An Interesting Way to Grow Strawberries

Bradybb(wa8)January 3, 2014

I saw this photo on another gardening site.The containers look like rain gutters.It will probably keep some pests away and make for easier harvesting.No information was given besides the picture. Brady

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Great picture!!

Would be nice to know how they are watering and what media they are rooted in.

I should try some winter strawberries in my greenhouse.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:36AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

That picture is awesome. Do you think it is hydroponic?

Here in Florida strawberry season is right now, starts at thanksgiving, the berries are huge and gorgeous but just horrible compared to the strawberries grown up north. It would be nice to grow some better varieties.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 10:09

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:07AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Must be hydroponic. Can't tell if there is enough slope to drain out the water. I guess they could have one line dripping water on top and a suction line pulling it back out on the bottom of the gutter. On a small scale it's pretty easy to make up something that works.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:36AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

If you do a Google search on that picture it comes up repeatedly on various sites. The ones which do give any further information seem to be saying the plants are growing in potting medium, not water but it is hard to find the original source.

Here is a link that might be useful: The photo

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:01AM
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steve_in_los_osos

I'm trying to restrain my eyeballs from popping out and reminding myself that I've tried all kinds of methods for growing strawberries (most recently in vertical PVC drain pipes) and not one of them has been successful :-(

Growing them in the ground is like feeding every pest in the county. Shucks. I won't be drawn in again (he said....)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:12AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I'd love to get my strawberries out of the soil. My problem is weeds and spreading plants... I need to know how they are doing that...gutter is pretty cheap.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:41AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

I found a company that specializes in this system.There are links on the site to photos and pdf's. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Mapal Agriculture Gutter System

This post was edited by Bradybb on Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 12:23

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 12:21PM
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oldfixer

Wow, looks ready for some mega taste testing. Scientific of course, to see if the processs is edible. :)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 12:37PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

It might be a fun experiment with a 10 foot section of plastic gutter material (cut in half to reduce weight), a couple of end caps, a couple of 2x4's cut and screwed together to make a support, some drip line and a few plants.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 1:25PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

And they turned the desert into the Garden of Eden!!!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:25PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

In some of those they're just letting the water drain out the bottom all along the gutter. But in the first picture Brady posted the gutter looks intact as it would on a house. You could save some water by recycling but for a home system just letting it drain out would be easier.

I grew them once in 4 inch diameter PVC with one inch holes on top every foot. I hung the pipe at an angle and poured nutrient solution in the top end and let it drain out the bottom. I got some nice size berries, probably Douglas variety. If I knew what variety would have the best tasting fruit I'd try it again in the greenhouse. Probably plant about September 1 and aim for ripe fruit about now.

A gutter system with drain holes in the bottom and set level would probably be my strategy.

Pluses would be much easier on the back and less rot/bugs than in-ground. I really ought to try this!!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 3:08PM
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MrClint

Those are some gorgeous strawb's, no doubt. But it's the perspective that is stunning, not the implementation. June bearing strawb's planted in just about anything will look like that when they are poppin'. You just don't get that awesome view normally.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:32AM
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wbcountrygirl

We grow our strawberries in old rain gutters attached to the top rail of our garden fence. This will be our third year growing this way and we love it. I think I'll have to add some netting this year to keep the chipmunks and squirrels from helping themselves as last year it was a race to get to the red ones each morning.
Below I've added a link to my blog with more info about gutter strawberries if you're interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: The wanna be country girl ~ strawberries

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:35AM
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charlieboring

Great system wbcountrygirl. When I saw the original photo I began to visualize how I could increase my planting area by attaching gutters to my fence. You scooped me!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:52AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Yeah I think i may try this, you can't have too many strawberries!!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:55PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Sweet, that first pic is awesome!!! I had pretty good luck last spring with my strawberries in a raised bed. Ive tired several varieties for my zone and Sweetcharlie were by far the most productive and tasty strawberries Ive had. Come to think of it, that was the only variety thats rated for zone 9 that I could find. Maybe thats why I had such good luck with them. Im with you! I can see my self expanding my growing room with gutters on the fence. Or better yet, just put some soil in the gutters on the house and grow them there! Everytime it rains they get a good soaking;)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:13PM
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berry_bob

