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Looking for creative ways to grow strawberries, possibly vertically? — The Grow Network Community
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Looking for creative ways to grow strawberries, possibly vertically?

Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

I have limited garden space and would love to have an area dedicated to strawberries. I checked on pinterest and similar sites, but it looks to me like all the creative ideas they show look like the kind of thing you set up for a photo and then it all dries out and dies. I may just buy more strawberry pots to put around the backyard. But if anyone has done something fantastic and it really worked and saved you space, please share!


  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    @Lisa K Great idea, thank you!

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    That gave me an idea! I have a 16 foot cattle panel bent between two raised beds. Maybe I can hang planters from it and stack them so they each drain into the pot below them. That would be amazing. 🤔

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 1,583 admin

    Try Louise Riottie's Strawberry barrel design. Lot of people have riffed on it, designing various strawberry towers. But, hers was just a big old whiskey barrel, filled with soil - holes drilled in it - so strawberries could grow on all sides and the top. It was big enough to hold enough mulch and soil so it wouldn't dry out easily. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/build-a-strawberry-barrel-zmaz96jjzgoe

    But, a cheaper idea that would probably work even better would be a bill Mollison Herb Spiral. Just build it and plant strawberries instead of herbs. You wouldn't be able to turn it to face all sides tot he sun, but I doubt that will matter too much. Here is an article on herb spirals... but that one is a little pitiful in my opinion - I'd go taller and steeper to maximize use of space https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/herbs/herb-spiral-zm0z11zhun

  • gennywugennywu Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    I use strawberries as groundcover along walkways in my garden. I mainly use alpine strawberries, as they do well in some shade and are small enough to look ornamental. I grow fruit trees in pots and also use the strawberries as groundcover under these trees. Although I never have a large harvest, I enjoy the small reward of popping a few in my mouth every time I walk through my garden.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 582 ✭✭✭✭

    If you do wish to grow vertically in pots, from my experience it's not really worth it because you have to keep picking off the runners because there is so little soil for them to adhere to. And if they don't adhere, they don't generate a new plant thus very little chance of harvest from that branch. So yes, I always figured those pictures were a once and done thing. Meaning they snapped the picture during the first harvest and then they never get a decent harvest again. After the first one, if you put in an everbearing variety you will get a few berries occasionally but never another good batch again.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 629 admin

    I toured Lynn Gillespie's greenhouses in January, and she has a really interesting hanging strawberry planter design that keeps the bugs out, takes advantage of vertical space, keeps the strawberries off the dirt, etc. I totally want to copy her idea! I believe she talks about the design (and everything else she does to grow awesome, abundant strawberries) in her strawberry-growing class. Here's the link: https://thelivingfarm.org/high-performance-strawberry-course/ (You can actually see the big hanging pipes filled with strawberry plants behind her in the screenshot of the video on this page.)

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,410 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 26

    Hi @Megan Venturella Am about to head out the door to go to work, & for once (unlike all the other times here), can not now find my photo(s) of what I have here at home.

    The story behind this: Often when I really either Need... or Want something I will pray... for it, & within an hour, or sometimes years later, it will Appear . So a few years ago, I wanted to make an Herb-spiral, & some other related projects, but as usual for me I have neither the Time nor the $$ to get something, so I did my usual = prayed, earnestly... & since I remain basically a little kid, I fully expect my wish to be granted. 🤩 - Sure enough, within that same hour, I saw a disheveled (probably homeless ) man walking down our street pulling a big cart, on top of which he had the half-rounded METAL-FRAME of something like https://foter.com/futon-chairs . Immediately I realized this was the answer, so I asked him what he was planning on doing with all that stuff' ? - and I kid you not, THIS is what he said :

    He said "Well, I collect things, & then something will tell me that someone may have use for something, so I go down streets not knowing who or what" - I said, Well, this frame here is just what I need for yet another Garden-project, may I have it?, and he said "for $4 dollars, sure". - So I paid him $10, & he said "Thank you, you're an angel" - and I said "Thank you, but in this case, Actually you are the angel 🤗"

    So I lined this 4 foot rounded frame with Landscape cloth we have lots of, & next MOSS (that we have by the tons around here), and then our blessed compost, & planted all kinds of goodies, including luscious Strawberries in it. And it's been sitting in the middle of where our Food-forest is supposed to be. - And the Strawberries are out of this world 🤩 Heavenly...

    Maybe you could try this earnest Praying - you never know what might show UP 🤩

    Have yourself a wonderful day !

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,410 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Then I modified it, with 4 long corners unto which to hang East, & South, & West, & north planters...

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 166 ✭✭✭

    @Megan Venturella I have grown strawberries in a strawberry pot. Like the tomato hangers there are some for strawberries too. I have found that strawberries do not have to hug the ground.

    I live where the strawberries frequently bloom while we are having frost or they make the berries in the middle of frost season. Someone told me to take a large quart sprayer and add water to the container and then add 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water.

    People ask me what it does and it adds an extra molecule of oxygen to the water. It not only raises the strawberry plants off the ground but the berries are much larger. I spray blossoms or the fruit during every morning we have frost. I have been doing this for more than 5 years.

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 166 ✭✭✭

    I am wanting to try vertical gardening this year does anyone have any hints or tips? What is the best way to water? My son doesn't want me bending over to take care of a raised bed garden. I have bad knees and a partial hip replacement too. Does anyone have ideas? Thanks!

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 267 ✭✭✭

    @Megan Venturella and @Dianne Petersen I've done vertical garden with strawberries currently don't have pictures but there are two ways one is a pallet backed with cloth and filled with dirt and the strawberries planted in between the slats, the other one is in gutters on stands a drip irrigation system would be best for that set up.

