DIY Strawberry Towers are ideal for small space garden areas.
These towers are Perfect for patios with a tiny footprint and the handy vertical structure makes for easy pickings.
These DIY Strawberry Towers are a simple Spring Garden project.
Growing strawberries in towers also keeps them contained, mobile and easy to water.
Give new life to old buckets and manage your strawberry plants easily.
This up-cycle project is Cute enough for gifting and a practical solution to managing this wild running berry.
Strawberries LOVE growing this way.
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 growing them.
Managing Strawberries in the garden beds:
- 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.
- If strawberries are not managed well the berries will be small and hard. Sort of flavorless too. They need fertilizer, water and containment!
- Strawberries are always popping up out of nowhere in the garden bed and encroaching on other crops. They grow baby plants on sneaky runners and sprawl all over. (Kind of like their evil twin, buttercups. Don’t get me started!)
- Putting strawberries into perfect rows and keeping them weeded in our garden is backbreaking, frustrating work. They won’t stay put! They also need constant overseeing, watering ,fertilizing and weeding throughout the growing season. So we need them where we can find them and take good care of them for best crop.
To solve Our strawberry management problems, Dave made them their own area in our raised beds and built some Strawberry towers.
Managing Strawberries in a Tower:
The towers are a HUGE garden space saver. I planted 24 strawberries in the green tower I made today.
That would need a garden bed of at least 6 x 4.
Strawberries are much easier to weed and manage in containers, raised beds (Learn how he made ours) and strawberry towers. For these reasons:
- 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.
- The towers are mobile with a small footprint.
- The towers are set up to hold water well and have a handy center pipe to reach the lower level plants.
- The strawberries are easy to pick too. They just hang out there where you can easily spot them.
- Strawberries enjoy growing in containers. We are actually finding out we get a better crop from our container strawberries than those in our raised beds.
Recycling used five gallon buckets for this project is eco friendly.
Spray Paint the buckets to make them cute and grow them right on your patio! The first time we made these Dave didn’t think painting his towers was necessary.
I REALLY hate the look of those painty mismatched towers, But they work great. Removing industrial labels and Painting the buckets to match will give them a much prettier look for your garden or patio.
This DIY Strawberry Tower was a gift to our daughter and son in law, Kayti and Brian. Now they can sit on their porch and munch fresh strawberries right off the vine!
DIY Strawberry towers Materials List:
Most of these materials can be found free or pretty close. Borrow the tools if you don’t have them and won’t need them again.
- Two Five gallon buckets ONE good fitting bucket lid for each tower. You can get 5 gallon buckets free from most fast food places.
- Landscape fabric or burlap to line the buckets. (about 3 feet by 3 feet in size)
- A two inch hole saw.
- A hacksaw.
- One inch Diameter PVC Pipe- make sure the pipe is long enough to rise about 2 inches above the soil level of your tower.
- Drill and small drill bit
- PVC all purpose cement
- Dark Green Spray Paint for plastic if you want to make them pretty. 🙂
- rough sandpaper
- potting soil
- organic fertilizer
- THIS TIME I used planted starts in four inch pots. No bare root stock was available locally due to diseases in the bare root stock.
- Watch the video to see how I plant the towers. It was not hard to plant the planted starts. They were planted two together in 4 inch pots. I pulled them apart and planted them as singles. You can put two in one hole if they are small.
- The strawberry plants are planted in layers in the tower from the inside and the roots are horizontal to the hole they come out of.
for the towers. We don’t recommend garden dirt for this project. The strawberries are heavy feeders so they will get off to the best start if they have a really good quality planting soil. He also mixed the 4 way top soil, bone meal and
Instructions for DIY Strawberry Towers
NOTE: This process takes several hours due to drying time for the paint and the pipe cement set up time. We think it’s worth the effort. Break up the work in to stages if you want. You control this process. Do several towers at a time if you have the need for them. They last forever and are such a handy way to grow strawberries!
- 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 inches 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 and form a tube.
- NOTE: Try to find buckets of slightly different widths to make this easier. We had two identical buckets and eventually went to two different styles so they would fit together. Dave could have made them work but the tower would have been pretty short.
When the buckets are fit together they will form a tube with the bucket tops on either end. Put a lid on one and flip them so the lid is on the bottom. Now it’s ready to cut the holes, sand the rough spots, paint and fit with the pipe.
- Mark your bucket tower randomly. Offset the marks 4 inches apart all around the outside for the 2 inch holes you will drill.
- If you want drainage in the tower bottom drill several holes in the bottom lid at this point.
- Glue the PVC pipe onto the lid now forming the tower bottom. OR wait till the buckets are together and painted.
- Allow the plastic pipe cement to set up completely. We waited an hour.
- run a length of 1/4” spaghetti tubing to the tower and attach one or two 1/4” soaker hoses to the line (use a tee connector if you want two soaker lines). You can run the soaker hoses(s) up from the bottom through one of the holes.
- If you run the hoses(s) down from the top of the tower, secure the end of the hoses(s) at ground level so they stay in place.