I wonder if they would make it through our winters ?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:40PM
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steve_in_los_osos

So....what kind of soil mix did you use in the gutters?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:41PM
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rawley_gw

Wbcountrygirl,

How did you securely attach the gutters to the top rail?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:26PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

That was a great photo. I think I am going to use my deck railing for this system. I will buy about 20 u shape racks from Home Depot and place the racks over both side of the deck railing and put the plastic gutter inside the racks. This will give me two long rows on each side of the railing. I will probably use the premium light miracle gro potting mix. I think this system will work out just fine. No more bending down to pick the strawberries. I have Honeoye strawberry from Strakbros. Any other super sweet strawberry that can handle zone 5. Plz recommend. thx.

Tony

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:34PM
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charlieboring

Tony - When I visit Omaha I will do so during strawberry picking season. You want miss them. I won't take more than a squirrel; but the squirrels at my house take a lot of strawberries.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:19AM
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mrsg47(7)

Tony, what will you do with the small troughs of strawberries during the winter? I'm asking because I have white wooden railing around a small wooden porch. Thanks, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:55PM
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rawley_gw

Mrs. G

Not Tony, but I am considering this myself. :)

I can think of a couple options...

1) Remove them from the fence/deck and place them along the house/garge to shelter from the elements. Cover with straw to help insulate.

2) Remove from fence/deck and bring gutters into a covered buliding/garage. An attached garage should keep them warm enough not to die.

Being in zone 5, I think this is the only way to keep them alive through winter. Keeping them attached on the fence/deck would be a gamble. In z7, you might be ok just to leave them out.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

MrsG,

In the Fall, once the strawberry leaves turn reddish color. I will insulate them by using chopped dry leaves from the john deere and put a thick layer on top of them for winter protection. In addition, I will save a bunch of runners in a bucket and store them in the shed for back-up.

Tony

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:55PM
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lsoh

I grow blueberries, plums, and cherries in pots in zone 5. I bury the pots in leaves, and they have survived in the past (not sure about this winter's -20 degrees). I grow strawberries in the ground. I'm thinking that if those gutters were placed on the ground and buried in leaves, they would probably be fine in my zone 5.

In the past I grew strawberries in pots. I stored them in an unheated workshop in the winter. They were fine. You are 2 zones warmer than me so taking the gutters into an unheated space might work too. However, there is less soil mass in those gutters than in my pots, so I can't promise.

However, a bigger problem might be water. I water my potted fruits every day. But I moved my strawberries to my limited in ground space because they required the most frequent watering of all my potted fruits. Still, it looks like a promising way to make use of limited space.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:25PM
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kittymoonbeam

Oh I want one! What about a beautiful redwood surround for the gutter planter? What an amazing patio cover that would make! That picture is making me so hungry! I have a few fruits turning red now but it's nothing like that. Birds don't get mine but the bugs do so that would be perfect.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:32PM
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mrsg47(7)

I am definitely in on this one! I can't wait for spring and going to home depot to buy gutters! Tony and Rawley, thanks for the 'over-wintering' info. I have a potting shed they can go into during the winter, that will be great. Have just ordered another bunch of 'day neutrals' from Nourse. What about birds and squirrels? Hoops in the soil covered with netting? It would work. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:16PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Very inspirational thread. I'm wondering what else can be grown in gutters.

I love strawberries to the extent I even have two fig trees reputed to taste more like strawberries than strawberries!

Thanks for all these great posts and ideas!
Suzi

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:20AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

Suzi,
I was looking in the container forum a while back and a guy had built a system,with a pump to recirculate water and was growing all kinds of vegetables.I think he used small hydroponic baskets in the gutters for each plant.He made instructional videos and may have put them on Youtube.
While looking for them in that forum,I found this setup someone made for Strawberries. Brady

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:08PM
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charlieboring

This is very interesting. Imagine using this setup for strawberries with a watering system similar to a terracing operations.Water could be applied to the top tier and each tier could be connected by plastic tubes to the next lower tier. The hole for each plastic tube could be made about an inch from the bottom of the gutter so that when an inch of water accumulates in the bottom of the gutter, the overflow runs into the next tier and so on.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Wow, Brady! I bet even I could build that thing! I love gardening off the ground because we have a serious gopher problem here. I'd be putting herbs in there along with strawberries!

