Strawberries grow well in all areas of the mountainous state of Colorado -- even at high altitudes. Strawberries can either be June-bearing, everbearing or day neutral. June-bearing strawberries ripen in June or July and produce the most flavorful fruit but because they only produce once per year, they may not produce at all if damaged by frost. Everbearing strawberries ripen both in June and then again in late summer or early fall. Day neutral strawberries are much like everbearing strawberries, except that they produce fruit throughout the summer. Plant in early spring in Colorado. Prepare to begin planting in the late afternoon on the day you buy your plants.
Choose a plant bed that receives full sunlight for eight hours every day.
Lay plastic sheet on top of the plant bed to help prevent insects and protect plants from frost. Cut openings into the sheet for where you will place each plant into the soil. Cut openings 2 feet apart until you have formed a row. Space rows 4 feet apart. This method is best for June-bearing strawberries. If you are planting everbearing or day neutral strawberries, cut an opening for each strawberry plant 1 foot apart with 1 foot in between each row and 3 feet between each set of three rows.
Dig a small hole in the soil through the first opening on the plastic sheet. Make the hole twice as wide as the plant's container and to the same depth. Place a strawberry plant in the hole, then fill in the hole around the plant with organic matter and nitrogen-based soil. Pack the strawberry plant firmly into the ground. Repeat the process for each plant. Strawberries grow best when planted in early spring.
Water each plant individually immediately after planting.
Apply a herbicide, such as Dacthal, if you are working with more than three rows of strawberry plants.
Water at least once per week until November. Strawberries need approximately 1 inch of water per week. In November add more nitrogen-based soil mixture and cover the plant bed with 2 inches of straw to help protect the plants from frost during the winter.
Tips & Warnings
- Pick strawberries every other day during the peak ripening season -- typically June and July -- to avoid having the fruit rot on the vine.
- Strawberry plants typically produce for approximately three years. Remove the plants when they stop producing.
- Don't plant strawberries in the same soil in which raspberries, cherries, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants or peppers have grown within five years to avoid disease in strawberries.
- Watch for insects and disease. Both seldom occur in Colorado, but you notice abnormality in the appearance of strawberries, remove the plant immediately so the disease does not spread to other strawberry plants. If insects are feeding on the strawberries, you may need a pesticide that is approved for soft fruits.
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