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How to Plant Strawberries in a Half Barrel

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017
Strawberries grow well in half barrels.
Strawberry image by Sujit Mahapatra from Fotolia.com

The strawberry plant is a versatile plant that grows well in a half barrel in areas where space is limited. Half barrels are commonly a 30- or 55-gallon barrel made of wood or metal and cut in half vertically. One half-barrel planter will hold approximately 20 to 25 plants. Empty the barrel of soil and plants each fall and refresh each spring to maintain quality fruit production each year.

Clean the half barrel by washing with soap and water to remove residue and dirt. Rinse the half barrel well with water. Cut four to five drainage holes that are 1 to 2 inches in diameter in the bottom.

Cut 3-inch diameter holes around the half barrel for planting the strawberries. Space the holes 8 inches apart and stagger the rows so the holes aren't in straight up and down lines. Start the holes 5 inches up from ground level.

Move the half barrel to the desired growing location, making sure it has full sunlight for at least six hours each day. Add a 2-inch layer of course gravel to the bottom of the half barrel to assist with drainage.

Create a planting soil by mixing equal portions of good-quality garden soil, course sand and peat moss. Mix in a 6-6-6 fertilizer rated for strawberry plants.

Create a watering tube by cutting a piece of 3/4-inch PVC pipe to the height of the half barrel. Drill 1/8-inch-diameter holes 1 to 2 inches apart throughout the pipe. Place the pipe upright in the center of the half barrel and fill the interior with course sand.

Add planting soil up to the first holes in the half barrel. Set the strawberry plants into the first level holes and fan out the roots. Cover the roots with soil, making sure to leave the crown uncovered. Repeat these processes to plant all levels of holes. Fill soil to 1 inch from the top of the half barrel.

Cut a piece of black plastic mulch 2 to 3 inches larger than the diameter of the half barrel. Place the mulch over the top of the half barrel and cut planting holes 8 inches apart. Set the strawberry plants through the holes and cover the roots with soil, keeping the crown uncovered.

Secure the mulch by tucking it between the edge of the half barrel and soil. Fill the center tube with water to moisten the soil throughout the half barrel. Water the plants two to three times a week during the growing season to keep the soil moist.


Things You Will Need

  • Half barrel
  • Nontoxic soap
  • Handsaw
  • Drill
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Course gravel
  • Garden soil
  • Course sand
  • Peat moss
  • 6-6-6 fertilizer
  • 3/4-inch-diameter PVC pipe
  • Black plastic mulch
  • Scissors

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.