How to Make a Strawberry Lettuce Crate Tower, Growing Vertically//Small Space Garden Series #4

hi everyone welcome back to the small
space garden series where we’re here again where I’ve taped off a 7 by 11
area of my deck we’re pretending that we’re growing on an apartment balcony
and learning how to grow a lot of food in a little bit of space well today
we’re going to build ourselves a strawberry lettuce crate tower we’re
going to maximize every square inch of growing space that we have and grow
vertically so we can double or triple the amount of food we grow in this small
space if you haven’t yet started your small space garden don’t worry it’s not
too late to jump in and join us now for this series I’m growing seeds from my
small space seed collection 10 container friendly varieties compact vegetables so
head over to my website pick one up and jump in with us and I also want to thank
smart pots for partnering with us and for making this series possible you know
what we do next us clear the space and get started well this is gonna be a lot
of fun I love the crate ours basically what it is is three crates stacked on
top of each other and we’re gonna put this smart pots crate liner inside to
hold the soil fill it with plants fill it with drip irrigation it’s gonna grow
look beautiful and you’re gonna be able to grow a ton of food in it we’re going
to start with three of these plastic storage crates which you can pick up at
Target Walmart I picked one up on Amazon and I made it simple for you by popping
the link in the video description and these are gonna get stacked up and we’re
gonna grow food through the holes so it’s gonna look really pretty we’re
gonna line it with these crate liners from smart pots which just pop right in
here it’s very quick and simple to do this pops right in these are it’s an
aerated fabric so everything will drain right through all the water will drain
right through and we’re just going to get my sharp fabric scissors here and
cut holes so we can feed through the plants
I’m just gonna cut up snip a little hole here and then I’m just cutting like a
little X small little hole here in my crate liners
so all the soil doesn’t fall out but so that I can stick the plants through so
it looks really pretty the plants kind of spill over and fill in the space so
I’m just cutting a hole in the crate liner every other hole in the crate and
that way the plants have room to grow so I’ve got holes cutting my crate liners
for all three of my crates now don’t be afraid to experiment it’s not an exact
science you don’t have to get the holes perfect but what we’re gonna do now is
fill it with soil and plant as we go so I have here my container of soil you
know I like to pre moisten the soil so this is good dirt soil it’s nice and
light and fluffy so we’re gonna fill the bottom of one of the crates and fill it
about us well not even quite a third of the way full just get some soil on the
bottom of your crate maybe up to the first set of holes here here’s the first
set of holes soil is absolutely beautiful and I mean grab mother plants
we’re gonna get some plants in before I get my plants in I’m gonna add a couple
handfuls of vermis or worm castings I love how the worm castings makes my
plants lush and beautiful really helps with root development and it has a
natural growth hormone that helps them get off to a really good start so I’m
getting excited about this actually need to add just a little bit more soil and
this is gonna be my bottom crate in fact you don’t even really need to poke holes
in the bottom I’m gonna start with the second level cuz these are gonna hang
down and I don’t want them dragging on the ground so in the first or the second
set of holes here I’m gonna plant a couple of strawberries oh my goodness I
love growing fresh strawberries these are absolutely beautiful now these
actually picked up at the garden center this is a Sequoia variety of strawberry
which is a June bearing strawberry which means it’s going to bear you a nice crop
of strawberries in the springtime so these are going to just stick right
through the whole fact we might need to cut our hold just a little bit bigger
cuz I ended up buying a little bit larger the plants
and I have planned on it’s going to make this whole little bit bigger so don’t be
afraid to make adjustments along the way that’s what gardening is all about is
just experimenting and making it work for you so I’m just gonna feed it
through the hole here and don’t be afraid to squeeze your plant and just
shove it right back in here these strawberries are very resilient you can
see I’m just feeding it back through my other hand is there to grab it and I’m
just setting it down in the soil here so we’ll get another strawberry going I’m
getting excited about this so now I’m just gonna spin the crate around and do
the same thing on the other side so now that I’ve got the first level planted
I’m going to add more soil and more worm castings to bring it up to the next
place we’re going to put the plants now in the next level on my crate I’m gonna
plant some lettuce so we’re gonna have everything we need for a beautiful
strawberry lettuce salad now these seeds I started inside just
about two weeks ago this is a beautiful red romaine lettuce it’s a variety I
have in my small space seed collection isn’t that gorgeous I can’t wait to see
it growing here in the tower so we’re gonna fill this in right here where I’ve
cut the other holes so I’m just gonna peel the netting off the pellet see the
lettuce grows beautifully in the small 1-inch pellets so get yourself some
started inside if you haven’t yet and then in about two weeks you’ll be able
to get them planted outdoors now the red romaine is a heat tolerant variety so
that’s one reason why I’m planting that in here because it’s getting warm here
in California and that’ll help my lettuce tower keep on growing through
the heat now the end of the crate has a little larger of a hole so it’s a
perfect spot for another strawberry and the nice thing about growing
strawberries and lettuce together in these crates that strawberries are a
perennial they will continue to grow in these crates for several seasons giving
you beautiful red strawberries and lettuce is a cool weather loving plant
so it’ll do perfectly in the spring grow some for you in the summer and then as
your lettuce crop is finished you can replace it with some other more heat
