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How to build a strawberry tower ... you stack pots.

Space-saving and productive, this strawberry tower constructed by volunteers at the Fullerton Arboretum in Southern California provides plenty of soil for root development and retains moisture essential for quality fruit production. Put it together following the directions below, or watch a demonstration at the arboretum on January 19; call (714) 773-3579 for details. Tower construction You'll need six 16-inch-diameter durable plastic pots (about $10 each at nurseries), a 10-foot length of 3/4-inch-diameter metal pipe, about 8 feet of 1/2-inch flexible poly tubing, and elbows, Ts, and emitters. Using a portable blowtorch, heat the end of a metal pipe and use it to melt two holes in each pot-one in the center and another about 3 inches away. In a sunny location, drive the 10-foot pipe 4 feet into the ground. Thread the bottom pot onto the pipe through the center hole and slip the poly tubing through the second hole (a PVC elbow joint in the tubing just below ground level enables it to make a right-angle turn from the water source into the pots). Fill the pot with premoistened soil mix. Repeat for all but the top container, which you fill and plant when the drip system is completed (see below). To encourage drainage, the soil mix in the bottom three containers is 1/4 peat moss, 1/2 perlite, and 1/4 garden soil; in the top three containers, it's 1/4 peat moss, 1/4 perlite, and 1/2 garden soil. About 1/2 inch in from the perimeter of each container, evenly space six to eight bare-root strawberry plants (available in nurseries this month). Completing the drip system Cut poly tubing to about 3 inches below the container rim, then attach a PVC elbow so the open end faces the center pipe. Insert a short piece of tubing with a 1/2-gph emitter into the other end of the elbow, then attach a compression T to it. In the open ends of the T, insert short sections of tubing, and in those insert 1/2gph emitters (see picture at top right). As an alternative, clamp off the tubing midway into the top container and insert three or four 12-inch strands of microtubing. Insert an emitter in the end of each strand and position strands so they will be evenly spaced between each pair of plants. When the system is complete, fill top pot with soil mix and add the plants. The top container will dry out quickly until the strawberry plants grow to form a living mulch; cover soil surface with plastic to retain moisture.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1991
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