because no one maintains any old 
> varieties. Strawberries take more work to maintain than other fruits. 
> Leave an apple tree for 20 years and there's a good chance it will 
> still be there. Leave a strawberry for two years and it will usually 
> have been crowded out by weeds or will die from disease. Even when old 
> varieties have been kept going, they are almost always mislabeled. So 
> it's up to places like the NCGR at Corvallis, Oregon to maintain them. 
> There, the plants are held in pots in a screenhouse. Flowers and 
> immature fruit are kept removed so no accidental seedlings will arise 
> in a pot. And the plants are either available as runners or by tissue 
> culture.
> Still, strawberries CAN last a long time. Go to South America and you 
> can find strawberries in places like Peru that have been maintained 
> for many decades, if not centuries by the local people. The 
> interesting thing about this is that those old selections are often 
> full of virus, but show no effects. Over the centuries, types have 
> been selected that have amazing tolerance to the diseases, as that was 
> the only way they could last.
> Point of all this rambling? Not much, except to hope that a few 
> explorers here might look for old, forgotten varieties and outstanding 
> wild plants that could be of use to produce types for N. America that 
> have similar ability to last a long time and perhaps to bring in that 
> wonderful wild flavor.
> -Lon Rombough
> Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
> http://www.bunchgrapes.com Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
> "Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
> For even more grape lessons, go to http://www.grapeschool.com
> For all other things grape, http://www.vitisearch.com
>
> On Nov 28, 2007, at 7:56 AM, road's end farm wrote:
>
>
> On Nov 28, 2007, at 7:17 AM, loneroc wrote:
>
>>
>>
>>  
>> Steve Herje
>>
>> Lone Rock, WI USDA Zone 3-4
>>
>>  
>> PS:  Thanks to whoever suggested Fairfax.  It's is one of the parents 
>> of Sparkle--my favorite commonly available berry and it's supposed to 
>> be even better.  It's supposed to grow well in (part?) shade--which 
>> is something I can always use.
>>
>
> Great news!
>
> How many runners did they send you?
>
> Are you considering getting Fairfax back on the market?
>
> Let us know how they do --
>
> --Rivka
> Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 
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