Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Strawberry Planters

Things were looking a bit dismal in our courtyard. Partly because I've tried to go low maintenance this year. But there's one project I wanted to complete very soon and that's the strawberry planter. I've stopped growing strawberries at the allotment as I found with twice weekly visits it just wasn't very practical as far as the watering and maintenance was concerned. So this tower was my answer.

I looked at various types and finally settled on this one. As I found out when it arrived, it has pros and cons. It is a lot flimsier than I thought. On the website it actually looks like a solid structure and I was really disappointed to find that the middle section is just a concertina type fairly thin plastic shell. You can find this model easily on many gardening websites - compare the blurb with the reality in this blog post...

It wasn't easy to put together - you need two people and already I'm thinking I wouldn't buy this again. For the amount of work that is involved in filling and constructing it - I'm not sure we'll get the return. The flimsiness of the structure means that I don't think it would tolerate being moved - and the instructions say it will only last three years - so given these points it is also relatively expensive. But that might be me being too cynical. I wish someone would make a solid more sturdy one - send it to me folks and I'll do a review perhaps...

On the plus side, all thirty Strawberry plants I bought fitted in to the tower. As you can see I've placed it on an old filing cabinet so that I can wheel it around in the sun. There's a central watering tube which I hope will help.

Eighty litres of compost are required. I used a mixture of perlite, coir and nutrients/plant food.
The strawberry varieties I used were a mixture of early fruiting, mid-season fruiting and late fruiting varieties. Ten of each. Strawberry Christine, Irresistible and Florence.

Here's what the tower looks like on the inside. I discovered when I had almost finished that I had got the main body upside down, but wasn't going to take it off and start again as I don't think the structure would have stood for it.

So. A little bit straggly perhaps, but here is the finished structure. It will look much better I hope when the plants have grown a bit more!

Not including the cost of the labour involved the plants cost £10 and the planter plus compost - £38.85. If it doesn't work well, that is going to be expensive, isn't it?

If it DOES work well we might be harvesting five fruit per plant (thirty plants) - that's 150 fruits - that's 10 punnets of strawberries at say - £2.50 each...all in all a bit of a gamble.

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