Growing strawberries can take up a lot of land, which is sometimes a precious commodity for an urban homesteader. Not only can you do this to bring tasty strawberries into your home, but you can make it a family-centric project. Kids and dirt go hand in hand, and your kids will love this eco-savvy project. Not only is this environmentally friendly; it is also friendly to your back since picking strawberries can take its toll very quickly.
Growing Strawberries Vertically
Visit your local hardware store and purchase a piece of PVC pipe around 4 feet long and 12 in. in diameter, purchase another about 5 feet long and about 2 inches in diameter, along with some weed control fabric. Using a hole saw, cut holes in the 12 in. pipe. You will need the holes to be about 3 inches in diameter, and you want them to be in 3 rows of 4 holes. Using your drill, drill holes along the small pipe every 6 inches, putting about 6 in a circle around the section.
Select a sunny area of your garden, and stand the pipe up onto it’s end. First drive the 2 inch one about 6 inches into the ground, then wrap it in weed control fabric, use rope to secure it. Now set the 12 inch pipe around the small pipe.
Load your pipe full of horse manure which can be bought from a local horse farm or your garden supply center. If buying from a horse farm, be sure you get manure which is free of chemicals from horses which have recently been medicated for any reason, you don’t want the chemicals in your garden and your crop will not be organic. If choosing to buy manure at the gardening store just ask if they have a purely organic department.
Once the pipe is full of manure, cover the top with straw or hay to stop weeds from emerging.
Take your punnets of strawberry seedlings and have the kids place one, or even 2 plants per hole in the sides of the pipe. Strawberries don’t mind being crowded and they will grow vigorously. Make sure they are in deep enough to stop the top heavy growth from pulling them out as they become larger. Plant 4 or 5 plants into the top of the pipe.
Be sure to remove the runners from the strawberry plants as they appear, and replant them into a new pipe to increase your next season crop.
After 2 – 3 weeks your strawberry plants will be cascading magnificently down the sides of the pipe, covering it completely. Just take a basket when it’s time to harvest and let the kids walk around and pick off the fresh plump fruit. Be quick though, you may not get any!
(You can make the pipe taller with more holes so it’s Mum And Dad friendly too)
These strawberry towers are great for kids when there is a birthday party coming. If your child’s birthday is in the warmer months, plan ahead and grow three or four organic strawberry towers for them. Just give each child a small cane basket you bought at the craft supply shop or discount store and let them pick their own dessert. They can then rinse them well in fresh cool water and then dunk them into a warm bowl of melted chocolate and colorful candy sprinkles.
You could also take it one step further and make a whole strawberry theme party with:
pancakes and berry syrup
strawberry cupcakes instead of one large cake or…
a huge, fresh strawberry ice cream cake.
An Infographic explaining the basics of growing strawberries, with a code to include it on your site for free.