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May 22, 2009

Strawberry Tower

Filed under: Miscelaneous — Tags: — Richard Jordan @ 4:26 pm

Tower

If you have a lot of stawberries around, a strawberry tower is a good way to save space and get fruit.   Try making one in early spring with your stawberries plants.  This how-to will show you:

  1. materials needed
  2. pitfalls to avoid
  3. procedure to follow
  4. conclusion

Materials

materials

materials

To build your strawberry tower you’ll need:

  • 1 PVC pipe
  • an electric drill
  • gloves
  • 4 bags of dirt
  • shovel
  • 1 sheet of wire mesh

You’ll also course need a pile of strawberry plants like below.

pile of strawberries

pile of strawberries

Pitfalls

Don’t make these mistakes:

  • Using a pot – dirt spilling from the tower  fills the pot making it heavy and wasting dirt.
  • Not implanting a watering pipe – water runs off the vertical tower.
  • Using too few strawberries – pack them in.
  • Too much shade- strawberries like lots of  sun.

Procedure

To build your strawberry tower follow these steps.

Step 1: Foundation

holewire-in-hole-vert

First, let’s start laying the foundation of the tower.  We’ll need to dig a hole to keep the wire mess erect.

  1. Grab the wire mesh.
  2. Bend the mesh into a tube.
  3. Pick up the shovel.
  4. Dig a hole wide enough for your mesh tube.
  5. Stick your mesh tube into the hole.

Step 2: Filling with dirt.

water-pipe

Second, we’ll fill our mesh tube with dirt while making the resulting tower easy to water.  We’ll use the PVC pipe as a way of watering the tower.  It’ll be filled  around and stick out the middle of the dirt tower like shown above.

  1. Gather the PVC pipe and electric drill.
  2. Lay the PVC pipe down on a flat surface.
  3. Drill holes every couple inches.
  4. Stick the PVC pipe into the middle of the mesh tube.
  5. Push the PVC pipe firmly down into the ground.
  6. Grab your bags of dirt.
  7. Pick up your shovel.
  8. Fill the mesh to the top with the dirt using the shovel.

Step 3: Planting the  strawberries.

first-row

Third, now we have a dirt tower.  We just need to plant the strawberries.

  1. Put your gloves on.
  2. Start at the bottom.
  3. Make a hole the dirt inside a hole in the mesh.
  4. Grab a strawberry plant and stick it’s roots into the hole.
  5. Push the dirt down from above in the tower, letting it fill your hole.
  6. Leave the hole made by pushing the dirt down.
  7. Grab another strawberry.
  8. Plant it in that hole where the dirt fell down to your first strawberry.
  9. Push again down the dirt from above to plant the strawberry.
  10. Repeat numbers 5 through 8 until you reach the top.
  11. Do this again an again until you plant all your strawberries.

Conclusion

Tower

Now, you have a strawberry tower.  You’ve dug a hole, put a mesh tube in it, stuck a PVC pipe down the middle, filled it all with dirt, and lined the sides with strawberries.  With a temperate weather and good sun, you’ll have a nice crop of juicy red strawberries.

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  • leana

    Hi,
    This is a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing. This may be a silly question, but I live in Chicago area – zone 5. Would the strawberry plants get too cold? Should I line it with coco?
    Thanks,
    Leana

  • Ask your local Chicago nursery about strawberries. I did this in Seattle which is zone 8. Strawberries seem to particularly like the temperate climate in Seattle. We have wild strawberries that grow like weeds. They produce small, sweet berries throughout the summer, while in the winter they die back a bit. It is a damp, dark season. Temperatures range from 30 to 40 degrees farenheit in the winter and rise to 50 to 70 degrees in the summer. I went out of town and left the strawberry tower this past summer. In Seattle, the summer can be particularly dry and unfortunately no one watered the tower. My strawberries need to be replanted.

    I originally started lining the tower with moss, but I found it unneccesary and messy. Coco would be better.

  • Leana

    Thanks, I’m very excited to try this out. My strawberries are unmanageable. We have wild weed strawberries here as well, so that’s a good sign.

    I meant to ask you, did you fill the pipe with soil? I’m guessing you did so that the water could distribute better, but I’m not sure. I’m also wondering if 1/2″ pipe is sufficient, or should I go with a 4″?

    I’m going to try using a coco liner. I think I might build a pvc frame around it and clip on some fabric for extra winter protection (leaving the water hole open to the sky for some water). This may be overkill, or I could harvest strawberries earlier and later; Or I could just end up killing them all – hee hee – we’ll see. I’m also planning to use 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat moss. I use this in my square foot garden (my 2009 experiment), and it retains moisture very well. I will also plant my biggest four plants right on top, so that the runners can just be popped into the sides. What do you think?

    Thanks for your time,
    Leana

  • Leana

    Oh and sorry to hear about your poor strawberries…

  • Leana, thanks for your condolences. I built my strawberry tower also because I had too many in my garden. They really grow like weeds, so the tower was a good way to contain them. I did not fill the pipe with soil, but this worked alright for me. With a wider pipe like you suggest, that sounds like a good idea. I used mostly compost from a personal, trash can compost bin (my 2008 experiment) along with peat moss. Good luck! Richard

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