Container Gardening ~Strawberry Style

Container gardening in a pocket planter used to grow herbs.

Pocket planter used to grow herbs.

 

Container gardening is not limited to ‘typical’ flower pots. A strawberry pot can provide a dramatic stage on which a great variety of plants can flourish and shine. Last year I planted a herb garden in a large handmade strawberry pot.

Gardening in containers is also a great way to add color to porches and decks. I decided to try flowers in that pot this year. I also adjusted the water well that I put down into the center of the top opening. This post highlights the steps I take in planting a strawberry container garden.

Eliminating Gardening Frustrations

In general container gardening can be frustrating, it can also be very rewarding. Frustration generally comes when the wrong tools are used or when poor plant choices made. For example, plastic pots are generally good for plants…short term. Growers like them because they are cheap, sturdy and light weight making shipping and selling the preeminent consideration.

Why Clay Pots are Better

Gardening in clay pots provide a healthy environment for most plants. The porosity of clay allows air and moisture to penetrate the sides of the pot. This moisture and air is utilized by the fine roots located at the edge of the soil ball. Believe it or not, a plant’s roots need some air, plastic pots are impervious water(good) as well as for air(bad). Terracotta clay pots also act like a wick to remove excess moisture from the potting soil. Outdoor usage of clay also has advantages. Clay pots which have thick walls protect plant roots from rapid changes in temperature which can be destructive. They also have a fair amount of weight and do not blow over as easily as some plastic pots. Plastic pots generally have thinner walls than their clay counterparts offering roots little if any insulation from temperature change. Black plastic can actually act as a solar collector, heating up the potting medium to plant damaging levels.

Container Gardening in a strawberry pot

At the end of the last growing season I put the pot in a dry spot to wait out the freeze thaw cycle of winter. Around mid to late April I pulled it out of its dry spot and decided to do flowers this year.

Cleaning last years pots

Step 1: Cleaning last years pots

First I start with cleaning out the dirt from last year’s plants and sterilizing the pot with a 1:10 part bleach/water (I probably should have done this step last year…).

Quality soil mix

Materials for planting a strawberry pot

Step 2: Materials for planting a strawberry pot: plants, good potting soil, soil moist, plastic cup, strawberry pot.

Second I start with my strawberry pot, some good quality potting mix, and the plants I  want to grow in the container. So I chose ornamental sweet potato vine and double petunias. Both are draping/trailing so they will flow out of the pot, down and around the pot creating a dramatic floral ‘hug’. In addition, I also planted a Dianthus because I needed a plant that would be more upright.

 

add plants spreading roots out into soil

Add plants spreading roots out into soil.

Step 3: Fill container garden to first holes.

Step 3: fill container to first holes.

Filling the Container

Next I fill the container up to the lowest pocket, (I add a tablespoon of soil moist which is a moisture absorbing jell and mix it in) put your plants into the pockets and add a few more handfuls of soil then firm the soil. Add soil to the next pocket and put your plants into the pockets and add a few more handfuls of soil then firm the soil.

 

Continue filling container with soil and plant the upper portion with your remaining plants.

 

Watering Challenges

strawberry pot container gardening

Container gardening is fun and rewarding. Here is my strawberry pot one month after planting…The only maintenance is dead heading and watering!

container gardening watering

Bury cup with pinholes in the center and fill with water.

Watering a strawberry pot can be a challenge. It is difficult to get the water to the lower pocketed plants. I put a plastic drinking cup into the center and planted around the cup. The cup had small holes punched all around and in the bottom, then it’s top put in to about 1″ above the level of the soil to keep soil from getting into the cup and stopping up holes. When I water I water all pockets and around the plants in the top. I also fill the cup which slowly allows the water to seep to the interior of the pot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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