A strawberry barrel provides room for 40 or more plants, so you can grow a bounty of strawberries in a small area. Plastic 30- to 55-gallon barrels require only basic tools to alter them into a suitable planter. Strawberries grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. An ever-bearing variety, which produces few runners and can produce from spring through fall, is especially well-suited to a container garden.
1. Drill a 1/2-inch starter hole in the side of the barrel, 1 inch down from the top edge. Insert a jigsaw blade into the hole and cut off the top of the barrel. Lightly sand the cut edge with medium-grit sandpaper to smooth it. Wear eye protection and follow all safety precautions when using power tools.
2. Turn the barrel upside down and drill 1/2-inch drainage holes in the bottom. Space the holes 3 inches apart in rows set 3 inches apart.
3. Measure 5 inches up from the bottom of the barrel and draw an 3-inch line, parallel to the barrel bottom, with a straight edge and felt-tip marker. Draw additional lines 8 inches above the one beneath, until the last line is 5 inches below the pot rim. For the next row, measure 10 inches up from the bottom of the barrel, about 8 inches away from your first row, then space each line 8 inches apart. Continue working around the barrel, offsetting the lines by alternating the starting point from 5 to 10 inches.
4. Drill a hole at both ends of each line. Insert the jigsaw blade into one hole and cut along the line to form the planting slit. Repeat for each line. Push the plastic above the slit in while pulling it out on the bottom to form the planting cup.
5. Drill 1/4-inch holes in the sides of the PVC pipe, spacing the holes 2 inches apart in rows set 1 inch apart.
6. Set the barrel in its permanent location, which must receive full, all-day sunlight. Fill the bottom of the barrel with gravel to a 2-inch depth. Stand up the pipe inside the barrel with the bottom resting on top of the gravel layer. Fill the PVC pipe with coarse builder's sand.
7. Mix 1 pound of 4-8-8 fertilizer with 55 gallons of potting soil, which is enough to fill a standard plastic barrel. Add the soil to the barrel up to the first row of planting slits. Set a strawberry seedling in the slit, with the plant crown level with the rim of the slit, and then fill the slit around the strawberry roots with soil. Water the soil in the barrel until it's moist, then continue adding soil and planting strawberries until you reach the top of the barrel. Water the soil after planting each level. Plant additional plants in the top of the barrel, spacing them 8 inches apart.
8. Water the barrel twice a week. Pour water into the PVC pipe and allow it to soak into the soil. If the soil around the plants in the slits feels dry, the barrel requires additional watering.
Things You Will Need
How To Videos
Watch updated videos to help with your projects.