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ID jit
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:00 am
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Container Strawberries - to SIP or not to SIP...,?

Long story short: Need to get a bunch of strawberry plants in containers and high enough for my 70 something , almost 5 foot tall mom to be able to reach easily.

The window boxes I tried last year didn't turn out well enough, so I am looking at larger containers. As I research, I can't really tell if Sub Irrigated Planters are the way to go or not. We have had sort of drought conditions here the past few year with watering bans and the like. Am thinking filling SIPs is going to be a little less noticeable and effective than watering containers in the more standard way.

So, do I SIP these things or not? I have no experience with SIPs, so I cant really guess what the outcome would be.

Is there any data anywhere about basket size and how saturated the potting mix becomes?

Thanks Much

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Container Strawberries - to SIP or not to SIP...,?

I don't have specific answers for you, but I'll share an idea I've been kicking around. I'm not 70 years old but I was trying to come up with a way to grow strawberries off the ground. This year, I tried coco-lined wire hanging baskets, but I think they dry out a little too easily in my local summer climate -- a bit too much. Those I had where convenient to water daily did pretty well. I also devised an overhead sprinkling irrigation for one of them by diverting a connection from the soaker hose for one of the veg beds. They were in partial shade to avoid mid-day sun.

I had white everbearing alpine strawberries in two of the baskets, and an unID'd everbearing/dayneutral variety in one. The alpines did better than the regular strawberry. I think they are more drought tolerant, and also manage better without constant feeding. The red one was overtly lush and green with foliage initially when I was dipping out of a 5 gal bucket with two goldfish in it for mosquito control to water with -- too much nitrogen, I think. Trouble with the red one was that something -- bird or chipmunk discovered it and started stealing berries.

I used 12 inch and 14 inch baskets, solidly filled with organic potting mix and tomato-tone buried in the bottom. They are heavy but holds plenty of soilmix. But it meant I needed sturdy hanging support.

I'm picturing re-purposed monkey bars or a ladder to hang the baskets in a series. This would allow draping a bird netting over the structure, possibly cinched closed below, for protection from pesky predators while allowing them to be insect pollinated.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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ID jit
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:00 am
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Re: Container Strawberries - to SIP or not to SIP...,?

Thanks for the input. I can see the monkey bars / ladder thing working well.

Don't know which strain of plants I am working with other than they are suppose to be ever-bearing. They are all descendants of a hanging strawberry planter thing which became the subject of a gravity check and were subsequently transplanted into a 1/2 whiskey barrel. Good thing is that I have a couple hundred plants to work with, ranging form 0 to 2 years old. Halloween night I trimmed the runners of the barrel again and am attempting to root the plants under LED "daylight" bulbs. Seems to be going okay so far. What I am going to do with another maybe 50 plants is sort of an unanswered question, but better to have them and not need them, I guess.

Haven't been able to find much about growing strawberries in SIPs. Haven't actually found a lot about SIPs that wasn't along the lines of "this is one way to build them". Most of what I have found has been oriented about building them as inexpensively as possible and/or creative materials usage.

So, my current thinking is that I am getting tired of searching for detailed answers and that I am just going to have to make my best guess and go with it. This means I will probably end up with SIPs with 3" of water in the bottom, 1" air gap and two 2" wells/baskets equidistantly centered down into the water for water migration.

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Allyn
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: Container Strawberries - to SIP or not to SIP...,?

I would try anything in a SiP. I've been successful growing my whole garden in SiPs this year. I haven't done strawberries yet, but it's on my list of things to do.

This is a thread that might be helpful:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 21&t=60946

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ID jit
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:00 am
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Re: Container Strawberries - to SIP or not to SIP...,?

Thanks for the link. That is where I learned about SIPs.



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