Extension Veg. Crops H M i
Mime3 Report -r HUME LIBRARY
.1- CfGROUICG STRAWBERRIES IN BARRELS
(A Florida Agricultural Extension Service Vegetabl( Crops 1e )l 1972
by .F.A.S. Univ. of Florida
J. M. Stephens S. J. Loc et.Lt
Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist and Assistant Horticulturist
Would you like to grow your own strawberries, but you feel that you do not have
enough available space?, Then why not use the space-saving Barrel Method. Each year,
about 50 pints of strawberries may be obtained from one 55 gallon barrel (drum) on
which 40 to 50 plants may be grown.
Materials Needed to Get Started:
1) Barrels or drums -- commonly found are 30 gallon and 55 gallon sizes,
either metal or wood.
2) Pipe section -- about 30 inches of gutter or stove pipe (3-4" diameter)
is needed for watering and feeding.
3) Coarse gravel -- enough small pebbles to cover the bottom of the barrel
up to 2 inches will be needed for good drainage.
4) Hole puncher -- some means of cutting holes or slits in the sides and
bottom of the barrel will be required, such as an axe, chisel, or
5) Good garden soil -- should be fumigated for best results. Do not use
peat or muck.
6) Coarse sand -- to fill watering pipe.
7) Fertilizer -- 4-8-8 or 6-8-8 is best.
8) Strawberry plants -- Florida Ninety, Dabreak and Torrey varieties. The
latter two are new varieties, so plants may not be readily available.
What To Do:
1) Prepare barrel by cutting out top and thoroughly washing to remove any
material that may injure plants. It is optional whether the bottom is
cut out or left intact. If not removed, four or five holes should be
made in the bottom for drainage.
2) Cut holes or slits into the side of the barrel to receive the plants.
Holes may be easily cut using an acetylene torch. If an axe or chisel
is used, the holes are much easier to cut if the barrel is filled with
soil. Holes or slits should be about 3 inches long; then the top of
each slit should be pushed in to form a cup.
Holes should be spaced 8 inches apart around the barrel, and 8 inches
apart up and down the barrel. Each hole should be placed diagonally to
those above and below it. Holes should be 8 inches from the bottom of
the barrel and 5 inches or so from the top.
3) Prepare the soil for use by thoroughly mixing one pound (2/3 quart) of
4-8-8 or 6-8-8 analysis fertilizer into 55 gallons of soil.
4) Fill the bottom two inches of the barrel with coarse gravel.
5) Punch holes (nail-size) in the sides of the pipe; distribute them over
the entire surface of the pipe to allow even watering throughout the
barrel. Place the section of pipe into the center of the barrel; it
should be standing upright with one end resting on the gravel. Fill
the pipe with coarse sand.
6) Shovel in garden soil onto the coarse gravel and around the pipe, until
the level of the first (lower) row of holes has been reached. Firm the
7) Set the strawberry plants into the bottom row of holes. Spread the
roots in a fan-shape fashion onto the soil and cover to hold in place.
Be careful not to cover the crown (bud). Then shovel in soil up to the
next row of holes. At this point it might be desirable to lightly
sprinkle the soil with water. Set plants and repeat the soil-filling,
watering, and plant-setting until the top row of holes are set. Then
add soil to within 1 inch of the barrel top. Set plants on top about
8 inches apart around the pipe. It is best to set plants during a
cloudy day or late in the afternoon so that plants have time to become
established before being placed in hot sun.
For maximum production, strawberries should be planted (set) from mid-
September in North Florida through mid-November in South Florida. These
planting dates should be observed since our strawberry varieties re-
quire cool temperatures and short days for fruiting. Fruit production
becomes quite reduced as soon as temperatures rise to around 800 F. in
early summer in Florida.
8) The barrel should be placed so that plants will get full sunlight.
Water will probably be needed about twice weekly and should be added by
pouring into the pipe. In the spring, if additional fertilizer is need-
ed, cup of the same fertilizer can be dissolved in a gallon of water
and poured in the center pipe. Then pour in about 2 gallons of water
to distribute the fertilizer.
9) To insure best results, each year the barrel should be emptied, fresh
soil added, and new plants set into the barrel.
10) Disease control -- To control leaf spots and fruit rots, use a captain
spray or dust. Mix 4 ounces of 50 percent captain in 5 gallons of water
and spray the plants once a week. Or, you may use a 6 percent captain
dust applied once a week.
11) Insect control -- to control pameras, flower thrips, and spider mites
use malathion spray or a 5 percent malathion dust.
12) Caution -- These suggested insecticides and fungicides are safe when
used as directed on the labels. Take care to store unused portions
safely and discard used containers properly. Keep poisons out of
reach of irresponsible people.