This is a 20 minutes "do it yourself" and in no time at all have lush healthy strawberries. March and April are ideal for planting so get started now! :)
$8 -4 or more cinder blocks
$4 -Potting mix, or well draining rich soil
$4 -10 strawberry seedlings, or more if you make yours larger
Approximate total cost
PS- Sorry about the pictures. I took pictures for this project, but they were erased, so I used mostly generic pictures. The one of the planter is my actual cinder block planter though.
Step 1: Pick a Location, Lay the Bricks
Strawberries need full sun,meaning at least 8 hours a day. So pick an area that doesn't get shaded by a tree, fence, other garden vegetables etc. Also, strawberries come back each year, so pick an area that won't be walked or or disturbed all year around. Next spring the strawberries will com up on their own!! :)
Lay your bricks out, in any pattern you choose, with the open sides up as shown. If you have 10 plants and 4 bricks the pattern i chose works well. I really would have liked to make the strawberry bed larger, and in the case that you do, try to make a more interesting pattern or something fun.
Try laying the bricks as neatly as possible to avoid making pockets between them. If your setup really will be there for years go ahead and mortar it if you like. At some point all the cracks will fill with dirt and weeds may grow, but if you lay them carefully or mortar them together it will definitely help. Perhaps even weed block fabric under them whole planter would help, but I am not because I want the roots to be able to penetrate and the soil to drain well.
Step 2: Add Dirt, Plant Strawberries
This is fairly straight forward. Fill the holes of the cinder blocks all the way with your planting mix. Then water it and the soil level will go down a little. Plant your seedlings, 1 per hole or 2 in the long center hole.
The picture below is my planter complete with seedlings even. They were a different type type that came in a bag and you bury the entire thing, however if you got your strawberries in the little 6 packs like most people do, of course the greens will still be showing.
After planting your strawberries gently water them, avoiding exposing the roots.
Step 3: Fertalize, Water, Care For
If you used potting mix your soil is already pre-fertilized, if you mixed you own soil fertilize with 10-10-10 about 3 days after transplanting, and water it into the soil.
Fertilize after harvest so depending on the type of strawberry you chose and you geographic location, once or a couple times a year. Do not over fertilize!
Water weekly probably in spring and early summer, but a little heavier for the first 2 weeks after transplanting. As the weather warms up water as needed. You are trying to keep the soil moist about 1/2 deep and below, but never soggy and wet. Don't over water and kill your roots.
To protect against winter and spring frost you can lay a blanket or sheet over the plant area. Another solution is laying straw over them. A layer 4 inch thick will work for temperatures well below zero.
Step 4: Updated With Pictures
This is just a placeholder. I planted on March 16, 2010 and will update with pictures as the greens appear and of course when i get strawberries.