Sweet Success: Growing Strawberries in Your Colorado Garden

Have you ever bitten into a juicy, sun-ripened strawberry straight from the garden? There’s nothing quite like it! If you’re ready to grow your own sweet strawberries in Colorado that come back every year, here are some tips that will help you cultivate a thriving strawberry patch right in your backyard.

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Variety Selection

Choosing the right strawberry variety is key to a successful harvest. In Colorado, opt for everbearing varieties like Ogallala or Fort Laramie, which are known for their adaptability to our unique climate and soil conditions. These everbearing strawberries are a top choice for home gardeners due to their reliable production. These strawberries typically yield two main crops each year, with small amounts of fruit between the main harvest in June and a lighter crop in late summer or early fall. This resilience is particularly valuable in Colorado's unpredictable climate, as even if late spring frost damages the first flowers, you can still count on a crop later in the season.

Planting Tips

When it comes to planting, aim for a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil. Consider planting in raised beds to improve drainage, especially if you're dealing with Colorado's heavy clay soils. Plant strawberries in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked, to give them ample time to establish before the heat of summer kicks in.

Soil Preparation

Preparing your soil is crucial for healthy strawberry plants. Incorporate plenty of organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to improve soil structure and fertility. Aim for a slightly acidic soil pH of 5.5-6.5 for best results.

Planting Technique

When planting strawberries, space them 12-18 inches apart in rows, with rows spaced 2-3 feet apart. Ensure the crown of the plant is at soil level, and water thoroughly after planting. Consider mulching with straw or pine needles to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Remove runners that grow. With everbearing strawberries, it's recommended to remove the first batch of blooms. This helps the plant focus its resources on establishing a strong foundation, which ultimately leads to higher fruit production. By sacrificing the early blooms, you'll be rewarded later in the season with a bountiful harvest of delicious strawberries.

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Watering and Fertilizing

Strawberries require regular watering, especially during dry spells. Avoid overhead watering to prevent diseases, and instead, water at the base of the plants. Fertilize strawberries with a balanced fertilizer in early spring and after the first harvest. Try to keep strawberries off of the wet ground. This can cause rotting and gives insects easy access to the fruit.

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Pest and Disease Management

Keep an eye out for common pests like slugs, snails, pillbugs, earwigs and aphids, and take measures to control them if necessary. To prevent diseases such as gray mold and powdery mildew, ensure good air circulation around plants and avoid overcrowding.

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Harvesting and Enjoying

Finally, the best part—harvesting and enjoying your homegrown strawberries! They're typically ready to pick 4-6 weeks after flowering. Look for fully red, shiny berries that are easily removed from the plant. Store them in the refrigerator and savor the flavor of your hard work! We get a huge harvest of strawberries, so we wash them, remove the stems, and freeze on a cookie tray. After they are individually frozen, we bag them and are able to use them throughout the year!

365 Greenhouse & Eco-scapes; Colorado Springs, Colorado; landscapers; landscaping services; excavation services; strawberries; gardening

Winter Prep

To protect strawberry plants over winter, use straw or mulch, applying it after the first freeze. This mulch should be about 1 to 2 inches deep and held in place with weighted boards or soil piles. The mulch serves to prevent moisture loss from winter winds and root damage from freezing and thawing. Keep the mulch on as long as possible in spring to limit early growth, which can be damaged by adverse weather. Check for new growth in March and gradually remove the mulch to expose the plants to sunlight. Leave some mulch as soil cover to keep fruit off the ground. If there's a late spring frost, rake the mulch back over the plants until the danger passes, then remove it promptly.

With these tips in hand, you’re well on your way to growing delicious strawberries in your Colorado garden. Get your hands dirty, enjoy the process, and get ready to taste the fruits of your labor!

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