What to do when you run out of horizontal planting space, or there is no soil to plant in? You go vertical. I saw this online and I decided to make my own it was relatively simple and I had an abundance of 55 gal plastic barrels.
My kids love strawberries and this is a way to densely pack plants into a small space. Since we grow with no chemicals, no pesticides, no man made fertilizer we will let our 2 year old pick and eat right off the plant. It is her favorite thing to do when walking outside. Our sidewalk going to our front door is lined with strawberry plants and the barrel is just off our front porch. When the door opens she bolts to see if there are any red berries ready for picking.
I first take a 55 gal drum and cut off the top below the thicker ring at the top. In this case I purchased them with the tops already removed due to how they were used. Not all drums are the same. Some have thinner walls, and I always get food grade barrels that contained food grade materials.
Next I drill holes at varying levels, and use a jigsaw to cut the openings. The first one I made I used a 1×2 scrap wood and a blowtorch to open up the planting holes. I am in the process of making strawberry barrel V 2.0 and will have more pictures along the way, and list the improvements. I use the torch to heat the plastic to make it more pliable to bend the top of the cuts in, and the bottom out to make the planting hole. I drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Next I fill in the barrel with compost/mulch mix. Plant the berries. This particular design has 45 plants in a 2’ round space. It should produce about 5-10 lbs of strawberry next year. We are getting some this year, but they will be heavier the year after planting.
Look for version 2.0 in the next week. I do sell Version 1 and 2 if anyone is interesting in owning one, but either doesn’t have the time, tools, or resources to make their own. It can be barrel only, barrel molded, barrel molded and filled with compost mix, or the whole picture. Click on the contact us page, or consulting for more details.
You can plant more than just strawberries, but our new rule at our house is if a new plant comes in it has to have a purpose, if not more than one. Either we can eat it, it improves the soil, or attracts beneficial insects. Strawberries are green almost year round, produce fruit, and has taught the 2 year old colors. Well at least red vs green.
This is just after planting day 1
Here is 30 days after planting. The solar panel in the barrel has nothing to do with the plants. It is a solar charger for lights that illuminate our American flag at night, and that was the best place to get sun.