tolerant vegetables like kale all charred or even some herbs it would
be an absolutely gorgeous spot to plant herbs as well so we’re just gonna top
this off with soil and with our drip irrigation as I always like to say the
key to a productive garden is consistent watering and for me drip irrigation is
the way to go saves me time saves me money and helps to keep my garden very
productive so we’re actually going to install this quarter inch drip emitter
hose on the top of every one of our crates here so it gets the water that it
means so I’m basically just going to coil this hose around the middle of the
crate here and then we’re going to connect it up with our drip irrigation
system so I’m just installing it in here with the landscape staples so basically
I’ve just caught one of these drip emitter hoses to fit this crate then
we’re going to feed it up to our water supply and up to our next crate we’ve
got our first crate belt and getting excited about this what we’re gonna do
now is just let the camera roll build out the other two crates so I’ve got all three towers built out
with plants and it is looking good I was able to fit 24 strawberry plants and
close to 50 lettuce plants so we are gonna grow a ton of food in here and let
me just show you what I did I put the drip irrigation on top of each of the
towers and this is going to be the top tower I planted for strawberry plants in
the top and my drip irrigation is in here but I did just cover the top with
some extra soil look at these strawberries I mean it’s fun to buy
plants from the garden center that are already producing so these will be right
in just a couple of weeks but this lettuce here will be ready to pick in
just a week or two – also now what I’m going to do is just stack up the towers
I’m gonna grab my my drip tray here and remember this is just an old wreath
storage container that I caught on clearance to use for a drip tray and
I’ll take my bottom Tower which I believe was this one here
set that down in here and as I go I’m gonna be hooking up my drip irrigation
the second tower on top set it down in there and I’m gonna feed my drip
irrigation tube from the bottom tower up through the bottom here and I’m gonna
connect one of these black supply lines that doesn’t have drip emitters use one
of these little barbed connectors I like to use my little lighter here to soften
up the tube makes the little connectors a whole lot easier to slide right in probably would be easier to do this
before I stack the towers put the connector on before I stack the towers
but you know it’s the way it goes you just make it work by installing the drip
irrigation and every single one of the towers just ensure that it gets the
water that it needs to keep on producing for you okay then I’m going to feed that
up through the crate now on the second crate I’m going to connect the two lines
here with this little three-way connector because I’m going to feed
another supply line going up to the third crate from this connection right
here the black one is my supply line the
brown one is the line that has my drip emitters in it and you can see here that
I have fed the brown line or I have tapped down the brown line all around
the containers edges that way the plants around the edges get the water they need
and I plugged off the end with one of these little goof plugs so all the water
doesn’t just come running out okay second crate is looking good I’m
going to go ahead and take my supply line now that will feed up to my third
crate and connect it to my little barbed connector now we’re gonna get our top
grade on this is looking good this is getting exciting
so feeding my supply line up here so I get my crate stacked Wow look at those
strawberries I’ll feed this up in through a crate hook up our irrigation
and we are all set go cut our drip emitter line to size again here we’re
gonna use one of these 3-way barb connectors and this is what we’re going to connect
to our main water line okay what I’m gonna do now is I’m going to put my
strawberry let us create our over here in a shady spot so don’t be afraid to
make adjustments along the way in your spot small space garden now the reason
why I’m putting it in a shady spot is because lettuce likes the cool weather
and the Sun is just gonna be too hot for it so I’m just gonna move this little
cucumber plant over here where it’s a sunnier spot for the cucumber and we’re
gonna scoot our lettuce tower back and so I’ve got my main water supply line
here and I’m gonna hook that up to my little connector here remember how we
put a 3-way connector in here for a purpose
this little quarter inch tube right here it goes to my water line you’re gonna
hook that in and you can also hook up your water line at the bottom of the
crate if you’d right if you’d rather do that but notice here how I have a little
extra line in case I want to move my crate around so I’m just gonna push it
into place oh this is looking good it’s got berries on it already the lettuce is
gonna grow in nicely now that I have my plants in I’m gonna get them off to a
good start with some Verma stare at warm tea so I’m just gonna add three ounces
to my watering can stir it around and this worm tea is gonna give my plants
beneficial bacteria and microbes help with root development help protect
against pests and diseases and really get them off to a good start you can
pick them up at vermis Ericom and use my code Cali Kim for a 10% discount well
the small space garden is really taking shape or maximizing all the vertical
growing space we have so we can grow a lot of food and a little bit of space
and look at how the progress of my tiny tim tomato is coming along it’s starting
to get red we actually had a little casualty with this this week see how the
stem broke off right there something fell on it and I’ve taped it together
with a little skewer and hopefully this will make it but the tomato is getting
ripe our little smart pots five-gallon is doing really well thanks again smart
paws for partnering with us on this series head over to smart pots comm for
more information on them and check the video description links for
all the supplies I used now that I want you to do is to get some seeds started
head over to pick up a small space seed collection
and start growing yourself some foods comment below let me know how your small
space garden is doing thanks for watching we’ll see on the next video


