Monday, February 7, 2011

And Now, A Word from Strawberries ...

I'm taking a little break from tomatoes here to bring an update from Strawberryville. Last year, I did a few plants in little pots, just to see how it went, and I was pleasantly surprised. So this year, I scaled up a little bit into a stacked planter (I picked one from Agro-Tower). I don't have loads of experience growing strawberries, but I definitely have the desire—homegrown strawberries are so much better than store-bought strawberries, it's like they're barely even the same plant.

Anyway, I planted them in Fafard 3B and I've been watering every other day and feeding weekly with a Fox Farm liquid fertilizer I happened to have laying around. I haven't sprayed or treated them in any way. Taking advice from people much more knowledgeable about strawberries than myself, I picked off all the runners and plucked off brown leaves. I rotate the whole tower every morning so all sides get even distribution of sun.

I lost about seven plants within a week of planting, which sucks in a planter of 30 plants. The loss was limited to one side of the tower, so I'm not sure what happened but maybe they were overwatered, or maybe that was the "dark" side. I don't know, but oh well. I didn't replant.

Overall, though ... look! An actual tower of strawberries. The berries are medium sized and intensely sweet. I don't know how many I'll eventually harvest, but if all those berries swell and ripen, it looks like we'll get a few quarts of fruit. I suspect if I want bigger fruit, I should pinch off about half of the flowers.

So will I grow strawberries again? Um, hell yeah. Next year, I'm thinking of adding another tower and putting in a drip irrigation system to control the watering better ... Pretty soon I'm going to run out of yard space, but one cool thing about growing in containers like this? When the season is over, it all goes bye-bye into storage and the pool area goes back to looking like a regular old pool area. You'd never know a thing.


  1. If you truly want a taste of strawberry heaven plant 'mara des bois' After tasting them I pulled up all my other plants and now only grow them.
    Gary Gagle

  2. Gary,

    Thanks for the tip. I'm still fairly new on the strawberry learning curve, so ... most everybody starts strawberries from transplants, rather than seeds. Do you have a local source (Broward or Dade) for 'Mara des bois'? I'd love to try a different variety next year.

  3. Jon-what drove you to chose the agro-tower vs. Verti-gro?

  4. Rob,

    I think it was mostly because I was introduced to Agro-Towers first as opposed to Verti-gro systems. I've seen really good results with both, but never personally tried Verti-gro.

  5. Trying verti- gro now. Will let you know how it works out. Tryng both "inside" on the patio and out in the "garden"

  6. I want to get the 6 tier Agro Tower and was wondering if you could help me out on about how much soil you needed for yours. Much appreciated!

  7. Anon,

    I think I used a little over 2 cubic feet, or about 15 gallons of dry soil, for the six pots. I'm not 100% sure, though. I remember it was one big bag of Fafard 3B, plus a little more.