Knowing when to plant strawberries in Idaho in early spring is one of the secrets for a successful berry farm. These berries are surprisingly hardy that they can tolerate up to -20°F. However, it would be best if you remembered that Idaho is a short-season, high-altitude region, and only specific strawberry varieties will do well in this state.
To prevent desiccation and cold injuries such as frost in winter, consider getting a greenhouse for your strawberries. Refer to Krostrade.com and learn how to use the structure and thorough irrigation to protect your crops. Using a greenhouse will also help your fruits establish entirely and be ready to bear the following year.
Can You Grow Strawberries In Idaho?
You can grow strawberries in Idaho as long as you select the varieties that can tolerate your region’s conditions. At the same time, it helps that berries are suitable in well-drained sandy loam soils that Idaho can provide. You must also check the pH level of your soil as 5.0 to 6.5 is ideal for the best growth of strawberries.
When it comes to selecting the site in Idaho, it’s better to avoid strawberry farming altogether if you live in a frost pocket. Remember that these plants bloom early and are prone to frost damage. If the area is a former space for crops like black raspberries, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers, it may also be susceptible to Verticillium wilt that is damaging to strawberries.
Since Idaho has freezing winters, you must know when to plant your strawberries. Besides, some varieties are hardier than others, and you have to know what grows well in Idaho. Researching these two factors will ensure you a successful strawberry farm in Idaho.
When To Plant Strawberries In Idaho?
Early spring is the best time to plant strawberries in Idaho. The reason behind this is the state is a short-season, high-altitude region with frigid winters. Farmers must start in early spring so that the plants have established themselves for harvest next year and protection against winter.
During the first season that you’ve planted strawberries, you must pinch all the blossoms until August. Therefore, the plant’s energy will go into establishment instead of fruit development. If you use day-neutral varieties, you can let some fruits develop in August.
Strawberries are prone to damage from freezing weather. You can avoid this by mulching the plants with straw. And before it gets freezing, you can start irrigation in late October to prevent desiccation.
Lastly, consider the different planting durations of each zone. For example, both zones 3 and 4 start early in May until the middle of May. Zone 5 begins in early April and ends in early May, while zone 6 is from early March until the middle of April.
What Are The Best Strawberries To Plant?
In general, there are three types of strawberries, and each of them has cultivars that are suitable for Idaho. They are June-bearers, ever bearers, and day neutrals. June-bearers have the most number of varieties that will grow well in Idaho.
This type of strawberry is also very productive and will only take three weeks to ripen. You can expect them to start budding in the fall and crop the next spring or early summer. On the contrary, double-cropping ever bearers will bud in autumn and midsummer but will crop during spring and late summer.
Lastly, day neutrals crop similar to ever bearers and bear fruit from spring through fall. What’s good with them is that they will start budding regardless of the day length. However, do note you will need to plant them in ribbon rows to accommodate runners.
What Kind Of Berries Grow In Idaho?
All three types of strawberries can grow in Idaho. However, there are plenty of options for June-bearers, such as Cavendish, Earligrow, Honeoye, Lateglow, Scott, Shuksan, and Totem. On the other hand, only the Tribute variety of day-neutral strawberries would suit the conditions in Idaho.
If you prefer everbearing strawberries, the Fort Laramie, Ozark Beauty, Ogallala, and Quinalt can grow well in short-season, high-altitude regions. All of these varieties are hardy and tolerate the challenges in Idaho. Some other strawberries that are also worth mentioning for Idaho are Allstar, Benton, Blomidon, Catskill, Glooscap, Guardian, Jewel, Lester, Micmac, Redchief, Surecrop, and Tristar.
Overall, June-bearers will mature in late spring, and they give off the most important and best quality of fruits. Dayneutrals are double-cropping in spring and fall, so they are best for a continuous supply. But if you want a high number of yield, ever bearers, from the name itself, bear all summer long.
How To Make Strawberries Bigger?
Proper care and maintenance will help you grow bigger strawberries. In addition to that, June-bearers will give you large fruits, so if that is your main objective, check those strawberry cultivars. It’s also worth noting that as the plant’s age, the berry sizes will decrease, so replace them every 3 to 5 years.
When one says proper care and maintenance of strawberry crops, this includes removing weeds that compete for nutrients and water. It would help if you also clipped off all the runners from the parent plant. Limiting the shoots by plucking them off will encourage bigger fruits as well.
As for the feeding, use a combination of compost and age manure. You can mulch the soil around the crops to suppress weeds, while also helping with plant growth. For watering, 2 inches of water each week will help for fruit production.
Strawberries love the sun, and they will grow better with 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Other than choosing the site, pruning any plant that shields the berries will also help. And speaking of pruning, don’t hesitate to clip off any unhealthy fruits, so they don’t compete with energy against the better quality fruits.
Strawberries are hardy fruits, but the short-season, high-altitude areas in Idaho add more consideration before starting them in this state. You must know the answers to when to plant strawberries in Idaho and what varieties will grow well in your region. Remember that early spring is suitable for strawberries, and June-bearing strawberries have many cultivars that you can plant in Idaho.
It’s also an excellent tip to cultivate strawberries inside a greenhouse. This way, you can protect them against frost and desiccation from the extreme freezing weather during winter. Alongside proper care and maintenance of the crops, replacing your plants every 3 to 5 years will guarantee you large and high-quality strawberries.