  1. skewed vision Author

    Is there a reason you didn't feed the seedlings through from inside? I would think pushing the stems and leave through would be easier.

  2. Jason L Author

    Thanks for making this video Kim, I really like this idea! I was just wondering, how do you grow new plants from runners in the crate tower?

  3. Richard Miesell Author

    A great idea, and adding lettuce is clevor as well. How about purslane? They say the leaves are edible and full with nutrients. Great for salads they say.

  4. Angela Walton-Raji Author

    QUESTION: How does one water the tower if they don't have a drip irrigation system? Does one simply remove the towers–watering the bottom crate,then the middle one, then the top one? I ask because many (like me) don't have a drip system, and I can imagine that many apartment dwellers do not have access to a water hydrant to set up a drip system. What is the most efficient method?

  5. Robin Poupard Author

    My seedlings don't look half as lush as yours in the big peat pots! But…I've had them outside for a week or more now and they do look strong so I am going to plant them in the Smart Pots in the next couple of days. I'm waiting for more worm tea and castings! Crossing my fingers that we have a good tomato and pepper crop this year as I did not do very well last year. This time they will be in our back yard rather than the Community Garden which will get to 800 degrees, I'm sure, this summer!! lol

  6. Journey Soul Author

    Hi Cali how are you doing came across your channel I like how you explain everything and so detail. I been growing a strawberry Plant for many years. I'm going to do the milk carts especially since my children love strawberries. Wanted to know if I do not do the water irrigation how will my strawberries do. Keep in mind I live in Brooklyn.

  7. SantaAnaRoadWildman Author

    Kim's strawberry crate towers are by far the most efficient & productive way to grow strawberries. Also, I had no idea SmartPots made a crate liner! I have a "purpose" terra cotta strawberry planter. It dries out daily in the summer as it wicks moisture away from the plants. I will have to re-purpose it as a succulent planter!

  8. Daniel Łapczynski Author

    I never thought it would be so easy to connect drip and make a tower. Now for sure I'm making that. You learn something new everyday!!

  9. Joe's GardenNBees Author

    I love the crate liners. Never wanted a crate tower until you introduced the liners on your channel. I have a new project. I cannot think of a better way to grow strawberries.

  10. CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY Author

    Let me know if you are going to build strawberry lettuce crate towers in your garden – thanks for watching!
    MY BOOK: Organic Gardening for Everyone: Homegrown Vegetables Made Easy – Signed, personalized copies available at
    CaliKim Seed Collections and CaliKim Smart Pots:
    Good Dirt Indoor Potting Mix: 10% off with code “calikim10” 
    Smart Pots containers (excluding CK Smart Pots): 10% off w/ code “calikim” at 
    Vermisterra Worm Castings, Worm Tea: 10% off w/ code “calikim” at
    Thanks for watching!

