DIY, Vertical Gardening

How to Build a Vertical Strawberry Planter

A vertical strawberry planter is a great solution for those who don’t have much place in their homes. This is your opportunity to have all those fresh, tasty strawberries to eal, all made in your own home.

Don’t let the fact you own a small garden discourage you from growing your own strawberries. Under the right condition, strawberries will thrive even within a very small area.

This is one of the reasons why there are so many strawberry planter tutorials. There are many ways to make your strawberries grow in a limited space, and you can make most of these planters all by yourself and at a very affordable price.

A Handy Planter

A vertical strawberry planter is a very handy device you can use in your home. It’s ideal for those who don’t have much excess space and who need a reliable method for growing their strawberries.

The best thing about this planter is that it’s very easy to build and it doesn’t cost too much. It uses a simple PVC pipe to grow strawberries, so even beginners can build it without any problems.

You can find vertical planters like this one sold commercially in major garden retailers. If you have some money to spend, you can buy one from the store. However, a vertical planter is something you can easily build on your own, so it’s a handy garden project you can use to save some money. The most important of all: a homemade vertical planter is in no way inferior to a commercial one.

Tools and Materials

To build a vertical strawberry planter, you will need:

  • A length of PVC downpipe. The length will equal the height of your planter. Make sure that the pipe has 4-6 inches (100mm or 150mm) diameter.
  • A narrow diameter length of downpipe (you will use it for watering). It should be about 15mm in diameter. Make sure that this pipe is 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) longer than the main pipe. In case you want to use a pressurized irrigation system, you may use the length of the soak hose instead of this length.
  • End cap (for the main pipe).
  • An electric drill with a hole cutting bit. You will need it to cut a 2-2.75 inches (5 to 7 cm) hole in the planter.
  • A 0.08-0.1 inch (2-3mm) drillbit (for the watering pipe).
  • Geotextile or hessian. You will use it to wrap the watering pipe.
  • Twine. You will need it to tie the fabric to the watering tube.
  • A knife
  • A cork
  • Duct tape
  • Large box or tube. You will use it to stabilize the unit during filling.
  • Fixing ties or collar.

Planting Material:

  • Strawberry plants. It’s best to use a mixture of several different varieties, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Rich, fertile soil. Ideally it should be slightly acidic – this is what strawberries like the best.
  • Coarse gravel.
  • A few companion plants. Marigolds and nasturtiums seem to work the best. They will make your strawberries go stronger and healthier.

Strawberries

Instructions

To build your vertical strawberry planter, follow these instructions:

Cut the tubes. The first thing you need to do is to cut the main tube and the watering tube to the lengths you need. Decide on the length of the main tube you want and make sure to cut the watering tube 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) longer. Consider where you want to position your planter so maybe make it match the height of the structure (such as staircase, etc.) where you want to position your planter.

Drill the watering tube. The next step is to drill vent holes in your watering tube. Keep in mind to only drill them in the 2/3 top of the tube because the water will run down to the plants in the bottom. In case you drill the holes all the way down to the bottom, the plants won’t get enough water because it will rush out down to the lower holes. If you really wish to drill some holes near the bottom, limit yourself to one hole so it won’t go anaerobic down there.

Secure the watering tube. To complete your watering tube, use the geotextile (or hessian) to cover the holes in the watering pipe. It’s important to do this because you don’t want roots to grow there and clog it up. After this, use a knife to whittle down the cork so it fits the end of the watering tube. Seal it off with duct tape so it won’t come apart while you assemble the unit or plant your strawberries.

Cut the holes in the tower. Now it’s time to prepare your main tube. Cut the holes in it and make sure to do it only on sides that will get sunlight. Don’t make holes in the side that will face the wall. An easy way to go is to make several rows of holes about 7-8 inches (around 20 cm) apart. Make sure to leave the bottom 8 inches (20cm) intact. Don’t make holes there – this will serve as a reservoir for the lower level plants.

Position your planter. Your planter is now ready to be filled. Position it on the place you want (near a wall, staircase, etc.) It’s best to put it in a corner because this will make the tube less likely to fall over. Place the end cap over the base of the tube. You can seal it if you like but in this case it would be more difficult to dissemble the unit to make modifications later. Insert the watering tube and fill the bottom 4 inches (10 cm) with coarse gravel.

Planting. This is where the fun begins! It’s best to plant the companion plants in the lowest level. This will make less likely for pests to climb the tube. In case you wish to use stoloniferous varieties of strawberries (those that spread with runners along the surface) you can leave a few gaps in those lower holes. The runners will cascade down over time so you can poke them down in those vacant spaces. When you start filling the soil, make sure to pour the soil from the top. To plant, simply poke the plants in the holes. It’s best to make every 6th plant a companion while the rest should be strawberries.

Caring for Your Planter

  • It’s best to secure your vertical planter with fixings so it won’t move or drop. Make sure to hold the planter with one hand under the end cap if it’s not fixed whenever you want to move it.
  • You need to water your plants regularly (at least once per day) during warmer weather. Keep in mind that vertical units require vigilant watering. You have to be careful – you don’t want your strawberries to dry out!
  • Inspect your planter carefully to notice any potential pests. If you see any pests, locate their paths and smear some orange or citrus oil around the unit at this point. This will prevent pests from entering the planter and attacking your strawberries.

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