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
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
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
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
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
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
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.