If you want to grow some strawberries this year, but you don’t have a lot of space in your garden, then give this DIY Strawberry Guttering a try – it’s cheap to make too.
Nothing tastes more like summer than fresh, juicy strawberries, and with Wimbledon having just finished (well done Andy); this wonderful little fruit is always popular. With over 28,000 kilos of strawberries eaten during Wimbledon fortnight alone, it’s no wonder people are always after them. Like most people that live in the city, we don’t have a lot of garden space, so we choose to grow upwards.
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It’s Dave here with another DIY garden project. This was one of my favourites to make, because of how simple it was. Growing your own strawberries is easy – there are varieties that can be grown in sunny spots as well as shady areas. Make sure you research the type of strawberry you want to grow before planting, as a sun loving variety with not do well in a shady place. Strawberry plants that are grown successfully can harvest lots of fruit, but the plants can also take up quite a bit of space. If you are limited for growing space, what can you do when you can’t grow plants out? You grow upwards!
This is exactly what we did with the strawberry plants that were sent to us by Wyevale Garden Centres by planting them in a growing gutter system. Growing gutters are easy to fix to vertical surfaces, or like we did, a custom made frame. We have tried growing strawberries a couple of times before, and they have never been successful and the plants died within a week. The Strawberry Plants from Wyevale Garden Centre arrived fresh and perky and they never wilted – instead they instantly flourished. I think it helped they we used really good quality compost that they send us too. It really is worth buying good quality products when you are gardening, as you will get a much better return – which is why we always use Wyevale Garden Centres. They deliver straight to you door too, so you don’t have to worry about getting it all home.
Plastic guttering can be bought from most builders’ merchants or large DIY stores for a fairly reasonable price, but remember that you will also need brackets and stop ends. Once you have selected the type of gutter you want (there are many designs and colours to choose from) it’s time to get building.
1. Measure your space and using a hacksaw cut the gutter to the lengths you require (mine are 1m long each).
2. Using a drill, make drainage holes in the base, spaced about 15cm apart. Put the stop ends on and the gutter is ready.
3. At this point, the brackets can be fixed to a vertical surface if you have a suitable one available and the gutter clipped into them. As we don’t have a vertical surface that can be fixed to directly, I constructed a simple frame from treated timber (it’s important the timber is treated as it will be resistant to the weather). This also makes the whole gutter system portable, should we need to relocate it.
4. For the frame, I used two lengths of 6×1” (140x22mm) timber for the uprights and two lengths of 2×1.5” (50x38mm) timber for the cross supports. I cut the uprights to 1500mm each and the cross supports at 1100mm each. For the uprights, measure where you want the brackets to be and screw them at equal distances apart. Do this for both uprights.
5. Position the cross supports at the back of the uprights and screw into place to make the frame.
6. This is now ready to be stood up and can be leaned against a wall, ready for your plants. For extra support, I fixed the frame at the bottom of the uprights to a raised bed that we already had.
7. The gutter can now be filled with compost (leave a small space below the rim for watering) and you can plant your strawberries. This type of growing gutter is also good for microgreens, pea shoots and herbs.
After we planted our strawberries, we decided to remove the bottom gutter as we were also growing tomatoes in the raised bed below and they are quite tall. Actually, the tomatoes are now starting to take over a little bit, so you might want to consider that if you are growing something under the strawberries.
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**This post was commissioned by Wyevale Garden Centres, however all opinions are my own**