Friday, March 06, 2009
My Strawberry Tower
On a recent sunny afternoon I stopped at the little local nursery. This isn't the type of nursery where you can count on getting what you want or need...it's a small business that I imagine must make more money from landscape jobs than sales. More than once I've left without the item I'd hoped to find and this day was no exception. I had decided to plant a few potatoes and stopped by to see what varieties they had. The answer was none. All sold out and they weren't really sure if they'd get more in or not. And here I was, needing a nursery-purchase fix. The succulents tempted me as they have a nice selection but this time there wasn't anything I didn't already have. That's when I saw the strawberries and realized that I really should buy some...I could just picture those perfectly fresh berries in my morning yogurt. So I bought two 6 packs of everbearing "Fern" and went elsewhere on my potato search. Elsewhere ended up being the local Ace Hardware store where I did find some red potatoes and somehow managed to buy another 6 pack, this time June-bearing 'Chandler'. Of course when I got home I realized I had no available space in which to plant them. Not only that but my soil is quite alkaline which is not tolerated well by strawberries and to top it off the snail-slug-earwig season is just around the corner. The answer to my dilemma came to me later that night...I needed to put together some sort of container planter that would minimize garden space use, allow me to use potting soil better suited to strawberries, and keep those sweet berries off the ground so I had at least a chance of eating some before they were full of holes.
Today I headed out to find pots that I could stack to make a strawberry tower. I finally found plastic terra cotta-like pots in three sizes and headed home to see what I could do with them. I began by clearing a spot in the garlic-onion patch. It is close enough to the edge of the bed to be convenient and yet out of reach of little hands that might pick green berries. I put a layer of broken concrete left over from the patio demolition two years ago into the bottom of the biggest pot. Strawberries don't need deep soil, only about 6-8 inches, and I didn't want to waste the good potting soil. I filled the pot to the top with soil and put the next smallest pot on top. More concrete, more soil and then the smallest pot on top. I planted the strawberries around the edges, leaving me with the hardest job to come.
Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings and Carol at May Dreams Gardens tell me I will need to pick the blossoms off the first year to assure strong plants. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it. Maybe just some of the blossoms?