I copied that photo to my computer so I can remember it always!

What a fun thread!
Suzi

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 1:35PM
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marknmt

Hang it from a thin wire or cable and squirrels won't be able to get to it (short of leaping from above, which they will do if they can). Still have the bird issue, of course.

It's just a really neat idea!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

I found a video of the guy who grows things in rain gutters,that I referred to earlier.I did a quick search and didn't have a lot of time.At the end of this,he briefly shows his Strawberry growing setup.There are other videos by him that may go into more detail. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Larry Hall's Gutter Grow System

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 10:53AM
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queensinfo

i grow my strawbs in white planters that probably are a little bigger than rain gutters. In full sun, they dry out extremely quick (although mine are on concrete and not attached to a fence). I am thinking about lining my terrace with them this year to get them away from squirrels.

White planters may be easier than gutters since they can more easily be moved around for overwintering (i would think the gutters would have no structural integrity trying to carry them around with soil).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:27AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I plan to cover them with pine straw, maybe even a row cover tied down to hold the hay in.

"i would think the gutters would have no structural integrity trying to carry them around with soil)."
I don't plan to use soil. Filled a coir/peat combo, it should be light enough to move. Use 12 foot sections. They should require less water than a pot because the amount of soil is a lot more.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:11PM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

You are going to make those poor snails and slugs climb up the pipes? How cruel;-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 3:41PM
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littlelizzy123

So if I didn't already have a strawberry patch, I would definitely be in to this type of set up. I live in desert-y high plains Colorado, where water is scarce. Here's what I'm envisioning...

Hang two pieces of gutter material, nested into one another, with the top gutter having holes in the bottom, and the lower gutter bringing all the extra water to a barrel via hose or simple rain chain. Both pieces would hang on hooks to the fence (I have a privacy fence encircling our yard) so they are removable to a sheltered place to be insulated with straw. (-20 winters with hardly any lasting snow cover) Or if you aren't feeling froggy (rain barrels are illegal here) put a garden where it would drain. Watering twofer!!!!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:11PM
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bunti(7)

After seeing this thread i am inspired to grow strawberries.
I don't know anything about growing strawberries.

Please help me when to plant them. I live in charlotte, NC
What variety to choose.

our local lowes and walmart is carrying strawberry plants can i buy them? do they fruit this year?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Bunti,

Go the Nourse website. They had pretty good SB there, like Earli-glow etc..

Tony

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 12:18PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Unless you just want a few plants, bunti, you'll probably be better off buying a bundle of bare root strawberries from a reputable online nursery (like Nourse, as Tony suggested). There are a number of varieties from which you can choose, but disease resistance is very important here in the southeast. Sweet Charlie, for example, is a disease resistant variety that also gets high marks for flavor. I haven't tried it yet, but it's on my short list. You can buy a bundle of 25 from Ison's Nursery for $12.50 plus $10.95 shipping.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:54PM
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home_grower(SoCal Z9 S18)

IâÂÂm going full Hydro.

About six months ago my wife and I went to Switzerland and the Strawberries were so much better than the ones we get here. We are in So Cal where you can get full pallets of them cheaply but they just donâÂÂt taste near as yummy as the ones we ate every day while we were there.

This weekend I will start building a NFT system with 4â PVC. I have a bunch of the 3â cups and most of what I need to build it.

I have grown strawberries in the ground but the bugs usually eat into them before they get fully ripe. I tried last year in pots on the ground and it was better but the snails managed to get up the pots ninja style at night and get into them.

After looking at the pic in the OP I decided to go for it.

I have 25 Mara Des Bios and 25 White Carolina Pineberry bare roots on their way so I gotta get building.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 3:42AM
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charlieboring

I am soooo tempted to try something like this! A friend sent me so "giant strawberry" seeds. I am going to try to start them indoors then move them out into pots or a similar system. Something like Bradybb posted would be nice. By my calculation it would cost about $200 for four levels.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:44PM
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