Saving the Marshall Strawberry


Early this year, I purchased a dozen Marshall strawberry plants. I paid $6.50 for each four-inch pot! These were transplanted into much larger pots with blood meal and bone meal added to foster root growth. Periodically they were given a dose of Alaska Fish Fertilizer. Wow, did they grow – sending out a profusion of runners! I filled four-inch pots with enriched potting soil and affixed each of the babies to the surface with a single hairpin.  I now have hundreds of Marshall Strawberry plants! They’ll go into their permanent garden bed this Fall. 

The Marshall came very near to extinction. Strawberry Leaf Blight and the fact that these berries do not travel well to distant markets may have been what finally did in these gorgeous berries back in the 1960’s. I did see some blight on a few of my plants. It appeared as a browning at the edge of the leaf. I immediately removed the infected leaves and treated the tops and bottoms of the remaining leaves with copper. So far, so good.  With luck, this next Spring I’ll again be tasting those sweet, luscious, juicy, ruby red berries of my childhood – yum!
Read more here about Marshall Strawberries and the Olga Strawberry Barreling Plant on Orcas Island, one of Washington's San Juan Islands just a bit farther north of Whidbey Island. It’s a fascinating story.
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