In order to optimize the use of my small balcony, I built a strawberry suspended garden. It does not look as pretty as in my dreams, but it seems to make the job. As in software, nothing is great before version 3.

Overview

Woodwork

I am pretty happy with the woodwork. I made the whole using cheap 34mm fir wood. I tried making as much assemblies done directly in wood and only a few nail guaranty it does not move along time, but it holds without them. Assemblies were made by carving a hole in both parts of the assembly. It is half of the thicknes deep, wide the width of the other part, and traverse the part.

The resistence of the top part quite impressed me as I could suspend myself to it. The vertical strength in the middle which should easily twist the large horizontal bean (which is 34mm only) actually pulls the vertical piece, and the strength is redirected to an horizontal one. All that with only wood.

Top part

I am a bit scared it could fall during wind episodes, its feet not being very large and the frame being attached to them only with iron wire (seen on the sides of the overview). I tried linking feet and frame with small wood rafter but my feet were so small it was not stable.

Strawberries

This is the part in which is to me a failure.

I tried using rubble bags. I don’t really know if is a great idea to have something non imprevious, but I hope it will limit moisture. But the real pain point was using to big bags. I tried sewing the first vertically to reduce its radius and using iron wire to give it the shape I expected. It included making circles of wire evenly spaced by some other wire. I thought this vertical wire was required to give resistance to the whole, but at the end it is so badly adjusted that it does not bring any strength.

First bag

For the second try, I avoided the vertical sewing by thinking the bag growing around wire circle would lock everything in place. It was just a worse idea, and it looks ugly. But then I discovered it holds the best by doing a knot at the top. ANd that vertical wire is not necessary as the bag is quite strong.

Second bag

The strategy I would use next time is sewing vertically to give the bag it’s expected radius (or better, find bags with proper size), relax the pressure on the sewing by doing iron wire circles, but no need for the vertical thing. And just doing a knot at the top to hold it.

To fill bags, I just started putting clay in them until I arrived at the place I wanted a plant. I then did a small hole in the bag and put the strawberry from the inside, just passing leafs through the hole. And then continuing filling with clay until the next milestone. I put four plants in a bag and two in another, expected to reproduce the two using stolons so that I eventually have four plants per bag.

To water them I cut a small hole on top, near the knot and I just put water in there. I think I should have put a pipe in the middle to bring water lower in the bag.

## Next

I will build another bag to put in the middle, with the final strategy I settled on and a pipe in the middle. For this one I would like to build a moisture level sensor, to know when to water them.