Monday, March 24, 2014

A Start on Spring Planting

Well, it seems like spring has finally hit the Portland area. With the weather so nice, I just couldn't sit inside at my sewing machine! This weekend I spent some time in the sun working on a planter for strawberries, something I've been dreaming of for years. We already have two raised planting beds which I use for vegetables like kale, lettuce, peas, and (my favorite) tomatoes. A lot of things tend to be trial and error for me in the garden. The climate is NOT what I grew up with in Sacramento so I have to give up things like growing bell peppers because I 1)don't have a green house, and don't intend to. 2) They take more work than I'm willing to put into it. 

So, once I set my mind to having strawberries this summer I did my best to find a creative and inexpensive way to do so. Initially I was planning to make a third planter bed to connect the existing two but soon decided that would take a lot more leveling and expense than I would like. So, I went to my new best friend Pinterest  to resolve my dilemma. I came across a few things that sparked my interest. I came across this project: DIY Garden Planter. While that project was geared toward a flower display I decided it would also be well suited for strawberry plants. 

Well, you know me  I can't do a creative project by someone else's plans, I've got to make it my own. Here's what I did: 
  1. Have a large decorative pot on the bottom with a hole drilled in the bottom. 
  2. Take a 1/2" rebar (I ended up getting a 10' pole and having them cut it down for me to 6') and drive it down into the ground through the hole of the base part. Ideally you should have a foot or two in the ground.
  3. Fill the base pot with soil. 
  4. Carefully thread the first terracotta pot onto the rebar and cock it to one side making sure that it is stably settled in the dirt of the base pot. I used 8.25" Azalea pots for this project, they're a little wider than they are tall to allow for more planting.
  5. Plant your first plant in the first terracotta pot. I found it was a lot easier to do this as I stacked the pots rather than having them all stacked and trying to put plants in them.
  6. Continue to the top of the rebar carefully cocking the pots to one side or the other and planting as you go.

Voila! I had a lovely time playing in the dirt with the little girl (you can see her little truck in the planting bed). I got my first round of plants at the same home improvement store I purchased the other supplies. That was a big mistake. We went to a local plant nursery down the way from us to get the rest of the plants: $12.99 for 25 bare root strawberry plants. I have planted 15 of them (not just in the strawberry tower) and will probably give the remaining 10 plants to friends. 

I'm very much looking forward to having garden-fresh strawberries in June!

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