I love the idea of non-traditional growing techniques. Especially the ones that prove themselves to work!
Our homestead has tried lots of methods to grow food and some work better than others. But how are you going to find out what works best if you don’t try? There has been successes and failures for sure but with each outcome, you get the satisfaction of learning.
Growing strawberries is one of those experiences. We started our first patch inside of an area that we cordoned off in our garden. We planted the strawberries in neat little rows and covered and surrounded them with straw. Then we covered the whole area with plastic netting to protect the area from birds wanting to steal the precious berries underneath. The end result was that our berry patch was attacked by all sorts of insects feeding on our berries. Plus the fruits attracted mice which in return attracted snakes trying to get at the mice. However, the snakes got caught up in netting and were either discovered dead or very angry when we would come to pick our fruit.
On top of all that, the weeds came up in force and just became a hassle to keep up with. There had to be a better way for the small time homestead strawberry patch. I didn’t want to follow the path of commercial farms and put down plastic and irrigation. That just seemed like too much work.
Last year I found a solution. I saw someone on facebook post a picture of strawberries growing in gutters. The year before, I had been growing lettuce in gutters inside our greenhouse. While I love the lettuce, I think I would much prefer growing strawberries in those gutters. So I transitioned out my lettuce and replanted the strawberries that I had dug up out of the garden.
The gutters are simple and easy to install. We got ours from Lowes but any big box hardware store will have them. They are about 6 dollars for 120 inch pieces. They also require support pieces and endcaps. Once in place, you need to go ahead and find yourself some rich compost and soil mix to grow your berries. Berries like slightly higher acidity in their soil so keep that in mind when putting together your mix. Try to use some sulfur rich, potassium rich, and phosphorous rich soil compost to make your berries perform the best. Remember, each year, you need to add nutrients back into your soil as the fruit your picking is a direct result of the plants taking it up.
This is the first year with very good berry production. We are enjoying our berries and hope to keep expanding what we have now to other areas of the greenhouse.
As always you did a great job. Gardening is a lot of work and it’s so nice to find something that makes it a little bit easier with great reward! My mom and dad do strawberries in the ground in California so of course they get there first picking usually in March. But this year I told them they should plant in the gutters on the fence so they wouldn’t have to bend over. Thanks again for sharing, Shalom to you and your family.
My main question regarding growing inside a greenhouse is how to the bees get in to pollinate?
Wow, what a great idea for growing strawberries in gutters. I really like your YouTube channel and your web site. Thank you so much.
My only question is how to facilitate drainage.
Marsha, We drilled half inch holes about 12 inches apart in the gutter. Thanks Tim
Also what height did you leave in between the gutters?
There is about 15 inches between gutters, Thanks, Tim
strawberries in the gutter! great idea I hope to implement it this coming year Leona
Thanks for the great video/information! How do u prevent freezing in the winter, if the stawberries aren’t in the ground and covered with straw? Thanks!
It is cold even in the greenhouse so we don’t grow them in the winter. Thanks for asking.
How do you water if you kindly give an idea, thank you
Our primary source of water is rain water.
How much space do you put between each support?
We put about 36″ between each support.
Where in the gutter do you drill the holes? At the sides or the bottom?
In the bottom, about every 12 inches apart. – Tim
I don’t have a greenhouse so would you suggest this method in an area where temperatures can get 20 degrees or less in the winter? I’m thinking of the potential of the plants freezing or being killed off without some form of protection (the roots are in the ground during the winter)
hey just a quick question … what type of strawberry plants are you growing?
Arkansas travelers, Thanks for asking Tim
Just curious where
Can you buy these?
You can buy the gutter at any of the home improvement stores.