Strawberry Pyramids

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Thursday, April 26, 2012 1:59 PM

After numerous requests over the past year, and following my Container Gardening class last Saturday for The Institute of Urban Homesteading, I've decided to post a pictorial instruction guide for my pyramid strawberry planters.  I didn't need to construct another one, so instead I deconstructed one of my existing boxes.  Truth be told, it's been three years since I built them.  It was time to empty them both out, amend the soil really well, and replant.

Tools:
  • Measuring tape
  • Square
  • Marker
  • Saw (preferably a circular saw, but a hand saw would work just fine)
  • Drill
  • Screw driver bit for drill
  • 1/4" drill bit
Materials:
Cutting Guide:
  • Board #1 = 2 pieces 18" long and 2 pieces 15" long
  • Board #2 = same as board #1
  • Board #3 = 4 pieces at 9" long and 2 pieces at 18" long
  • Board #4 = 2 pieces at 18" long + 36" left over for another use or a second pyramid
  • Split one of the 18" long pieces lengthwise into 2 pieces approximately 2-1/4" wide.  Don't worry about getting this exact as it won't be seen so it doesn't have to be perfect.
  • You should end up with the following:
    • 7 pieces 18" long x full width of board
    • 2 pieces 18" long by 1/2 width of board
    • 4 pieces 15" long
    • 4 pieces 9" long
Assembly:

I'm assuming some basic skills here, like how to screw two boards together and use a square to make sure the box isn't lopsided.  If you need help with this, I'm sure you can find a handy friend to lend hand (or even construct the entire thing for you).

1)  Build the bottom box.  This requires four 18" pieces for the sides, and three 18" pieces for the bottom.

2)  Add the two 18" long strips to the bottom to help with drainage.  Drill several 1/4" drainage holes on each bottom board.  Although it's not shown in the picture, now is a good time to put a strip of Corry's Slug and Snail Copper Tape Barrier all the way around the bottom of the box

3)  Assemble the first riser using four 15" pieces.  Offset each board so that the part hanging out is 3" long.

4)  Assemble the second riser using four 9" pieces.  Again, offset each board so that the part hanging out is 3" long.

5)  This picture shows the placement of the first riser on the bottom box.

6)  This picture shows the placement of the second riser.
7) And this is what it should look like once it's built.
8) Place the bottom box in the location that you want the pyramid to be.  Fill the bottom box full of soil.  Tamp it down a little bit, but don't compact it.
9)  Place the first riser on top of the bottom box as shown and fill it with soil.
10)  Place the second riser on top of the first one as shown and fill it with soil.
11)  Plant 3 strawberries on each side of the bottom box, 2 strawberries on each side of the middle tier, and 2 strawberries in the top.  Alternately, as long as you add a support cage or some type of trellising you can plant one determinate tomato plant in the top as I did.
12)  Water regularly at all levels when the soil starts to dry out.  The plants will fill in nicely and most of the berries will hang over the edges rather than lay in the dirt.

TA DA!!!!  That's it!  A simple, elegant, space saving solution for growing strawberries.

Homestead Tour? Er, sorry. I have to say no.

Posted by Kitty Sharkey 8:43 AM

Like other Urban Homesteaders / Farmers in the SF Bay Area, I get a lot of e-mails from people who are interested in coming to my place and checking out my set up.  I kept thinking about writing a blog post about why I turn 95% of these requests down.  But then my friend Rachel at Dog Island Farm wrote an excellent post about this very subject.  So rather than re-invent the wheel, I will point you to this post instead.

I had to deal personally with an incident on my own homestead about a year ago.  That's when I really started curtailing tours.  And the truth about my new goat is that I got her because activists went into her previous owners backyard, scribbled a threatening message on her shed, and then left two gates open so her goats could escape.  Luckily, they ate some tasty foliage in the front yard and didn't meander the short 1/2 block to a major street.

Incidents like these have been escalating recently.  So for my own personal privacy, safety and security as well as that of my animals, I no longer give tours to people I don't personally know.  Like Rachel, I do offer consultations to those who are interested in starting or expanding their own homestead.  I work on a sliding scale, so feel free to e-mail me if you'd like me to come visit your site and give you advice.

And thanks for understanding.
Kitty