QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. USDA Hardiness Zones - 4 to 10.
2. Planting Distance - In-ground 12 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.
3. Mature Height/Spread - 6 to 8 inches the first year with each plant lightly filling in a one square foot area and throwing out runners (new baby plants) in multiple directions. By the second year, each plant is thickly filling in the original one square foot area and expanding outward.
4. Bloom Time - Early summer with intermittent fruit through fall.
5. Planting Instructions - Proper planting depth is important. For planting in Deco Tower” see “Quick Reference”. For in-ground planting see “Continuing Care”.
Note: Your plants were shipped to you in a dormant state and will burst into growth after planting. This is their normal appearance upon shipment. While you may get fruit the first season, the more bountiful early and late summer crops will be heavier after the first year in the ground. Strawberries can be a bit slow to produce depending on when they were planted and the individual growing conditions.
GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT
Your Strawberry Planter will allow you to grow your strawberry plants in any sunny spot in your garden, on your patio, porch or balcony. The unique advantage of these everbearing strawberries planted in the Deco Tower is that they are both practical and ornamental. They can easily be moved to a new location to give added interest.
Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Fruits and Vegetables. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
QUICK REFERENCE FOR PLANTING THE DECO TOWER
1. Please read the instructions on assembly and use of the Deco Tower trays before you proceed with the following planting instructions. There are several ways in which you can use the 'set' as a unit. It can also be broken up for more than one application which may be more applicable to your own design ideas.
2. Prepare to plant: set out each of the stackable plant trays on newspaper or plastic before you fill with the Growers' Formula in order to capture any mix that falls out on the floor or ground. This mat will allow you to collect the spilled mix and put it back into the bag or trays. Open the bag of custom potting mix and fill each of the planters to a level slightly below the top to allow for watering.
3. To plant: poke a hole in the potting mix in the center of each of the three 'wings' on each tray. The hole can be made with your finger, a large dibble, or a large screwdriver.
4. Place one plant in each hole with the roots spread. Be certain to keep the top (crown) of the plant at ground level. Cover the roots with potting mix and continue to work until all the trays have been planted.
5. Firm the soil around the plants with your fingers and add any soil as needed. Water thoroughly. Some potting mix may spill out until thoroughly moistened so care must be taken to water gently. Check soil moisture frequently as container plantings tend to dry out more frequently than plants in the ground.
Sun - Because Strawberries need full sun it is important to give your container a half-turn twice weekly.
Watering - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground. Do not allow plants in containers to dry out. In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.
Planting in ground - When planting in ground, proper depth of a plant is important. Create a shallow hole 12 inches wide and spread the Strawberry roots almost flat, adjusting the height of the crown, carefully keeping it just above ground level. Cover with soil so the bed is level and then water thoroughly.
Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Pruning - In the first year, your strawberries will produce flowers that will result in a few berries. For best results, keep the blooms pinched off the first year so your plants develop a stronger root system to produce better fruit the following years.
Special Note: Trim off the long, vine-like “runners” that hold the blossoms as this will promote better fruiting. Your plants put all their energy into producing these runners instead of fruit. After pinching off these “runners”, plant them and they will grow into mature plants. Continue to pinch off any “runners” each growing season.
Feeding - Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in spring and feed every 2-3 weeks.
Winterizing - Strawberries require little if any winter protection. When temperatures fall below freezing, move your container into an unheated garage or a cool basement and lightly water them once every 7-10 days to keep the soil from drying out.
For in-ground plants apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straw, or leaves to in-ground plantings to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.
In spring, remove mulch from in-ground plantings. Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.
Your set includes three (3) pots, three (3) reservoir trays, one (1) drip tray, one (1) polyester rope with loop and one (1) support disc.
(Step 1) Insert one reservoir tray into each pot.
(Step 2) Nest all three pots inside of each other and place them on the drip try.
(Step 3) Slide the rope into the center hole of the top pot and through the additional pots until it exits the bottom of the drip tray.
*NOTE: Be sure that the looped portion of the rope is at the top.
(Step 4) Slide the support disc onto the rope below the drip tray.
(Step 5) Tie an overhand knot in the rope approximately 1 inch below the drip tray.
(Step 6) Slide the support disc down to the knot.
(Step 7) Arrange the pots in a stacked formation (see image below) by rotating the tiers so that they lock into each other. Pull the rope until the support disc seats into the central cone of the drip tray.
(Step 8) Fill the pots with soil and install plants according to their specific planting instructions.
(Step 9) Install a hook into a location that is able to support approximately 35 pounds. Suspend Deco Tower form the hook.
If you do not wish to hang the Deco Tower. Simply stack the three pots on top of one another (as pictured above) and omit the installation of the rope.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.