Vertical beds: how to get a big strawberry crop in small areas
No matter what the size of the household plot, gardeners who are passionate about growing vegetables, fruits and berries are constantly short of space for their experiments. And if the owner of the garden became strawberry the most favorite crop, then it will require quite a lot of space, because this berry loves space and light. To plant more bushes, you can arrange the beds vertically.
Features of vertical cultivation
There are many options for constructing vertical beds. This method is suitable for many plants, but strawberries take root better on such an original garden bed, and even create a beautiful appearance. Having spent a little time and money, the beds can be built practically from improvised materials. Compared to traditional cultivation, vertical has several advantages:
- Significant saving of space on the site.
- Strawberries remain clean throughout the season and do not suffer from dampness.
- Berries become inaccessible to most pests.
- Weeds have nowhere to grow, there is no need for constant weeding.
- Fertilizers supplied in the form of a liquid through an irrigation tube are absorbed by plants to the maximum.
- Gathering berries, you do not have to reach the ground, straining your back.
- A vertical bed with lushly flowering and fruiting bushes can become a decoration of the site.
However, there are also disadvantages to vertical cultivation:
- Fast drying of the soil requires constant attention, regular watering will be required.
- It is imperative to carry out liquid top dressing, because ordinary fertilizers cannot be laid in the finished bed.
- In winter, even not very cold, plants can completely freeze. The beds are arranged in such a way that they can be moved to the room or well wrapped.
Methods for the vertical cultivation of strawberries
If the plot is small, but you want to plant as many strawberry bushes as possible, then you should try to grow it in pipes, plastic bottles or in barrels.
Beds in the pipes
A very common way to grow strawberries vertically is beds from plastic pipes. Such structures will require financial investments for the acquisition of components, but a long service life of PVC pipes will pay off all costs.
Vertical strawberry cultivation in pipes is a great alternative to classic beds
To create a vertical bed of pipes you will need materials:
- plastic pipes for plumbing work with a length of not more than two meters and a diameter of 20 cm;
- a hose or PVC pipe with a diameter of 2 cm (its length should be 10-15 cm longer than the main pipe);
- burlap or spanbond.
Hacksaw and drill with a nozzle for cutting circles - tools for making beds can be found in any house
Before starting work, you should prepare gravel for drainage, seedlings and land for planting bushes. Soil for seedlings is mixed from turf soil, manure, peat and compost in equal proportions.
- Circles with a diameter of 10 cm are cut out in wide pipes. The holes are drilled with a drill with a special nozzle, observing a checkerboard pattern. Rows are placed at a distance of 20 cm. The bottom of the pipe is left without holes. If it is assumed that the structures will winter on the site, circles are not cut from one side of the pipe.
For normal plant development, a hole diameter of 10 cm is sufficient
- 5 mm holes are drilled in a narrow tube by 2/3 of the length, the lower part is closed with a plug.
- A narrow pipe is wrapped in burlap or spanbond and placed in its entirety down into a large pipe.
- The whole structure is dug into the ground. Gravel is poured inward to a height of about 10 cm and outside the pipe.
- Begin to plant seedlings. Pour the earth to the bottom hole, slightly tamping. The bush is placed on the surface of the soil, carefully spreading the roots. Then still soil is loaded into the pipe to the next holes and strawberries are again planted. This procedure is repeated until the tube is completely filled with seedlings.
A vertical bed made of plastic pipe is also suitable for a balcony
- Each new layer of soil is watered.
Video: instructions for creating a bed of PVC pipes
Another structure is constructed from PVC pipes. The pipes are cut lengthwise, so their diameter is chosen large. Halves of pipes are suspended horizontally on the walls of buildings using wire or ropes. So do several levels of beds. If you use brackets to attach the halves of the pipes, the design will turn out to be more stable.
