Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Strawberry Wall

A few weeks ago, I saw an email on the Seattle farm co-op listserv about buying strawberry starts in bulk from Rain Tree Nursery, for great prices.  Before I stopped to think about space requirements, I had purchased 125 strawberry plants for $30.  A great deal, right?  But where to put all of these babies?  I love, love, love strawberries, and I can't think of many better uses of garden space than a gigantic strawberry patch.  However, 125 strawberry plans require a space of roughly 20' x 20', which is more space than want to devote just to strawberries.  Plus, the dogs have completely decimated last year's strawberry patch in their quest to rid our yard of moles and voles, and the idea of getting the plants off the ground was enticing to me.  I did a bit of research and found some cool vertical ideas for strawberries. 

First,  these amazing Plants on Walls containers, made out of some kind of beautiful magical fabric called "florafelt." While beautiful, these are quite expensive at $50/ panel (and I would need many of them). 

Next, I found some simple PVC with holes drilled, planted in strawberries, which I think look great, but I do worry about chemical leaching with PVC so I avoided this solution also. 

From an LA Times photo gallery
Another idea would be to build wood panels into our fence.  I think this panel system is beautiful, and it would be so great to have an actual living fence- but I wanted to be able to experiment, and I wanted something a little less permanent than an actual fence. 

A beautiful plan for a living fence, which you can purchase from Innovative Landscapes in Everett.  

Finally, I came across a Youtube video from Our Edible Suburb about repurposing canvas shoe hangers (the type you hang over the door) to plant stawberries.  Brilliant! 

We ordered six canvas shoe holders from Amazon for about $8 each, and got to work installing them (you could probably thrift some for a bit cheaper, but I had a specific timeline and didn't want to spend time looking for six).  

Here's what it looked like empty

Adding soil

Chad adding soil

After the shoe holder was filled with soil, we filled each pod with a strawberry plant and some additional soil, then watered everything in. 
Each plant has its own pod. 

Hanging on the fence

All in all, the project took about two hours.  We still need to come up with an irrigation system if we don't want to handwater all the time, and I need to mulch them with straw or compost or something similar.  My hope is that this will be, in time, a beautiful wall of cascading strawberry plants and big, fat, ripe berries.


Unknown said...

This is a great idea and I love the repurposing component. I don't know about you but I've tried a couple arrangements for strawberries and would love to do a living wall, but birds will have all my strawberries before I do. Do you have the same issue and how will you protect the wall and keep it's living wall appeal.

Unknown said...

Would love to hear/see how this worked out--do you have any updates/photos to share?