Strawberries are the most popular home garden fruit, according information from Purdue University. They are typically planted in a section of the home garden, in raised beds or in strawberry pots on a deck or patio. For the home grower who wants a lot of berries but doesn't have much room, a stacked system allows you to grow strawberries vertically instead of in the traditional manner.
Things You'll Need
- Square plastic pots, 2- to 5-gallon
- Drill with ¾-inch bit and ¼-inch bit
- ¾-inch pipe
- Potting soil
Drill a ¾-inch hole in the center of the bottom of the pot. This will allow the support pipe to pass through. If there is a drainage hole in the center of the pot, make it large enough to accept the ¾-inch pipe.
Pierce several ¼-inch drainage holes in the bottom of each pot. Scatter the holes over the entire area so the pots will drain properly when in use. Don't make these holes too close to the center hole.
Set the bottom pot in the location where you want to set up the vertical growing system. Strawberries need plenty of sunlight, at least six hours per day, so consider this when choosing a spot. There will be drainage from the bottom of the stack, so plan accordingly.
Put the pipe through the ¾-inch hole in the bottom of the pot. This is the center support for the vertical strawberry beds. It may help to set the pot up on blocks or on a bed of gravel.
Fill the pot with soil. Pack it down a bit, and top it off so that the soil is within an inch of the top of the pot.
Slide the next pot onto the pole and down until it rests on top of the first pot. Turn the second pot so that its corners rest exactly in the middle of the edges of the bottom pot. This will leave open space at each of the corners of the bottom pot.
Fill the second pot with soil in the same manner as the first one. Add the third pot on top of the second one, turning it so that it is lined up with the first one and oriented at a 45-degree angle to the second one. Continue in this manner until you have added as many pots as you want.
Plant one or two strawberry plants in the exposed corners of each pot. Harvest when the berries are ripe, but not before. Strawberries will not ripen once they are picked, so wait until they are ready.
Tips & Warnings
- You can use food storage buckets instead of purchasing pots. The buckets can be new, but they can also be found used at restaurants, where they are usually thrown away.
- Complete hydroponic growing systems are commercially available for growing strawberries vertically. These systems usually require recirculating pumps and pipes, They are more expensive and complicated to get set up than soil-based systems, but provide excellent results once in operation.
- Strawberries have a shallow root system. Pots don't need to be deeper than about 8 inches for the vertical garden to work.
- Never use buckets or pots that have had chemicals or unknown materials stored in them. The residue could contaminate or kill the strawberries.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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