The Strawberry Tower

butterflyAlthough I love my strawberries in the summer, they do take up a lot of room considering they only crop for about 2 weeks around Wimbledon time. Serves me right I suppose for having 3 beds of them around the garden.

simonthescribe's strawberry tower

simonthescribe’s strawberry tower

I have a variety that I think is called ‘Giganticus Maximus’ or something similar but up on the edge of Bodmin Moor they have never cropped as well as they did on the lower and warmer south coast of Cornwall, in my old ‘protected’ town garden.

So I decided to sacrifice a 12 ft square strawberry bed to a bit of an experiment – a vertical strawberry bed inside my home-made geodesic icosahedron greenhouse (see: www.makeagreenhouse.co.uk/making-growing-dome-2.html )

Here’s a picture of it, the strawberries are just starting to show at the beginning of March. It takes only 2 square feet of ground space and provides a supporting central column for my growing dome.

Basically, order some recycled containers and pots by size so that you can stack them, and make some holes for drainage and for where you are going to poke through the heads of the strawberry plants.

I put small stones and gravel in the bottom of each pot, then filled a piece of drainpipe with sawdust up the centre of the container to act as a water sink. Then put in the soil and layer up the strawberries, making sure that the soil is very firmly tamped down as the bottom ones will have to take a lot of weight. Then remove the drainpipe leaving the central water sink.

Build your tower as high as you safely can, in such a way that the water can cascade down and you can also put a bit of feed into each pot. Allow a space on each where the rim shows.

I put an empty hanging basket at the top of mine to load in water from the top. I am looking forwards to bigger strawberries as a result of the increased warmth of the greenhouse and this should also help keep the blackbirds off them too.

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