Planting strawberries in New Jersey requires a bit of timing and a touch of patience. I always feel that rush of excitement when the winter chill starts to fade, and it’s almost time to get those strawberry seeds in the soil. For the best results in New Jersey, start planting strawberries in late winter to early spring, specifically from February to early March. This gives the seeds enough time to sprout before the last frost.

Strawberries planted in a New Jersey garden in early spring, with soil being tilled and small seedlings being carefully placed in rows

Getting the soil just right is key for a bountiful harvest. Strawberries thrive in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. I use a good quality fertilizer like 10-10-10 as soon as the runners start rooting, and again in mid-August. It’s amazing how that little bit of extra care can pay off with plump, juicy berries.

The best part of growing strawberries is, of course, the harvest. Strawberries are ready to pick about 30 days after they bloom. I always pick them in the morning when they’re cool to ensure they stay fresh longer. Plus, it’s great to grab a few fresh berries straight off the vine for breakfast!

Selecting the Right Strawberry Varieties

Different strawberry varieties have unique qualities. It’s crucial to choose based on your needs, New Jersey’s climate, and soil conditions to ensure a healthy, fruitful garden. Let’s explore types, recommended varieties, and popular choices in NJ.

Understanding Strawberry Types

Strawberries are classified mainly into June-bearing, Everbearing, and Day-Neutral types:

  • June-bearing Strawberries: Yield a large harvest once a year. Good choices for New Jersey include Earliglow and Jewel. They’re highly productive.
  • Everbearing Strawberries: Produce two to three smaller harvests spread across the growing season. Varieties like Ozark Beauty fit well, providing a more extended production period.
  • Day-Neutral Strawberries: Not affected by day length, they fruit throughout the season. Albion and Seascape are stellar performers here.

Knowing these types helps you plan your garden and harvest times better.

Recommended Strawberry Varieties

For New Jersey gardeners, focusing on disease-resistant, hardy cultivars is key:


  • Earliglow: Early harvest, sweet flavor, and vigorous growth. Great for organic matter-rich soil.
  • Jewel: Offers large, glossy berries. It’s a midseason favorite.


  • Ozark Beauty: Abundant and sweet. Performs consistently well.
  • Quinault: Produces large, soft berries twice a year. Suited for home gardens.


  • Albion: Known for firm, large, and sweet berries. Continues production till fall.
  • Seascape: Excellent yield with balanced taste. Prefers well-drained soil.

Consulting the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station can provide further localized recommendations.

Popular Strawberry Varieties in New Jersey

In New Jersey, choosing popular and proven varieties is wise:

  • Earliglow: Its early-season bounty and adaptability make it a go-to for many.
  • Jewel: Midseason harvesters appreciate its large, juicy berries.
  • Albion: Loved for continuous production and firmness, matching well with NJ’s climate.
  • Allstar: Resists diseases well. Known for uniform size and bright color.

Rutgers’ research supports these varieties for optimal growth. Engaging with local gardeners or joining community gardening groups can also provide valuable insights and first-hand experiences.

By choosing the right strawberry varieties suited to New Jersey, you can ensure bountiful, sweet harvests ready for those summer desserts or healthy snacks! 🍓

Preparing for Planting

When planting strawberries in New Jersey, it’s crucial to prepare properly to ensure healthy growth. Below are key factors to consider, including soil requirements, location, and planting methods. These aspects will help create the best conditions for your strawberry plants.

Soil Preparation and PH Levels

First, it’s important to get the soil just right. Strawberries thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.5. Conduct a soil test to determine your soil’s current pH. If adjustments are needed, you can add lime to raise the pH or sulfur to lower it.

The soil must be well-draining and rich in organic matter. To boost fertility, mix in compost or well-rotted manure. This not only improves drainage but also provides essential nutrients. Avoid soils previously used for potatoes or other vertical crops prone to verticillium wilt, which can harm strawberries.

Choosing the Right Location

Select a spot in your garden that gets full sun, ideally at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Strawberries love sunshine; it’s like a spa day for them. Shade will reduce fruit production and might lead to fungal diseases, which is a big no-no.

Avoid planting in low areas where frost might settle or where water can stagnate. Raised beds are a great alternative if your garden faces drainage issues. Ensure good air circulation to minimize disease risk, making sure it’s a spot where the plants can breathe easily.

Planting Methods and Techniques

Different strawberry varieties like June-bearers, everbearers, and day-neutrals have different spacing needs. For June-bearing varieties, space the plants 24-36 inches apart in rows 4 feet apart. Everbearers and day-neutrals should be planted 12-24 inches apart. This spacing allows enough room for plants to spread and grow without competing for nutrients.

When planting, make sure the crown is at soil level to avoid rot. Use the matted row system for an easy setup. For those short on space, strawberries grow well in containers too. Using suitable pots and quality potting mix can make this approach successful. Remember to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, especially during flowering and fruiting times.

By focusing on soil, location, and the right planting methods, strawberries in your New Jersey garden are set up for success, yielding delightful summer harvests.

Maintaining Strawberry Health

To keep strawberries thriving in New Jersey, focus on managing pests and diseases, ensuring proper watering and feeding, and preparing the plant for winter. Let’s dig in and keep those berries healthy and happy.

Protecting Plants from Pests and Diseases

One of the main threats to strawberry plants in New Jersey is pests like slugs and aphids. Installing netting can help keep birds away, while organic matter like straw mulch can deter slugs.

For managing diseases, choose disease-resistant varieties to lessen the chances of issues like verticillium wilt. I’ve noticed that rotating strawberries away from where tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant were previously planted reduces soil-borne disease risks.

Regular inspections are crucial. I check the underside of leaves for early signs of pests and remove any diseased plants immediately to prevent spread. Neem oil and insecticidal soap are my go-to organic treatments for minor infestations.

Optimizing Watering and Feeding

Strawberries need consistent watering, especially during dry spells. I aim for about 1-1.5 inches per week. Drip irrigation can help maintain moisture without wetting the leaves, which prevents fungal diseases.

When it comes to feeding, I use a balanced fertilizer in the early spring and again after the first harvest. A 10-10-10 mixture works well. Adding compost or well-aged manure enriches the soil’s organic matter, ensuring robust growth.

For container-grown strawberries, a high-quality potting mix is essential. I mix in some slow-release organic fertilizer at planting time. Additional foliar feedings during the growing season can also boost plant health.

Overwintering Strategies

New Jersey winters can be harsh on strawberries. To protect them, I start with a generous layer of straw mulch in late fall. This insulates the roots and prevents soil heaving during freeze-thaw cycles.

I also ensure that plants are well-hydrated going into winter. Dry roots are more prone to damage. After the first frost, I trim back the leaves to reduce disease risk but leave enough growth to protect the crowns.

For extra protection, consider using row covers or cold frames. If you’ve planted your strawberries in containers, move them to a sheltered area such as an unheated garage. With these steps, your strawberry plants can come through winter unscathed, ready to produce bountifully next season.

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