Use an old wooden barrel or any other sturdy barrel that has been thoroughly washed. Avoid vinegar or dill pickle barrels.
Remove all hoops that interfere with hole drilling necessary to set the strawberry plants. Locate the first row of holes about 5 inches below the top of the barrel. The next row should be 6 to 8 inches beneath the top row and so on until the bottom row is about 8 inches above the bottom of the barrel. Bore 1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter holes spaced about 8 inches apart in each row. Stagger the holes so plants are not directly above or below plants in the neighboring rows. Bore 5 or 6 holes, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter in the bottom of the barrel. These holes provide drainage and should be near the center of the barrel.
A wooden platform equipped with casters allows the barrel to be turned so all plants may be exposed to the sun. A base of bricks would be an acceptable alternative.
Place a 2 inch layer of pebbles, coarse gravel, or broken flower pots in the bottom of the barrel. Then fill the barrel with loam or sandy loam up to the bottom row of holes. Pack the soil firmly and insert plants into the lowest row of holes, so the plant crowns are even with the surface of the barrel. Place only one plant in each hole. Everbearing varieties are preferred. Spread the roots out and cover them with soil. Follow the same procedure with the other rows. Pack the soil rather firmly to prevent excessive settling when the barrel is watered. Finally, set 6 or 8 plants in the top of the barrel.
When the barrel is one-third full of soil, place on end, in the center of the barrel, a 3 or 4 inch tile, metal pipe, or wooden channel, long enough to extend up to the soil surface. This tube must contain holes to allow for the circulation of both air and water.
After planting, thoroughly moisten the soil by running a hose in the open center or tube, and filling it with water. Do this often enough to keep the soil fairly moist but not water-logged. The top row of plants is watered by applying water onto the soil surface.
A small handful of 12-12-12 fertilizer be applied every 2 or 3 weeks when watering. Avoid applications that are too large or too frequent. Stop fertilizing about September first.
In winter move the barrel into a building or cover it with several inches of straw.
Pyramid and Terraced Beds
These beds are made in a wide variety of shapes. Metal, wood, concrete or almost any material can be used for the retaining walls. The beds are 8 to 12 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches above the one below. One row of plants, spaced 10 to 12 inches apart is used in each tier.
Terraced beds require more room than a barrel. They are normally more productive and easier to make and care for. Soil, fertilizer, location, and plants are the same as for the barrel.