The Pacific Beach Strawberry is a coastal plant native to the grasslands and coastal regions of Alaska, down through the coast of South American and Hawaii. These strawberries, unlike more common strawberries, are quite small. Like most strawberries, their cultivation is very specific to their growing location. However, there are several standard steps that will help your plants yield plentiful and delicious Pacific Beach strawberries.
Plant your Pacific Beach Strawberry plants in a sandy loam. The soil should promote water drainage to avoid accumulating water around the planting area. Pacific Beach strawberries require direct sunlight and prefer an airy breeze. Avoid planting your strawberries in areas that have been previously cultivated, unless the soil has been completely removed and replaced. Strawberries of all kinds are susceptible to Verticillium wilt, which is commonly found in strawberry, tomato, pepper and potato plant sites.
Fertilize your strawberries in the early spring and again toward the end of fall or early winter. Use approximately 2 lb. pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet. The ideal fertilizer is 6-24-24, or an equivalent alternative. Work the fertilizer evenly into the ground surrounding the location but don't let it touch the foliage or roots directly.
Pinch off newly forming flowers that grow on the first season's berries. Most first-year berries provide unsustainable growth. However, removing the initial flowers will promote vigorous plant growth for the following year's harvest. Your first harvest will occur a year from planting. Surround your patch with at least a 2-inch layer of mulch toward the end of fall when the plant becomes dormant. Rake off the mulch during early spring.
Avoid weed growth near and in your strawberry bed. Weeds are common predators of beach strawberries. Carefully hand pull and hoe the weeds from the bed. Avoid using chemicals, because they can adversely affect the strawberries. Prune and water regularly to promote vigorous patch growth that will overpower weed growth and provide overall weed control
Water your strawberries regularly to maximize growth. Pacific Beach strawberries should receive at least 1 inch of water per week. This can be a combination of rainfall and watering. Avoid excessive watering, and ensure that the strawberries have ample drainage to avoid drowning. Increase water amounts by 1/2 to 1 inch in the dry seasons. This will help to ensure maximum production during the following year.
Divide the patch every three to four years to encourage maximum strawberry production. Young strawberry patches produce more vigorously than their older counterparts. If you find a patch that fails to produce ample berries, split the patch and discard the portions that have very limited production. Replace the discarded patches with new ones, and surround the newer patches with the older ones. This will also promote cross pollination during the blooming phases.
Harvest your Pacific Beach strawberries regularly as they ripen. Successful berries will be a healthy red color and slightly firm to the touch. Pick your strawberries daily. Discard overripe berries to reduce pest infestations. Remove the strawberries with the caps on and at least half of the stem attached. Wash the strawberries immediately and store them in a cool place, preferably a refrigerator.