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Growing in plastic bottles
This is a very affordable and economical material that is used to organize vertical landings. For the device beds need to prepare:
- five liter plastic bottles;
- fasteners for bottles (wire);
- the frame where the bottles will be installed;
- paint, if you plan to paint the structure;
- cutter, nippers and brush.
Having prepared all the necessary materials, get started:
- The bottles are cut into two parts.
- The lid should not be tightly twisted, allowing excess moisture to drain.
- Soil is poured into a part of the bottle with a cap and strawberries are planted.
- The lower part of the bottle is fixed on the frame and a container with a strawberry bush is placed in it.
- The whole structure can be painted with acrylic paint to improve the appearance.
The volume of earthen coma in a plastic bottle is very small, so you need to strictly control the humidity of the vertical beds
When planting strawberries in plastic bottles, you must definitely add hydrogel to the soil. It will absorb excess moisture and give it to plants as needed.
A plastic bottle is perfect for growing strawberries on the windowsill
Video: strawberries in plastic bottles
Growing Strawberries in a Barrel
Under strawberry beds can be adapted barrels of any size, new or old, which are often found on the garden site. Observe the following procedure:
- Clean the barrel of dirt, rust, old paint.
- Cut holes in the bottom of the barrel for drainage (2 cm in size).
- Cut circles with a diameter of 10 cm in the walls, maintaining a distance of 30 cm between them.
- Establish a future bed in a sunny place.
- Shards of bricks or rubble are laid at the bottom.
- A pipe with holes is installed in the rubble, its diameter should be 1/3 of the diameter of the barrel.
The inner tube is designed for uniform watering of the soil in the barrel, as well as for fertilizing with liquid fertilizers
- Small stones are poured into the pipe.
- Fill the barrel with nutritious soil to the lower circles.
- Strawberry bushes are laid out in the cells, spreading the roots.
- Add soil to the next row of holes and seedlings are planted again.
The holes in the barrel can be of any shape, but it is better to arrange them in a checkerboard pattern
- So fill the entire barrel with soil. Each layer of soil is watered with water from a watering can.
- On the surface of the barrel, you can also plant strawberry bushes.
Experienced gardeners advise planting fragrant herbs, calendula or basil in the lower rows of barrels to avoid acidification of the soil.
Before the onset of winter, vertical beds with strawberries should be protected from the cold. Around the barrels set the grid on the rails. The distance between the fence and the garden bed is filled with insulation (leaves, dry grass) and covered with material that does not allow water to pass through.
How to water strawberries in vertical beds
Growing strawberries in vertical beds will require gardeners to pay special attention to watering, since such beds dry out very quickly, and with insufficient moisture all bushes can die. When planting in pipes or barrels inside, an irrigation system must be installed in the form of a pipe with many holes. Water needs to be supplied not only to the inner pipes, but also to water the bed from above, since the upper bushes suffer primarily from drought. Once a week, watering is combined with fertilizing with mineral fertilizers (special fertilizer mixtures for berry crops).
For beds made of plastic bottles or other small containers, you must definitely use a hydrogel. It is mixed with soil while planting strawberry bushes. Absorbing excess water and giving it away as needed, the gel will help maintain soil moisture and reduce the amount of watering.
In the first days after planting strawberries, especially in the heat, the beds are watered twice a day until the seedlings take root. Then watering is reduced.
Suitable Strawberry Varieties
For a vertical bed, repairing strawberry varieties are chosen, from which they are harvested several times during the summer. The Queen Elizabeth variety is very popular. Its berries are juicy, dense pulp, large, regular in shape. Ampel varieties, for example, Alba, look good on vertical beds. This is an early variety, its bushes are very beautifully curl, they will decorate any corner of the garden.
Vertical planting of strawberries will allow rational use of every piece of land on the garden plot. It’s easy to build beds. Having thought over the irrigation system and having provided sheltering of beds for the winter period, it is possible to significantly increase strawberry productivity. And the easy care of plantings and the beautiful appearance of the beds will delight gardeners.