By Crystal Smith

Strawberry plants require five to six hours of full sunlight, good soil and water to grow and produce fruit. With such a small list of requirements, it’s easy to experiment with containers and places to grow your fruit that not only keep your plants happy, but also look exciting and fresh.

The old-fashioned strawberry barrel is simple to make and can hold a large number of plants, depending on the size. Any barrel or large cylindrical container will do, such as a keg, steel drum or large plastic garbage can. Punch some holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. Create small holes along the side of the barrel in rows, for the strawberry plants to grow out of, about 2 to 4 inches in diameter each. Cover the bottom of the container with stones, then a layer of soil reaching up to the first row of holes. Tuck in your plants, letting the leaves and crown stay outside of the barrel, and the roots inside. Add more soil and repeat the process at the next level of holes.

Rather than planting your strawberries straight into the ground, use wooden boxes. Whether elevated to avoid ground frost, or built to hook over a balcony, strawberries in a window box can brighten up the view. Make sure there is good drainage, such as small holes in the bottom of the box. Smaller, more portable boxes can be moved into sheltered areas during the winter and prolong the life of your plants.

Old garden equipment gets second life as a strawberry planter. The only tricky part is creating drainage so that the plants don’t sit in water; however, a few holes drilled in the bottom of the container can fix that. Wheelbarrows never look out of place in a garden setting, especially full of blooming strawberry plants. Watering cans, even those with small openings, are also implemented to grow strawberries, and placed throughout your garden.

Growing strawberries upside down may seem topsy-turvy at first, but actually has interesting benefits besides being aesthetically interesting. Use a bucket or plastic container, and cut a small 2- to 4-inch hole in the bottom. If the container is large, you may be able to cut a few holes in the bottom. Tuck in the roots of the strawberry plant into the hole, securing it in place by packing newspaper strips around the hole to stop it from falling out. Fill the bucket with soil, and hang. Water your plants from the open top of the container and let gravity do its work.