Nearly everyone loves strawberries and since they are borne prolifically on small plants requiring only about one square foot each to grow, nearly everyone -- even apartment dwellers -- probably has the space to plant at least a few of them. The taste of ripe home-grown strawberries fresh from the garden is worth the effort it takes to put together a few simple containers.
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Runner Duck suggests saving garden space by going vertical with a wooden strawberry tree for pyramidal planting. If your woodworking skills are less than stellar you can achieve the same thing using strips of corrugated metal edging designed for flower beds. Fasten strips together to make a circle about 6 feet in diameter on the ground where you will be planting, and fill with soil. Place another circle 4-feet in diameter on top of that and fill as before. Finish with a 2-foot circle. Plant your strawberries around the perimeters of each tier.
For a cottage touch in the garden, convert an old whiskey barrel into a strawberry planter. Mother Earth News demonstrates that beauty and functionality need not be mutually exclusive with this charming, old fashioned strawberry barrel hiding an innovative watering system inside. If you find real oak whiskey barrels in short supply where you live, look for food grade plastic barrels instead, or create a similar but smaller barrel from the ubiquitous five gallon bucket, which are usually available free for the asking from fast food restaurants and delis everywhere.
For a truly different strawberry garden, build a pipe planter. Use a hole saw to cut 2-inch holes along the length of a 4-inch PVC pipe at 12-inch intervals. Fill the pipe with quality compost or potting soil and plant one strawberry seedling in each hole. Cap the ends with fine screening to prevent soil washing out. Hang your tubular planter -- slightly tilted so water runs through from end to end when watering -- on a fence, balcony rail or under the eaves of your house, or anywhere that gets full sun for at least 6 hours each day. Stack pipes one above another to create a living wall of strawberries and save the horizontal space for your other fruits and veggies.
Save money and help the planet by reusing old tires as strawberry planters. Stack them two or more deep before filling with soil and you have instant raised beds to save your back as well. Remove the inner bead or sidewall from the top tire and you should have enough space to put in five or six strawberry plants. If the idea of tires seems too lowbrow, consider painting the tires in bright colours or wrapping them with straight wooden slats, bamboo or sticks tied around the perimeter for camouflage.
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