Frugal Gardener: Strawberry eBucket

When even a hint of spring comes each year my mind seems to gravitate toward some new experiment in my garden.

If my memory serves me right, when I was younger, my thoughts turned in another direction, but dang, I can not remember which, so I’ll settle for the stimulation of the garden, I guess.

In all this crazy weather this year we have suddenly had a week of warm sunny weather that got me outside cleaning, clearing and wanting to plant.   The land is far too wet, it is like a swamp actually, when I was setting up my Ebuckets that grew  so well last season, the idea hit.

Why not try growing strawberries in a modified Ebucket?  After all, you can grow the berries  in planting bags.  So I set about creating my strawberry bucket.

Last fall a  neighbor gave me some plastic buckets used to store swimming pool chemical.  They are 12″ diameter buckets  but are deeper than a standard 5 gallon bucket—-perfect for what I have in mind.

I am going to put a series of 2 inch holes around the side of the bucket; holes centered approximately 5 inches apart.  Since a 12 inch bucket has a circumference of approximately 36 inches I can put 7 holes in each staggered row;  three rows, plus 4 holes in the lid of the Ebucket will accommodate 25 plants;  this is the standard unit of sales for most plants.

Setup for this strawberry bucket is the same as the standard Ebucket ; very simple to assemble.   All you need is 1 plastic bucket; 1 plastic colander about 12 inches in diameter; a piece of pipe 2 – 3 inches taller than your container for the fill pipe, and on this bucket I used a 1/2 inch piece of pipe to make a overflow valve on bottom of my strawberry pail.

My first row of planting holes are about 4 inches from the top of my container; simply measure down about 5 inches for  the first center.   Measure over about 5 inches to center the next hole and drill away.  You will probably have 7 holes; now drop down, measure 5 inches to center next row; stagger the spacing so one hole is not directly under another in the row above.  Repeat the process for the third row, that is it!

Planting is simple.  Get your plants ( roots);  most nurseries package in units of 25 plants but I  got what was available locally at Lowe’s and Wallyworld;  a box of 20  Tristar and bag of 10 Quinault (cost $13).  You’ll need your favorite container potting mix.

Strawberry Ebucket

Strawberry Ebucket

Fill and pack your potting mix around the colander to just over the colander  for effective wicking.   Continue filling (but  not packing)  mix to the level of the bottom row of planting holes;  separate your roots and lay them on top of layer of mix.  Be sure not to bury neck of crown, let it lie on edge of hole.

You will need to place some material over the plant at the hole entrance to keep mixture from coming out; I put some wood mulch over the hole just inside the bucket; worked great.

Cover this row of plants with mix to the level of the next row up; gently pat mix  and  water gently to settle in; I had put a gallon of water in the colander after I seated it;  I water the first row  til water flows from the overflow pipe.

Repeat process until all plants are in place.   I filled my bucket completely with mix since I am using that space on top  to set 4 plants — total  25 in the Ebucket.

There are few things I have done differently.  After reading and looking at other self-watering set ups, I have come to the conclusion the there are no hard and fast rules regarding soil and fertilizers.

The  EARTHBOX®  advertising has convinced many that the fertilizer has to be a certain  kind applied in a particular manner;  we are assured that no additives can be used in the soil  mix.   Experimentation shows this is not the case.  So…………

The basic mix must stay fluffy,  beyond that there are countless variations.  I am using a container  potting mix in this Ebucket that already  has some fertilizer incorporated.  Plan to supplement with liquid “teas” as the plants grow.

Will my Ebucket work with strawberries; I hope so; we will see.

This is what I find interesting about this hobby.

(References are for information only.  I am not associated with companies, nor am I being compensated in any way)

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15 responses to this post.

  1. Really detailed directions! That’s great…but I just don’t have the time to do all that or purchase the tools to get it done….I’ve tried the Grow Box and it’s actually a bit better and a whole lot less expensive than I thought it would be! Check it out here! http://www.agardenpatch.com

    Reply

    • Doing it yourself is not for everyone. I personally feel a great deal of satisfaction from duplicating commercial success on my own. Cost is of course a factor; but satisfaction is the payoff.

      BTW: Your login ID and the site address all refer to the same site.
      Interesting. I sense more than a passing interest in the product.

      Reply

  2. […] thank goodness, I know about alternative gardening methods.   Fixed up a new fangled strawberry bucket. Twenty five strawberry plants later I am on my way to spring time!  That did not calm my dirt […]

    Reply

  3. Posted by Diane Ward on March 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Love the strawberry pot design. Very good instructions. I’m going to try building some ebuckets this weekend. I ran out of planters (already have 10 tomato plants going), I wanted a lower priced solution for more planters. The ebucket looks like a way for me to get more planter space for other veggies, plus it’s self watering, briliant.

    Reply

    • Dianne, I believe our design for an ebucket is the easiest and least expensive method to use for self contained planting. Fantastic results have consistently been reported. Hope you have a very successful growing season. Thank you for the good word. Keep us informed as to results.
      Lane

      Reply

  4. Posted by Cathie Zeien on April 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    What a wonderful design for a strawberry bucket! Thanks so much! I over-ordered strawberries this year and now I can actually plant them all and not have to give them away!!

    I do have a question though — do you leave the strawberry bucket on the ground – or do you have it placed on something like a concrete block? I ask because I wondered if the bottom row of strawberries, when they fruit, would sit on the ground and get “buggy”.

    I’m following the threads regarding the 5-gallon bucket planters on Dave’s Garden. Wonderful information!

    Reply

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have my bucket sitting on a block. It could sit on anything to keep it off the ground for the very reason you mentioned. As you know the DG who are using our 5gal bucket design were very pleased with the results after a season of use.

      Reply

  5. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

    Reply

  6. Hey, Lane!
    Gymgirl here! Just about to make my own strawberry eBucket, after reading all about CountryGardens’ success growing strawberries on a raised box.

    As an update, do you have any pics you could post of how your strawberry eBucket performed after you planted it?

    Hugs!

    Linda

    Reply

  7. Lane,
    Any pics of how your Strawberry eBucket did last season? I have an order of 25 plants on the way, and have a good supply of those 6.5 gallon,pool chemical buckets. Strawberry eBucket Construction begins this weekend.

    Hugs!

    Linda

    Reply

  8. Hi, Lane!
    A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s an update on my Strawberry eBucket, planted out last week with 25 bare root strawberry plants.

    Hope I can figure out how to post a pic.

    Linda

    Reply

  9. Posted by Pam on January 16, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Does the colander go upside down in the bottom of the e bucket? How did your strawberries do? Thanks so much, Pam

    Reply

    • Yes, it should be positioned so the bottom is actually up in the bucket. My personal experience with the strawberry bucket was actually less than I had hoped. I became ill shortly after establishing it and failed to maintain. My harvest was fair even under those circumstances.

      Reply

  10. […] sweet and delicious strawberries, how can I easily grow you? I found this very interesting diy strawberry ebucket method, that is worth a […]

    Reply

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