Introduction: Strawberry Barrel Beds

Picture of Strawberry Barrel Beds

The local car wash and car dealerships in our area store their empty 55 gallon plastic drums and I was able to get three at no charge. Originally, I was going to arrange them in a circle and build up, but I am pleased with the result of the rectangle shape and think it was probably easier to cover.

Step 1: Materials

Three plastic barrels, 1 jigsaw, Drill with large bit or hole saw, Dirt and compost, Strawberry plants

Step 2: Cut Barrels

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I got these barrels for free from the local car wash. These drums contained washer solution and were very easy to clean up.

Step 3: Drill Drainage Holes

Picture of Drill Drainage Holes

When you cut the barrels in thirds you will end up with a top that had 2 holes with caps, a middle that is an open ring and a solid bottom piece. You will need to drill many holes in the bottom part to allow for drainage. Putting a layer of rocks in the bottom will also help with drainage.

Step 4: Arrange the Barrels

Picture of Arrange the Barrels

I chose 6 barrels on the bottom level placed in two rows of three. The tops of the barrels have two holes which become drain holes when placed on top of the six lower barrels.

Step 5: Fill the Barrel Sections

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Place the lower barrels on an even surface. I started with plain fill dirt and filed each barrel section about three-fourths full. I then added in rabbit and chicken compost that is over a year old. (One of the advantages of having 3 kids in 4H!) I mixed this in well.

Step 6: Place the Second Level

Picture of Place the Second Level

For this step I made sure the drain holes of the top barrels went into the barrels below. You need to make sure there is enough dirt to support both sides of the barrel so it is stable or you can use a board to help support the upper barrels.

I filled these top barrels with same dirt/compost mixture.

Step 7: Optional Cover

Picture of Optional Cover

I used a cattle panel we had and staked it into the ground on both sides to create an arch. The pin wheels were just for fun and a crazy attempt to keep the birds out of my strawberries!

Step 8: Plant

Last step is to plant the strawberries. I have had several people ask if I was planting potatoes which would work, but I would suggest a darker barrel that wouldn't let light get to the potatoes in the dirt.

Comments

I like that it's two levels, it's a great way to save space if you have a tiny backyard in the city, like I do. It seems like space isn't an issue for you though! Do the pinwheels work for keeping birds away? I have used those shiny mylar strips before to keep birds away from fruit trees, do these work the same way?

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-05-29

Looks awesome! I just started trying to grow Strawberries! How many plants did you plant in each barrel?

I planted 3 plants in the top barrels and 2 plants in the bottom. In a couple of the bottom barrels I had plants with runners started so I went one plant and set the runners in place.

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