DIY Strawberry Towers are ideal for small space garden areas. 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!
Welcome to our Tuesday Garden Blog Hop! Every second Tuesday of the month we join our garden group for a fun exchange of creative and helpful gardening ideas. We have gardeners from all over the country with various gardening interest. You are sure to find fun ideas, recipes, gift ideas and garden tips for either flower or vegetable gardening. Here’s how it works. At the end of this post you will find links to our garden contributors. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit a spell with some of the most interesting garden bloggers I know. Enjoy!
DIY Strawberry Towers:
GROW 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 growing them!
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.
DIY Strawberry Towers are mobile. Put them where you like. And they can move around the place to access best conditions for different season.
Easy to water, feed and NO weeding. THAT is a big deal because…
Strawberries are a total PAIN to manage in the garden beds:
- We live in strawberry heaven. They love it here. Our 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.
Here’s a Video Peek at Making A Strawberry Tower
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. We have a lot of old buckets laying around at any given time from Dave’s Business that need using. So this project is perfect for us. We’ve made three towers now. They work Great!
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!
You will need these materials: 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. Our affiliates links are here for backup for you.
- Two [easyazon_link identifier=”B01N1WHEH4″ locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]Five gallon buckets[/easyazon_link] ONE good fitting bucket lid for each tower. You can get 5 gallon buckets free from most fast food places.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00LK2MJ9M” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]Landscape fabric[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link identifier=”B01634ISRS” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]burlap[/easyazon_link] to line the buckets. (about 3 feet by 3 feet in size)
- A [easyazon_link identifier=”B0002UKV84″ locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]two inch hole saw[/easyazon_link].
- A hacksaw or [easyazon_link identifier=”B00BRL59FW” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]Sawsall[/easyazon_link].
- a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00MNIY2VA” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]One inch diameter pvc pipe[/easyazon_link]. It needs to be tall enough to rise at least two inches above the soil level of your tower.
- a small drill bit and [easyazon_link identifier=”B005NNF0YU” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]drill[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B000BLIC5S” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]PVC all purpose cement[/easyazon_link]
- 1 can [easyazon_link identifier=”B0002YUDZ6″ locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″] Dark Green spray Paint for plastic[/easyazon_link]if you want to make them pretty
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00004Z47V” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]Rough Sandpaper[/easyazon_link]
- Planting Strawberry root starts. The first time we made strawberry towers We ordered our strawberries as bare root stock in a 25 pack from Johnnys seeds. Bare roots are easy to plant into the towers. Make sure you get the variety you need for your garden zone.
- 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.
- Dave bought [easyazon_link identifier=”B001I49Q98″ locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]potting soil[/easyazon_link] 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 [easyazon_link identifier=”B000VZRV4C” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]organic fertilizer[/easyazon_link]into it.
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.
- 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. 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.
- 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! Offset the holes so the strawberry roots can more efficiently use the tower and get best use of water and light too.
- Drill several small holes into the PVC pipe with the small drill bit.
- 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.
- Once all the holes are drilled and sanded smooth you can paint your tower, bottom lid and center pipe. Follow the spray paint directions. Paint each bucket separately. We recommend[easyazon_link identifier=”B0002YPHGQ” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]dark green spray paint for plastic[/easyazon_link]. It’s usually available in local hardware stores. When the towers are painted and completely dry Fit them back together. They should fit tightly so you may have to twist them together.NOTE: IF you want an automatic watering system on your towers it’s doable. We have never done this. We excerpted this suggestion from These master Gardeners “If you are planning to use a drip irrigation line to keep your strawberries watered:
- 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 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 [easyazon_link identifier=”B01IFMSKAQ” locale=”US” tag=”homefoodjunk-20″]dolly[/easyazon_link].
Plant the DIY Strawberry Towers 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. If you are planting starts carefully guide the flowers and leaves through the 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.
- I added fertilizer to the soil after the first two levels of strawberries were planted. This gets them off to a good start.
- Repeat planting up the tower levels 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 will surround the tower and produce yummy fruit. Enjoy!
We did this process originally three 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 this tower as a gift. Please share this post with your friends. Thank you and Happy Gardening!
Tuesday Garden Blog Hop