Choosing containers for strawberry growing (RHS)

Read at :

RHS

http://www.rhs.org.uk/thegarden/pubs/garden0101/jan_strawberries_b.asp

Choosing containers

Grow bags are widely used by commercial and home growers for strawberries. Each bag will take around six plants and grow bags previously planted with an unrelated crop can be reused. To help stabilise the microclimate and improve air circulation, position the grow bags on a wooden plank (preferably of treated timber) supported about 1m (3ft) above the ground, fixed to treated posts 7.5cm (3in) in diameter driven 45cm (18in) into the ground, or to a free-standing timber support, plastic crates or concrete blocks. Grow bags can also be placed directly onto upturned crates or boxes. A rail at each end with a 15-cm (6-in) wide, rigid, small-mesh net stretched along each side will support the fruit horizontally, which helps to improve the sugar content. Yields of around 0.5 kg (1 lb) of fruit per plant can be achieved. Continue reading Choosing containers for strawberry growing (RHS)

A special container form : the grow tower (Willem)

Years ago, I visited a colleague in Beijing (Prof. Dr. WANG Tao), who showed me a peculiar way of growing garlic plants on vertical “poles”. In fact, the poles were PVC pipes, about 10-12 cm (4-5 inches) in diameter, in which a series of 4-5 cm (1 ½ to 2 inches) holes were drilled. The holes were spaced randomly around the pipe, about 4-5 cm (1 ½ to 2 inches) apart.

An impressive series of pipes were standing as “grow towers” in a greenhouse, so that in a relatively small space a maximum of plants were kept growing from floor to ceiling. Each pipe was filled with potting soil and the pipes were watered with a sort of drip irrigation system. In every hole of each grow tower a garlic bulb was growing splendidly (flowering towers !).

This brought me to the idea that a smaller number of plants could also be grown on PET bottles. It suffices to cut a number of holes in the wall of the bottle, filled with potting soil, to create a small grow tower (see my first experimental designs) :

Vertical grow tower

Bottle with 3 holes at one side. The same number can be cut at the opposite side. (Click on the picture to enlarge it).

Bottle grow tower

Mini grow tower : holes cut in the bottle wall fashioned with scotch tape.

 

I intend to set up some experiments with similar grow towers next week and I will post the results as soon as possible.

 

Today, I was reading an interesting description of other types of grow tower, made in wood. Here is the text that I found in The Tucson Gardener (2004) :

http://www.tucsongardener.com/Year04/strawberryadventures.htm

The Homemade Strawberry Tower
Y
ou would think by now that I’d be out of new strawberry plants but I wasn’t. I still had about 50 young, healthy plants that needed to find a place in the garden or were destined for the compost bin. I happened to read where someone suggested drilling holes in a whiskey barrel filling the barrel with potting soil and the holes with strawberry plants. That’s when I decided I’d build a grow tower from inexpensive wood just to see what would happen.

Using cedar fence boards and lots of screws I made a four foot tall by about 15 – inch square container. Then I drilled a bunch of evenly spaced inch and a half diameter holes.

I then treated the outside of the wood with a water sealer and moved the whole thing to a place in the vegetable garden where I placed it on four concrete stepping stones to keep it from sitting on the ground. I ran a loop of soaker hose down to the bottom of the four foot tower and hooked it up to the watering system.

Then came the hard part – planting the strawberry plants. I filled the container with a good potting mix and some slow release fertilizer putting plants in the holes as I filled the tower. At the top I added a few more plants. Eventually I had to replace three plants that didn’t make it because I may have planted them too deeply covering the crown.

I had plans to make a removable cage that I could slip over the tower with the beginning of fruit production to fend of birds and rodents but production wasn’t so great that I needed to build the cage. I did construct a simple frame to support shade cloth to help the plants make it through the hot summer.

I must admit I like the looks of my tower but it hasn’t been a big strawberry producer. My biggest fear is it may fall apart sooner than I’d like. I’m hoping it will last for three years. The verdict isn’t yet in. Until then the strawberry tower makes and interesting addition to the vegetable garden.(2004)”

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Looking at all these possibilities to construct “grow towers” from pipes, bottles, barrels, wood etc., I am wondering if some of you would come up with more interesting ideas. I am looking forward to your descriptions and preferably with photos.

What a wonderful world, this container gardening, in particular for people living in the drylands, who can grow vegetables and fruits without needing to install gardens in desertlike soils, saving a lot of water and getting fresh food with minimal efforts !

 

Several methods for strawberry production (Tucson Gardener)

Read at :

The Tucson Gardener

http://www.tucsongardener.com/Year04/strawberryadventures.htm

The Strawberry Adventures

It’s easy to start new strawberry plants from the runners. Each small pot is the beginning of a new plant.

Last year’s impulse purchase of a dozen bare-root strawberry plants and two plastic grow bags turned into an adventure in search of a suitable method to grow strawberries in my garden. The plastic grow bags are long gone but the strawberry plants have multiplied and prospered. Whether it’s worth the few strawberries I picked this past spring is debatable but you can’t say I didn’t try several methods for strawberry production with varying degrees of success. Strawberry plants produce runners which in turn produce a plant at the end and then the new plant may send off another runner and so forth. The plants easily root whether it’s in the soil or small soil filled pots. The simplicity of strawberry plant propagation is what caused my troubles to begin. I rooted just about every plantlet I saw and by the end of last summer (2003) I had dozens and dozens of young strawberry plants. Continue reading Several methods for strawberry production (Tucson Gardener)