Thursday, April 16, 2009

Strawberry tower-one year later

Remember this?

We have a steep front yard and Clarence used a three-week layoff last spring to terrace it so we could increase our garden space. He built this strawberry tower as part of that project. The plans came from the book Classic Garden Structures : 18 Elegant Projects to Enhance Your Garden by Jan and Michael Gertley.

We filled it with two varieties of strawberries and watched them take off. I dutifully picked off the blooms so the plants could get well established.

One of the varieties we planted was an everbearing type so we got just a few berries in August.

We debated what to do to winterize it and ultimately never came up with a workable plan.

So, there it sat all winter. I went outside several weeks ago and snapped this shot of it in all its brown, shrivelly glory. Clarence and I talked about perhaps having to plant the strawberries as annuals in this, or using it to grow something else.

Since today is beautiful (65ยบ! Yippee!), I took my camera with me and went to take a look.

Mostly, it still looks just like the picture above. With new, volunteer strawberries growing on the ground all around it. Sigh.

Closer inspection paid off, though.

Can you see it? That new bit of green starting to grow at the base of the plant?

This is in one of the lowest levels of the tower so I'm not convinced that many of the plants survived the winter. I'll keep checking over the next few weeks, though, and see what happens.

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  1. This is a great idea. Chelsea wants strawberries but we don't have lots of sun except in the front yard. This would actually look kind of cool somewhere.

  2. What a cool tower! I have never seen one before! So neat!

  3. my the neatest thing ever...on top of being practicle its really pretty! I'm going to share this idea with my son in law..he's trying his FIRST garden this the city...that would be great for him..

  4. I thought strawberries were perennial. Would it have worked to wrap the tower in plastic?

  5. We have a tower my brother-in-law built as a gift.
    We spent $25 on bags of soil, manure and compost to fill it.
    Another $12 went for weeping hose to water it.
    A further $25 was spent on a flat of strawberry plants to fill it.
    It yielded one box of berries that summer.
    By the next spring, half of the soil had washed out the bottom and the plants were killed by frost.
    Neat idea, but it sits empty and I haven't figured out a workable solution!

  6. I built a tower for my wife for mothers day this year. I built the bottom with 3/4" plywood and I added casters. I also cut drain holes and fiberglassed this bottom plywood. Before dirt was added I put 2" on gravel in the bottom so dirt would not drain thru the drain holes (i covered these holes with 1/4" hardware cloth. A cedar skirt hides the casters. We rolled it on the patio. all 50 plants did great this year and I am planning on rolling it into the garage for winter.

  7. Anonymous,

    You've thought of some great solutions! I'd love to hear how your plants do next year, after wintering in the garage.

    I especially love that you have the ability to move it for more sun, if necessary. We had distinct differences in how things grew on each side. You could really tell which sides got the best light.

    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!


  8. I'm so glad you posted this picture. I would never have been able to describe it accurately to my sister! We were trying to figure out ways to create more gardening space for a small yard. I think this would make an amazing Herb and Salad Tower.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me!