Vertical Strawberry Wall

Ok, not an entire wall!

I watched an episode of Growing a Greener World which was all about living walls, and immediately I knew I wanted to try this with strawberries. When I ordered bare-root raspberries and blueberries, I also ordered 100 bare-root strawberry plants in anticipation of this project.

The fruit came yesterday. I left it in the boxes overnight, then around 7 this morning I unwrapped everything and put it into buckets of water to rehydrate.

The blueberries (Jubilee and Misty varieties) and raspberries (Latham) were planted in the conventional way, in open spots that get morning sun and afternoon shade, but we made a living wall with the strawberries.

First we needed a pallet. When we went to the hardware store to ask if they had any available, they said "how many can you take?" so pallets are easy to find. The first step is to wash it and make sure it's not made of yucky or treated wood.

You'll need landscape fabric, a plywood sheet, plastic sheeting, and lightweight potting soil. You'll also need some way to attach the pallet to the wall; we used L-brackets.

Here's the place we decided to put the living wall. This is Adam's Make-A-Wish train shed. I removed the train signs (he'll keep them inside the shed), and we marked out our spot.

Then we got the sawhorses in place and started working on the back of the pallet. First we attached the landscape fabric, then the plastic sheeting, with our staple gun. Then the plywood went on with screws. We also made a bottom panel out of some leftover tongue-and-groove from the chicken coop and drilled drainage holes in it. After the back was complete, we lifted it up and made sure we knew where we wanted it to go. Tom did some prep work with the brackets.

Then we turned the pallet over and dumped in two cubic feet of potting soil. We spread that out, then untangled the 100 bare-root strawberry plants (I got two June bearing varieties, Allstar and Honeoye, and two Everbearing varieties, Eversweet and Tristar) and spread them out on top of the dirt. Then we filled in with another bag of potting soil.

Next we had to mount this behemoth. This took three strong people. Tom putting in some brackets beforehand was genius, as we could rest it there. Plenty of dirt spilled out during this stage. After the pallet was secure, Tom finished bolting it to the studs of the shed.

I planted the top with several leftover plants, and packed dirt in. Watering it was a little scary, as lots of dirt fell out. I imagine as I water it (and it's going to need a lot of water, as it's in full sun against a white background), and over time, I'll have to add dirt.

Now that we've done this once, I'd like to do another living wall with coleus for our front porch, which gets only one hour of sun per day. I'd like to modify the pallet so that it stands up on feet. I can see lots of uses for this kind of planting.

Here are the raspberries and blueberries, planted with plenty of compost. It was a fruit day, for sure!