Introduction: Simple Vertical Strawberry Planter

I have had great success with those hanging strawberry planters, but they only last 1 or 2 years. I've also had success stacking the pottery strawberry planters. After remodelling my home lab I had some bamboo interlocking flooring pieces left over, so I came up with the "MORE HORSEPOWER, HEH, HEH, HEH" answer; a 4' x 4' x 1' strawberry planter.

I made it out of bamboo planks, redwood 1" x 1" posts, weed control fabric, gorilla glue, self tapping screws, hammer, staple gun, electric drill / driver, and air nailer. As you will see the air nailer was marginal.

Step 1: Get Your Wood and Cut It to Length.

I used bamboo planks and redwood 1" x 1" posts.

I took it all to MakerPlace to use their very nice wood saws. I began by cutting the bamboo side planks to just under 1' (making sure to cut them all to the same length and minimizing waste). I choose to make 16 side pieces and 14 length pieces.

From here we need to cut the posts to length to match.

Need 4 vertical posts for the exterior. I choose to make them 4' long (the length of the long planks).

Next I went for the brace pieces that fit between the vertical posts. 4 long side pieces and 4 short side pieces. The long side pieces want to be the length on the long plank minus the width of two of the posts, it is OK to make it a little longer than this so that the planks do not interfere with each other. The short side pieces want to be the length on the short plank minus the width of two of the posts, it is OK to make it a little longer than this so that the planks do not interfere with each other.

Next is the base of planter. This consists of long pieces that help form the base and 3 short pieces that are used to lift the planter off the ground. The long pieces want to be the same length as the long planks, it is OK to make it a little longer than this so that the planks do not interfere with each other. For my 1' planter I needed 6 in addition the two bottom long braces. I layed them out as I cut them and measure them against the short side pieces to make sure I had enough for the base. Next I used put all the planks together and measured and cut 3 short pieces to make a screw the base into keeping it off the ground.

As I don't have a truck I put all the piece back into my car and assembled it at my house.

Step 2: Assemble the Base

I used self-starting / self tapping screws. If you are going to use regular screws you will need to drill pilot holes before screwing boards together or they will split.

Apply glue between redwood base pieces (in my case 6). If you have warped pieces make sure that you alternate which direction they are warped. Then start by aligning at one end and use enough screws and clamps to un-bend the warps, and working to the other end.

Get two of the long brace pieces and glue and screw them to the outside base after aligning them with a short piece.

Glue and screw the three lift pieces to the bottom of base.

Drill a bunch of drain holes through the base.

Step 3: Cut the Weed Fabric to Cover Base and Staple It to Base.

I cut the fabric a little bit larger.

Step 4: Glue and Screw the Braces Into the Base and Each Other

Have a friend help you. I think the pictures describe it better than anything I can think of here.

Step 5: Wrap and Staple Weed Cloth Around Braces.

It is a lot easier with a friend to help you.

Step 6: Begin Applying Planks

It is very import that you have planks all the way around top and bottom to hold the soil in. After that have some spacing between the planks. It looks best if the spacing is even so I uses planks to measure the distance between the planks.

Glue and screw the planks in. I also tried using an air nailer for speed and found that the bamboo planks were and redwood were a bit tougher than my finishing nailer ...

Step 7: Move Planter Into Place and Add Gravel to Bottom.

It is now kind of heavy so I used a furniture dolly to move it into place.
I then filled the bottom with broken up ceramic strawberry planters I had.  You want to fill the bottom with some drainage material or the strawberry roots will eventually fill all the drain holes.  Then it won't properly drain and may start rotting the roots.

Step 8: Fill With Dirt and Plant Strawberries

This planter takes approximately 18 cubic feet of dirt to fill (4' x 4' x1' = 16 cubic feet, round to 18 cubic feet). This required two trips to pick up soil in my electric car (which I also built at my house).

Pour the soil into the planter. If you tear any holes in the weed fabric, or want to cover up from a plant you removed, no problem, just insert some more fabric inside the slats and you are good to go.

Test drainage.

Cut holes and insert strawberry plants.

Water with a transplant fertilizer.

Add to watering system (I use a drip system so I added 2 drip sprinkles and that seems to full water the planter).

Wait impatiently for strawberries.

Comments

author
landru (author)2014-03-13

I like this... we could not enjoy our strawberries last year because the squirrels ate them all before we could pick them... I am thinking this may be easier to squirrel-proof than a planter box/raised bed approach... thanks for the idea!

author
PZ456 (author)landru2015-01-09

I plan to put this on my deck so "squirrel-proofing" it won't be a problem; I'll just put the dog out there. She hates the squirrels. ;) And that's the beauty of this project. You can mount it or put it where you want. Have you thought of putting heavy casters on the bottom for moving it? I don't get much sun on the deck until in the afternoon so moving it around will be a plus. Great Instructable by the way.

author
ecobra (author)landru2014-03-13

Trying to squirrel proof. Wow that would be a challenge.

I know I couldn't racoon proof my goldfish pond. After the third time I emptied the pond; I had effectively built a chicken coop with buried horizontal posts that the chicken wire was attached to.

author
landru (author)ecobra2014-03-13

something I've seen work on a birdfeeder is a sort of inverted funnel with the pole (that the birdfeeder sits atop) going through it. Maybe mount the strawberry rack up on poles with an inverted v trough thingy (like a thin metal sheet partly folded lengthwise) under it that the poles would go through (without leaving enough clearance for a squirrel)... & a ladder for watering & harvesting? hmmm, getting a little Rube Goldberg-ish now... !@$% squirrels

author
ecobra (author)landru2014-03-13

It would be pretty easy to use much longer vertical brace polls which would make it effectively on stilts.

I was thinking an automatic watering system like the drip system (that is what I use). You would need to route the watering tubes through the squirrel proofing (so that the squirrel couldn't crawl along the tube).

Then you only need to use a ladder to harvest...

author
Laura P (author)2014-03-20

Great idea. Think I'll give my own prototype a try this spring.

....but I fill with soil. Dirt is something I sweep up off the floor.;-)

author
ecobra (author)Laura P2014-03-21

Thank you. Having spend some time working on working farms anything that has to be dug, moved, or lifted is dirt. When I have more strawberries than I can eat, maybe then it will become soil :)

author
rocklocker (author)2014-03-16

Great idea but your math is a little off. A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet not 18 cubic feet. 3 cubic feet X 3 cubic feet X 3 cubic feet = 27 cubic feet.

author
ecobra (author)rocklocker2014-03-16

That's what I get for trying to get it all typed in before going for a morning bike ride. Thanks, it is now corrected.

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Bio: Computer scientist turned race car driver turned mad scientist. Living an amazing adventure, less money, more fun.
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