If you are an urban gardener, a strawberry tower is your friend. It allows one to grow fruit in a small space with a few supplies. These two strawberry tower designs are also small and simple enough that they can easily be taken down if desired.
The two strawberry towers that I am going to be discussing are referred to as strawberry tower I and strawberry tower II. Depending on your time, room, and supplies will determine which one you choose to build.
Strawberry Tower I
Prior to providing directions for this project, I would like to have a disclaimer. This project requires the use of two plastic buckets. Do not use plastic buckets that have had paint or chemicals inside them. While I would hope I would not have to explain why, I do feel the need to remind everyone. The best buckets to use are those that are made of food grade plastic if possible.
Now that I have the warning out there, the next step is to give you a list of supplies and tools. This includes two 5 gallon buckets, roll of landscape cloth, soil, optional additives for the soil include compost and/or slow release fertilizer, strawberry plants, optional paint, pliers, marker, ruler, hacksaw, safety goggles, clothespins, hand drill, sandpaper, and 2” hole bit.
Ok, the next step is to get everything together. Once you have that, you are ready to create your strawberry tower I. The first step in this process is to remove the wire handles from the buckets. This can be done with the pliers and a little muscle power. Once that is done, take one of the buckets and measure up `1/2 inch from the bottom. Next, draw a line at the ½ inch all the way around the bucket. This will be the line you follow when you cut the bottom off with the hack saw. Once this bottom has been removed, sand the raw edge down.
After the first bucket is done, you will repeat the process with the second bucket but this time you will remove one inch. Once marked, cut and sand.
The next step in this process is to test the planter before moving on. To do this, take the shorter of the two buckets and place it cut side up. Now, take the other bucket and nest the cut bottom into the cut portion of the bottom bucket. If done correctly, they should nest nicely into each one. If this is not the case, separate them and sand where needed. Or, cut a little more off the bottom bucket.
After the buckets have been fitted correctly and taken apart, the next step is to cut the holes. Before you can do this though, you need to mark the buckets. The holes need to be 4 inches apart. This is the only rule of this process. In doing so, take out your ruler and begin to place a dot where you want your holes. These dots will represent where you will place the drill bit tip for the hole.
Once you have all your holes marked, begin the drilling process. After all the holes have been drilled, sand all the holes until smooth. After you are satisfied with the smoothness of the holes, spray out the buckets.
Allow the buckets to dry and then slide them together and place you strawberry tower where you want it located. Once planted, this plant can be a challenge to move so the latter step is very important.
Now, the planter is ready to fill and plant. To begin this process, one will need to first line the bucket with landscape cloth. The easiest way to do this is to cut a “tube” of the landscape cloth and place in the bucket. To keep it upright at this point, one will need to clip it to the bucket using clothespins.
Once you are satisfied with the position of the lining, the next step is to fill the planter with soil. As noted, you can add well-seasoned compost or slow release fertilizer. Either one of these will provide food for your plants, which will make caring for this planter easier.
Regardless of what you add to your soil, the next step is to fill the planter with soil. Make sure to push down on the soil or gently tap the planter so that air bubbles are released and the soil is settled.
After you planter has been filled with soil, you are ready to plant. This is done by first cutting an “x” in the landscape cloth covering each hole. Once that is done, peel back the “x” and plant. Close the “x” and repeat with remaining holes.
Strawberry Tower II
This strawberry tower does require land to be used.
To begin this process one will need to get a few supplies, which include a drill, a 2 ½” hole bit, 6 foot of schedule 40 PVC pipe that is 4” in diameter, optional paint, soil, sandpaper, and shovel.
Once you have your supplies, the process is easy. First you will need to mark to areas. This includes drawing a line that is one foot from what will be the bottom. Why is this? Well, to secure the pipe one will need to put a foot of it in the ground. The other area that you will need to mark is where your holes will be located. In this plan, your holes will need to be 12 inches apart and in a staggered pattern.
After you have these areas marked, you will need to cut out the holes, sand as needed and paint if you desire. Now, decide where you would like to place your strawberry tower II. Mark this area and dig a hole. The hole will need to be slightly deeper than a foot. This is a very important step because this is what is going to keep your strawberry tower upright so take your time with this step.
Test your hole out and if it is deep enough, place your strawberry tower in the hole. Fill in the hole and pack down the soil around the pipe. At this point you can begin to fill the tower with soil but do not fill it up all at one time. It is better to plant every your soil level reaches a hole. Continue with this process until you have all the holes filled. The last area that will need to be planted is the top.
Watering this type of strawberry tower can be a challenge but the key is to take your time and allow the tower to be watered with a trickle verses a full flow.