DIY Strawberry Towers are any easy Spring Garden project. Growing strawberries in buckets keeps them contained, mobile and easy to water. This vertical system is also a space saver. Paint the buckets to make them cute and grow them right on your patio!
Dave didn’t think painting his towers was necessary; so ours are ugly. Removing industrial labels and Painting the buckets to match will give them a much prettier look for your garden or patio.
DIY Strawberry Towers are ideal for small garden areas where a small footprint is required. Strawberries tend to sprawl in a garden area.
STRAWBERRIES IN TOWERS FOR BETTER MANAGEMENT:
For a few years Dave and I have been bringing strawberries back into our garden. We had a long break from them for a couple of decades! Strawberries are so yummy and good for us, we really love to eat them. I used to grow them, unsuccessfully in our old garden. I learned to hate them!
Strawberries are a total PAIN to manage in the ground level garden for these reasons!
- Strawberries tend to run wild if not diligently managed. They propagate through runners. If the runners are not replanted or weeded out, the mother plant will get spindly and weak. The entire strawberry bed will become a mass of weak, disorganized plants that are hard to pick and Impossible to control and weed.
- But strawberries are so so good at hiding starts under, in and around the mother plant they are always popping up out of nowhere. They grow baby plants on sneaky runners and sprawl all over.
- Putting them into perfect rows and keeping them weeded in our area is backbreaking work on the ground level. They need constant overseeing too!
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To solve these problems, Dave made them their own area in our raised beds and built some Strawberry towers. Strawberries are much easier to weed and manage in raised beds (Learn how he made ours)and strawberry towers. The baby starts are easier to find and replant. This helps the strawberry mother plant bed stay refreshed so it will grow better bigger berries! Strawberry towers need no weeding, the runners are easy to find and snip off or replant and the towers are mobile!
DIY Strawberry Towers Instructions:
Dave’s strawberry towers work just fine. He had lots and lots of buckets so this is the way we decided to do our strawberry towers this year. These towers have been growing the same strawberry plants for several years now. The towers are holding up just fine and the strawberries like them too.
You will need these materials:
- Two Five gallon buckets for each tower and ONE good fitting bucket lid.
- Landscape fabric or burlap to line the buckets. (about 3 feet by 3 feet in size)
- A two inch hole saw to make the holes for the strawberry plants in the towers.
- A hacksaw or Sawsall to cut the buckets.
- a One inch pvc pipe
- a small drill bit and drill
- PVC all purpose cement
- 1 can spray Paint if you want to make them pretty
- Strawberry root starts. We ordered our strawberries as bare root stock in a 25 pack from Johnnys seeds. Bare roots are easy to plant into the towers.
- Dave bought potting soil for the towers. We don’t recommend garden dirt for this. The strawberries are heavy feeders so they will get off to the best start if they have a really good quality dirt.
- He also mixed the 4 way top soil, bone meal and fertilizer into it. He saw a fertilizer mix for strawberries in a magazine that is a 20-20-20 mix! Wow strawberries are VERY heavy feeders! So he made up his own high test strawberry mix.
- You will see in the towers a pipe running up in the center of the tower. That is for watering. Dave will water the tower from that top middle pipe to accommodate the lower strawberries planted along the edge of the tower.
- He drilled the pipe in several places so the water will slowly seep into the tower for the plants. Dave hand waters his towers.
- For a method of using a pipe center that attaches a garden hose go to Master Gardeners site.
- The pipe is cemented in with PVC all purpose cement
INSTRUCTIONS FOR EASY DIY STRAWBERRY TOWERS:
- Thoroughly clean out your buckets and remove the handles
- cut off the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of ONE bucket.
- Cut off 1 and 1/2 inch or so and the bucket bottom of the second bucket.
- NOW You have two bottomless buckets of different heights. It’s time to put them together
- Fit the buckets cut bottoms together. (If they don’t fit together cut the shorter bucket a bit more and try again)
When the buckets are fit together they will form a tube with the bucket tops on either end as shown here.
- Mark your bucket tower randomly. Offset the marks 4 inches apart all around the outside for the 2 inch holes you will drill.
- Using the two inch hole saw cut the holes where marked into the side of your buckets. You will plant strawberry starts into these holes. Do not stack the holes!
- Once all the holes are drilled you can paint your tower if you want to. Follow the spray paint directions. Paint each bucket separately. And Paint the bucket lid. When the towers are completely dry Fit them back together. They should fit tightly so you may have to twist them together.
- Place the single bucket lid onto one end of the tower.
- Drill several small holes into the PVC pipe. Glue the PVC pipe onto the lid now forming the tower bottom. Allow to set up completely.
- Once the pvc pipe is firmly seated into the tower move the tower to it’s destination. These can be moved anytime but they get heavy once planted!
Plant the tower in layers from the bottom up this way:
Fill the tower with soil up to the first hole and then lay the strawberry starts onto the soil. Cut the liner so the shoot can grow out of the hole.
Make sure the shoot is close to a hole.
Water the soil and starts lightly and firmly press the soil around the strawberry roots keeping the shoot end of the root pointing out a hole.
Repeat planting up the tower until it is closely packed with soil and starts all the way around the tower and to the tower top.
Plant several strawberry starts into the tower topsoil.
Your DIY Strawberry tower is now completed and planted. In about three weeks your strawberries will grow out the sides and top. lovely blooming strawberry plants with surround the tower and produce yummy fruit.
- Occasionally water your DIY strawberry towers through the top of the pipe you see extending through the soil. It will drip water to the bottom strawberry plants and keep them hydrated. Water the top of the tower as well.