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Baskets of berries

Strawberries in small spaces

My backyard is an ongoing experiment in cramming as many things as possible into a small space. Not only do we have some fruit trees and six vegetable beds, we also have a terraced area where we are putting in blackberries this year and a single wall of hops. All this and we must still leave some room for a patio and an area for the kids and dogs to play. I desperately wanted strawberries, but space just doesn't allow yet another fruit planting. The answer? Container growing, of course!

 

 

I grow my strawberries in hanging baskets to take advantage of vertical space. I installed some hooks on the upright poles that support our patio overhang. This enables me to fit two baskets per pole, for a total of six baskets. Make sure that the area you hang your baskets receives plenty of sunlight, though. If you don't have a structure to hang them on, use shepherd's hooks or install T-posts between garden beds. Hang a basket from each side of the T-post, allowing them to dangle over low-growing plants in the garden below.

The amount of plants in each basket depends on the size of the basket, of course. I can usually fit three or four plants in a standard 12-inch diameter pot. The pots do require more frequent watering than bed-planted berries, sometimes up to twice daily irrigating if it's hot and dry.

 

Most extension services recommend tossing container plants and starting fresh the next year, but I have had good results overwintering the baskets. I take them down when the plants die back in fall. Set them in a plastic bag, heap them with straw and loosely close the bag. Strawberries need cold dormancy in winter, so stick them in an unheated garage or shed until the next spring.