I just finished reading Julie Bawden-Davis’ book, The Strawberry Story: How to grow great berries in the Northeast and now all I want to do is plant more strawberries! You may feel that way too after you see this fabulous three-tier strawberry tower she made out of some beautiful glazed pots. I’m going to tackle this project this weekend myself, it’s so simple and yet it makes a great showpiece in the garden. Over to Julie for the DIY…
How to Plant a Strawberry Tower
project by Julie Bawden-Davis; photos by Jeremy Davis
Besides their delicious taste, strawberry plants and their fruit are so pretty. In addition to making a great topping for your shortcake, the berries can be used as eye-catching garden focal points. One way to take advantage of the plant’s good looks is to create a strawberry tower.
Consisting of planted stacked pots, a strawberry tower allows you to show off strawberry plants. You can stack as many pots as you like, but three or four is generally best, as more tends to become unwieldy.
For easy stacking and planting, choose strawberry pots of graduated sizes. Each pot should be approximately 25 percent larger than the next, so that when you stack them you have room to plant around the edges. Each pot must also have at least one drainage hole. Buy enough strawberry plants to plant around the edge of the pots at 4 inches apart and to fill in the top pot. How many plants you require will depend on the size of the pots you choose. For maximum quick visual effect, include some plants that have ripe berries.
Add the recommended amount of a starter fertilizer into a high-quality potting mix that is rich and well-draining. Prior to planting, add water to the soil and mix with your hands until it is moist but not soggy. This gets moisture to the roots as soon as you plant and prevents the soil from sinking and exposing roots after planting. Line the drainage hole of the bottom pot with screen or wallboard tape, which will prevent the soil from leaking out when you water.
Add soil to the bottom pot until it is ¼ inch below the rim of the pot. Put the second pot on top of the soil and turn it back and forth until it is settled. For added stability, push a metal rod or pipe through the drainage hole of the second pot down to the bottom of the first pot. In terms of length, use a pipe or rod that will be covered by the last pot once it is added, so that the rod doesn’t show through the top.
Plant strawberries around the edge of the bottom pot. To do so, shake off excess soil on the plant roots, scoop out a hole in the side of the pot with your hand, and fit the plant into the hole. Add soil until you just cover the roots. Tamp down gently but firmly to secure the plant in the pot.
Fill the second pot with soil to within ¼ inch of the rim of the pot and thread the top pot through the metal rod, working it into the soil. Plant around the edge of the second pot as you did with the first.
For best fruiting, place the tower in a location that receives six to eight hours of sun a day. Water regularly to keep the plants moist but not soggy, and feed monthly with an organic fertilizer designed for fruiting and flowering plants. Harvest strawberries when they are at their peak of ripeness, and enjoy!
Thanks so much to Julie for sharing this. Grab a copy of her book, The Strawberry Story: How to grow great berries in the Northeast for everything you ever wanted to know about growing strawberries.
This definitive guide to growing sweet, juicy strawberries reveals the secrets to a prolific berry harvest every year. Learn about the best strawberry varieties for the Northeast climate and even how to extend the strawberry season into fall. Chock full of up-to-date information, including organic growing principles, this book reveals how to get your strawberry patch to thrive season after season. Soil preparation, planting and maintenance are included, as well as an entire chapter on eco-friendly, non-toxic treatments for pests and diseases. The 94-page book includes photos, illustrations, resources and recipes to enjoy the fruits of your labor.