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 166 ✭✭✭

    @nksunshine27 What great ideas you have. Thank you so much. I really thought my son had such a novel idea for me to do a vertical garden. I went to Google and there were many ideas for a vertical garden.

  • HeidiHeidi Posts: 30 ✭✭✭

    I have used half whiskey barrels in the past with a wire trellis in it. They grew great.

  • coach.janet.boltoncoach.janet.bolton Posts: 6 ✭✭✭

    Have you considered purchasing a Garden Tower, gardentowerproject.com? I use them for all my gardening due to physical limitations, but they're perfect for small spaces. You can grow 50+ plants in 4 sqft, it rotates for easy access, and it has a large tube running down the center to compost and raise red wiggler worms. The bottom of the tube is covered by a grill that holds the compost in place while letting the worm excrement (Black Gold) and excess water filter into a drawer. This makes it easy to pour this awesome fertilizer over your plants. The Tower is a water saver, too.

    Tip: Once a year they have a drawing to win a Garden Tower. If you aren't a winner you will receive a coupon ($100 in the past) off the purchase of one.

    It's recommended to dedicate a tower to just strawberries as they tend to take over the tower.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 377 ✭✭✭✭

    I have done the pallet idea that @nksunshine27 mentions and it worked well. I also let the native alpine strawberries grow as ground cover over most of my garden but I only get maybe 5 or less berries every year that I let the birds have. And I let some other strawberries I had in containers hanging over a porch rail start to trail and weave between the wire fence. I also never get strawberries from the “trailing/climbing” daughters. And after a couple of years with the daughters still attached the mothers stopped producing.

    I took a berry production class and learned that the runners or daughter plants will not produce berries in most cases and just take energy from the mother plant so it is better to cut off the runners and let mama do her thing.

    This year I’m planting a whole new crop in my asparagus bed and I won’t be letting any trailing bits continue. I am hoping this companion planting option will be productive and save space.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 377 ✭✭✭✭

    @Dianne Petersen Pinterest also has a million vertical garden ideas! Have you considered building your current raised beds up more and creating a bed tall enough that you could sit on the edge and garden? My husband built me what I call a “true” raised bed that allows me to stand while gardening. He cut a rain barrel lengthwise and built a frame to set it on at a comfortable height for me, then drilled drainage holes and we filled in up with raised bed soil and veggies. I rotate these like any bed. And we put a window on it so I can have a little cold frame to get my seeds started early.

  • drpclarkedrpclarke Posts: 54 ✭✭✭

    One thing that you can do is go with hanging baskets. You could place 3 or 4 plants in a 12 inch basket.

  • Sandy ForestSandy Forest Posts: 24 ✭✭✭

    You mentioned your backyard. Can you dig in it? We wanted to experiment with a small hugelpile and learned a few things about our garden site. It sits over a high gtround water table. We hit water about 2 feet down! Tthis was in the Fall. In an "Oh, well!" mood, I kept digging until my hole was around 3 1/2 feet n diameter and tossed in a few partialy decayed log rejects from the woodpile, fiting as many into the bottom as I could, tossing on some soil and piling up layers until it was about 3 feet high above ground and topping it off with the remaining soil, leaves and straw. I made an effort to remove as many weeds and grass roots as possible. Winter hit, and in the Spring the pile slowly emerged from snow. It was a little lower in height and had a few patches where the logs were exposed. I piled a little more soil on it and planted Quinault everbearing strawberry crowns in it, roughly 18 inches apart around all sides. The plants grew well . I had read that I should pick of blossoms for the first year. A few snuck by me and fruited, and I didn't have the heart to pick the baby berries off. Really delicious handful the first year. second year the pile had shrunk a little more, but the plants had taken hold well and I harvested lots of fat, sweet berries all summer and farther into Fall than I thought was possible. I laid on some compost. By the third Spring the pile was about 1 foot high at the center, still producing well. That Fall the chickens got loose and scratched it up, rremoving quite a few slugs (they were young and excited about any bug, are more picky in their old age) and were tearing things u a bit too much. I laid a scrap of 2"x4" fencing over it, which keeps the girls off, fairly well, but also seems to affect growth. I tried thinning out the older plants and kept composting. The fourth year, performance was not as good, possibly because it was a wet, cloudy year. I decided to let the pile rest for that year. We will open it up this Spring and see what it is ready for. I like the ideas that are coming n to answere your queation, and think I too will try the hanging baskets in spots that remain wet lat into our season, which is brief. For us, though, because we get periods of strong, gusty wind, I am going to have to figure out how to keep the baskets from inverting or flying off all together. It would solve the slug problem, though! SandyForest

  • sallyhowardsallyhoward AustraliaPosts: 107 ✭✭✭

    These ideas are great. I am planning to plant strawberries as a ground cover, companion plant with some blueberries in a raised garden bed very soon

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 166 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy Thanks for the great ideas. We had to sell our house and I am now living in an apartment with very narrow beds. I know that if I attempted to grow anything here at the apartment it would get eaten as soon as it got ripe. My son's place is not far away and the plants and the produce won't get stolen. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  • Megan VenturellaMegan Venturella Posts: 226 ✭✭✭

    Thank you so much for all the great suggestions!!! I wasn't able to log in for a couple weeks and it was so great to come back to so many answers! I'm considering hanging baskets from my cattle panel, but I also like the idea of using a pallet and lining it with landscaping fabric. I've done it once before, but it hadn't occurred to me to prop it upright. That would really be using my space well! I'm trying to figure out the right spot for it. I thought I could plant the strawberries at the top and midway down and plant what's in between with lettuce. Then as the runners grow, the lettuce will finish up and I can have a spot for the daughter plants and maybe take out the originals after a few years. I'll be sure to take pictures and post it if it works well. 😊

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