I found a rusted-out wheelbarrow on trash day, and I needed a way to plant strawberries that would allow me to move them around, depending on the heat and sun each day, so it seemed only logical to pair the two together, right?
Also see this DIY Strawberry Arbor. It combines a privacy and shade arbor with vertical growing space.
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Grab an Old Wheelbarrow—Rusted Out Holes are Good
These wheelbarrows are popular in this area and all of them end up on the curb with the same rusted out container or barrel. And, you know what the hole means? Instant drainage. Perfect!
I opted to spray paint the metal parts green, as you’ll see.
First, here’s a quick video overview of the project:
How to Make a Wheelbarrow Planter
Line the Barrel
I completely forgot to snap photos while I was working, but, to convert the barrel into a planting container, I added a piece of 1/4″ hardware cloth for the bottom (see it here on Amazon—check if someone you know has scraps laying around since you only need a little piece the size of the container), and then lined the wheelbarrow with landscape fabric.
Landscape fabric is a rather horrible idea for use in actual garden beds—as it gradually clings to weeds and makes it impossible to pull them out—but I do find it useful for lining garden containers. I also used it to make this repurposed birdfeeder planter.
Double Decker Planter
I wanted a container that would allow me to grow a good number of strawberries, accommodate runners (which become new plants), and still be portable. Our weather can swing from cool to broiling hot and I’ve lost plants in the past because they were stuck in one location. With this planter, I will move it from shade to sun as needed.
I made the wooden planter box to fit over the wheelbarrow, with the feet of the planter snug against the sides to keep it securely in place. The wood is old 1×12 barn board and there are 2×2 scraps of wood securing each corner. The bottom of the box is just hardware cloth (attached with a heavy duty staples and staple gun) and the entire box is lined with landscape cloth. This will help keep moisture in (while still allowing bottom drainage) and, I hope, help protect the untreated wood to allow a longer lifespan.
Make a Giant Wooden Strawberry
I wanted a cute sign for the planter box but the word STRAWBERRIES was too long so I opted to make a giant strawberry instead. Of course.
Using a scrap of 1×12 barn board, I sketched a strawberry shape on the wood and cut it out with a jig saw (this is the one I have and it cuts like butter / ‘budda’).
If this detail has you reaching for the back button, just hold on a minute.
Power tools can bring your DIY projects to a whole new level. It really opens up so many possibilities when you can use a power saws, drills, sanders, and more. If you’re nervous but interested, here’s a pep talk just for you.
And no, you’re not a wimp for fearing power tools. That’s what sensible people do! And that’s why we learn to use them responsibly and confidently so we can kick some major creative DIY butt along the way.
I used an exterior wood primer and then painted the strawberry with acrylic craft paints.
When everything was dry, I added a few thin coats of exterior Mod Podge to protect it.
The strawberry is attached to the planter with a wood screw (right through the middle of the white flower).
Grow Lots of Strawberries
I have four types of strawberries growing here. All of them are perpetual or everbearing, meaning they will fruit throughout the growing season.
If you want a quick understanding of strawberries and how to grow them, this should help.
I like using actual straw around the plants, to keep moisture in and protect the berries from rotting on the soil, but I didn’t have any so I used wood chip mulch instead.
When I grow strawberries on the ground, the wild rabbits tend to help themselves to the fruit. In this setup, the squirrels seem to be the culprits (based on the size of the bite marks). Although I will reserve some blame for my annoying but cute nemesis, the chipmunk, as well.
I am thinking about making a cloche out of hardware cloth to sit over the whole thing to give me some chance of enjoying the fruit when it’s ripe.
The Price Was Right
The whole project cost me nothing more than the cost of the strawberry plants. Otherwise, the wheelbarrow came from the trash, the planter box was made from scrap wood, and I had leftover hardware cloth, landscape fabric, and craft supplies on hand.
If you don’t have odd supplies like this laying around, you may have to thrift or yard sale shop for them to keep it frugal and fun.
I’ll be sure to share photos when the plants are larger and show off the cloche (if I do indeed need to make one to keep the critters from eating everything).
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