Strawberry barrels once graced the front of many a porch, but with the decline in use of wooden steel-bound barrels, they became less of a fixture. Growing strawberries in barrels allows you to have up to 20 plants in the same space that one or two strawberry plants would fit if planted in the ground. They also have the advantage of keeping fruit off the ground, safe from mould and mildew.
Cut the top out of the barrel with the jigsaw. Use the hole saw to cut four evenly spaced drainage holes of 1-inch diameter into the bottom of the barrel.
Measure up 8 inches from the bottom of the barrel and cut 2-inch holes with the hole saw around the barrel sides, 8 inches apart. Measure up another 8 inches and cut in another row of holes spaced 8 inches apart. Repeat until the sides of barrel has holes all the way up, stopping around 3 inches from the top.
Cut the PVC pipe or plumbing pipe to the height of the barrel with the jigsaw, then use the hole punch to make evenly spaced holes all over the pipe, around 2 inches apart.
Line the bottom of the barrel with 3 inches of gravel. Insert the pipe into the centre of the barrel and fit it into the gravel so that it stands upright.
Spread 4 inches of potting soil over the gravel, then gently spread the roots of the strawberry plants and put one plant into each hole on the first row of holes. Cover the roots with soil and fill the barrel up to an inch under the next row, then plant strawberry plants in that row and continue up the barrel in the same way until all the holes have a plant in them.
Plant three or four more strawberry plants on the top of the barrel. Fill the pipe in the centre of the barrel with coarse sand, then water the newly planted strawberries through the pipe. Water will be distributed to all the plants along the barrel through the holes in the pipe.
Things you need
- 22- or 55-gallon wooden barrel
- Hole saw
- 4-inch diameter PVC pipe or metal plumbing pipe
- Hole punch
- Potting soil
- Coarse sand