- The hoses should run vertically through the center of the tower to ensure all the plants get water.
- Use a helper to hold the hoses in place while you fill the tower with soil.”
Continuing on with our DIY Strawberry Towers instructions:
- Line the tower and pipe with landscape fabric to help retain moisture and also prevent the pipe holes from getting clogged with roots and dirt over time. We have been using our for three years without replanting. The watering system works great!
- 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. Dave moves his around our yard on his dolly.
Plant the DIY Strawberry Towers in layers from the bottom up this way:
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 will surround the tower and produce yummy fruit. Enjoy!
We did this process originally five years ago. The same plants are in the towers and doing great!
They have overwintered outside with no fussing. Dave’s old strawberry towers work just fine.
He had lots and lots of buckets so this is the way we decided to do our strawberry towers.
These towers have been growing the same strawberry plants for several years now. The strawberries like them too.
We like the repurposing angle too. Dave uses TONS of buckets in his work.
This is one way to get extra use out of those he would otherwise throw out. If you use industrial buckets like this clean them REALLY well!
Maintaining your DIY Strawberry Towers:
Think of these towers as you would any container plant. They need monitoring to be sure they have adequate water and fertilizer.
Watering: Dave waters his towers by hand.
- Pour water and dissolved fertilizer to the bottom plants through the pipe you see extending through the soil. It will drip water to the bottom strawberry plants roots and keep them hydrated and fed.
- Water and fertilize the top of the tower as needed. We have been happily surprised by how long our towers retain moisture.
Maybe you know someone who would like DIY strawberry towers as a gift. Please share this post with your friends. Thank you and Happy Gardening!
Please click the links for each blog below for more great DIY and gift ideas
Monday 24th of January 2022
So do you cut off the runners right away? Do you trim them at a certain time of year? Do you replant the new plants? how many years will the mother plants yield? Do you ever replace them?
Monday 24th of January 2022
Hi Judy, If you want to preserve the energy of the mother plant to make bigger and better strawberries you should keep the runners trimmed back. Trim the runners back through the growing season UNLESS you want to make new strawberry plants. Then you can let the babies grow. We sometimes do that and replant the baby plants in the spring so they can get established before Fall. The mother plants of various kinds will have different lifespans so It depends on your variety. When the mother plants start to look weak and small it is time for a new crop. We find strawberries naturalize here. We have replaced them to try a new variety. But more often we have to weed some out to contain them on our strawberry beds or they will get out of hand. Strawberries do require some maintenance in large garden bed. They tend to jump boundaries. If you just want a few to eat the towers are pretty good at containing them. Our towers have had the same berry plants in them with just a few replants for at least five years. Hope this helps. Happy Planting!
Monday 10th of May 2021
Hello, I tried making these planters however the water reservoir drains water faster than I can put it in. Any ideas of what I might have done wrong?
Monday 10th of May 2021
Hi Brandon, It sounds like the pipe is too large around. However, if your soil is very loose it will also accept water very fast. Try compacting the soil firmly around the plant roots and see if that the problem. If you need a smaller pipe in the center of the bucket add 1 inch round drain rock or crushed gravel into the pipe to slow the water down. Hope this helps!
Saturday 10th of April 2021
Can you elaborate how large the holes in the pipe should be, as well as the holes for drainage in the bottom lid.
Saturday 10th of April 2021
Hi Lynn, The holes in the pipe are just 1/4 inch or so to allow water to drip to the bottom roots. The bottom drainage holes are 1/2 to 3/4 inch so prevent waterlogging those bottom roots. I hope this helps. Have a wonderful day.
Monday 5th of April 2021
Hi! So this will be our second season/spring after making our strawberry tower. Should I add dirt to the top and more fertilizer there? Seems like it settled and is lower. Just not sure how to prep it for this season. The winter had some milder days so some green leaves remained over winter and already has plants starting to grow on top. Thanks! Ps my kids loved picking fresh strawberries
Monday 5th of April 2021
Hi Cate, Great question! you can add more soil on top of the roots if the soil is deeply settled. You may have to do it in stages to prevent burying the crowns. This is a great time to pour some liquid fertilizer 10-10-10 into the center pipe and feed those roots. Also when you add the new soil mix in a handful of epsom salt. This will help set the blooms, encourages more blooms and makes the berries sweeter. We have had our towers for years and years. They just keep producing. And they are so easy to manage and pick. I'm so happy to hear your kids enjoy picking the towers. I hope they give you years of delicious berries. Happy Spring!
Tuesday 30th of June 2020
In all of your written instrucions you say to use a 1 inch pipe down the center, yet the pipe i see in your photos looks to be a 2 inch pipe. which is the correct size?
I like you instructions, they are the best.
Tuesday 30th of June 2020
Hi Roger, It is a one inch pipe. However, if you have a 2 inch pipe on hand you can use that. Your going to go through a lot more water to fill the 2 inch pipe but it may work great for keeping the plants watered.:)