Growing berries in containers is fun and easy, and there are lots of great varieties of berry plants that will thrive in pots. In this post, I get to share a fun and easy DIY berry container garden project with you, and show you exactly how to make your own!
My friend, Jessica Walliser, just came out with a new book all about container gardening, and it’s wonderful! I’m so excited to be able to share an excerpt from the book with you… how to make a berry container garden!
The following is an excerpt from Container Gardening Complete by Jessica Walliser. The book excerpt and all photos in this post were used here with permission from both Jessica Walliser and Quarto Publishing. I was also provided with a review copy of the book at no charge.
Beginner’s Berry Garden
You don’t need a lot of room to grow berries. This container planting combines two of the most popular small fruits—blueberries and strawberries, into one container.
Though the two have slightly different soil requirements (blueberries like more acidic soil), they both do quite well in a peat-based potting soil and compost blend with a bit of acid specific fertilizer mixed in.
A little extra care is required to see this container through the winter if you live where temperatures regularly dip below freezing.
Blueberries have wide, shallow, fibrous root systems, so you don’t need a particularly deep container to grow them. This makes galvanized utility tubs the perfect blueberry-growing vessels.
- 6- or 28-gallon galvanized metal utility tub
- Enough 50/50 potting soil and compost blend to fill the tub
- 1 cup granular fertilizer, formulated specifically for acid-loving plants
- Blueberry plant
- 10 to 15 strawberry plants
- Scratch awl
- Eye protection
How To Make A Beginner’s Berry Garden
Step 1: Flip the metal tub over and use the hammer to pound the tip of the scratch awl through the bottom of the tub in six to eight places to create drainage holes.
Fill the tub with the potting soil blend to within an inch of the tub’s upper rim. Mix the cup of acid-specific granular fertilizer into the growing mix, being sure to incorporate it throughout.
Step 2: Plant a single blueberry bush in the center of the tub.
Pay careful attention to the type of blueberry you select, because not all of them are suited to container culture. For the best results, look for a variety of blueberry that’s been bred to grow well in containers.
Larger varieties will quickly out-grow the space. Self-pollinating miniature blueberry varieties, such as ‘Top Hat’, ‘Jelly Bean’™, and ‘Blueberry Glaze’™ that top out at 18 to 24 in. are a perfect fit for northern regions.
In southern climates, use a rabbiteye variety of blueberry instead (just plan on planting two berry tubs because rabbit-eyes are not self-fertile and need a pollination partner).
Step 3: Plant ten to fifteen strawberry plants around the base of the blueberry bush, spacing them 3 to 6 in. apart.
If possible, choose an ever-bearing variety that will produce a constant harvest of fruit from early summer through autumn. Also be on the lookout for varieties with natural disease resistance.
Water the plants well and continue to care for them throughout the growing season. Some folks recommend you pinch off all the strawberry flowers during the first growing season to strengthen the plant roots, but with container-grown strawberries, it’s okay to allow the plants to produce berries their first season.
NOTE: When winter arrives, it’s important to give your berry tub a little added protection by surrounding the metal tub with a ring of chicken wire or cattle fencing that’s about 2 to 3 feet wider than the tub and the same height.
Stuff some straw, hay, or autumn leaves between the tub and the fence to insulate the roots. Do not cover the top of the tub or plants, or you might inadvertently promote fungal diseases.
Remove the fencing and insulating materials the following season, 4 to 6 weeks before the last expected frost. When you remove the fencing, it’s a good time to make an additional yearly fertilization of 1⁄2 cup of granular, acid-specific fertilizer.
So, are you ready to tackle your very own berry garden? Having fresh berries in your backyard will not only save you money, you’ll have better quality fruit at your fingertips!
If you’re interested in container gardening, then you definitely need a copy of Container Gardening Complete. Pick up your copy today by clicking this link.
More Posts About Container Gardening
- How To Make Potting Soil For Container Gardening (with recipe!)
- Container Gardening Tips For Lush & Gorgeous Summer Pots
- Choosing Plants For Container Gardening (Made Easy!)
- How To Clean Terracotta Pots (In 3 Easy Steps!)
- How To Paint Terracotta Pots Step-By-Step
Share your berry container gardening tips in the comments section below.