  11. nixiesena Author

    My plants have been growing inside under a grow light waiting for warmer weather to plant. My plants are doing well but it is cold again. It may be Mother's Day before I actually break ground.

  12. Burlap Garden Gal Author

    I put together a 5 create strawberry and lettuce tower a month ago before I knew about the smart pot liners, that would of so much better to have had those liners. I am thinking about stacking 3 more towers because I can't get enough strawberries, if I decided to do this I will definitely get those liners, another great idea smart pots.

  13. Sunil Sarkale Author

    Hii mam as the small space garden series are going on please plant beetroot,knol khol, radish,onion for small space . And please make hand pollination video . I have ordered all seeds combo online and super excited for growing them and make a short video for starting seedlings in small paper cups. Thank you mam

  14. Mari :) Author

    I just finished setting up most of my drip irrigation system and by the looks of this video it's going to have a new strawberry crate addition to it 😊

  15. Jumpoff A Author

    I love it. I ran out of space in my raised garden, but, now I an put up a crate tower(s) and I have lots of room for them. I can even plant butternut squash on the top and have a trellis close by to have the plants have room to stretch out. Thanks Kim for the great idea. I'll start tomorrow. 🙂

  16. Barbara Carbone Author

    I have a question….you said you will keep the lettuce/strawberry tower in the shade bc it's too hot for the lettuce. But don't the strawberries need a lot of sun?

  17. Munazza Saeed Author

    Wow its an amazing idea to grow plants in a small space really appreciated your effort.Keep on going and have healthy wealthy garden.

  18. Kenzie Louise Author

    Kim the garden is coming together so nice 👍🏻 I’m so happy for all of these videos I live in an apartment so it’s helpful to know you can grow vertically

  19. shaxs Author

    Hi Kim! Been a long time since I have commented, but thanks for all the videos! Quick question, why use a line with drip emmiters instead of a 1/4 soaker hose? I need to find a way to water my vertical strawberry wall. My holes are 10" a part and the one you listed had emmiters every 9". I was just going to use a 1/4 soaker hose in the channels, but a hose with built in emmiters is interesting. Kind of like drip tape. Here are some pictures:

    Also, I may have a strawberry problem. I have over 400 plants this year including 9 different varieties. I put those suckers anywhere I can fit them 😂

  20. Marsha Balderrama Author

    Hi Kim, can you tell me what mix of soil you put? My crate strawberries are doing good on top, but the bottom strawberries are looking like they need nitrogen. I applied Vermistera tea for a month now and no improvement. 😞

  21. Nina Cava Author

    Unfortunately I do not have enough plants to fill a crate like this haha, but I love this idea! I currently have a strawberry pot with pockets so I could utilize space there.

  22. Teresa Creamer Author

    HI Kim. You are truly an inspiration. Your strawberry lettuce tower looks amazingly beautiful. You have the best ideas. Thanks for making your videos.

  23. Prairie Plantgirl Author

    Great video. I love the towers, but the best part was the splint on the tomato plant 🍅. Keep us updated on how the patient makes out.

  24. Amanda Loewen Author

    Perfect timing! I was at my friends this evening, and we were talking about gardening. She said she needed to move here strawberries, I said do you know what a strawberry crate is? So I showed her your video. We're seriously gonna try this, totally love the idea of growing more in a small space. As we were talking I got your new video notification!

  25. Amanda Galvan Author

    I have about 6 strawberry 🍓 plants… four in a kind of window box container my husband built over my raised beds and two in pots… but this tower situation is brilliant! Maybe I can try it next year. Can you do a video on how strawberry plant runners create new plants?

  26. Jackie Horsley Author


  27. Nicki _in_CO Author

    That tower is going to be stunning all filled out! Have you ever had to do anything to protect the strawberries from birds or other yard critters?

  28. Sunil Sarkale Author

    Hi, mam want to tell you that I have grown Indian round tomato it is massive in size and taste fabulous hope you also plant them and the production goes on 12 month's continued. It's max size is big one plant yield 15 to 16 tomato per weeks. Thank you .

  29. Debbie Ventimiglia Author

    I really want to make the strawberry, lettuce crate planter, but what else could I use instead of the grow bag that's exspensive? And how to water it without using a drip irrigation hose? Thankyou soo much for your awesome vjdeos!!

  30. Advance Greenhouses Author

    This is a great idea. I have plenty of room so I have my strawberries in raised beds. I picked 2 huge colanders full yesterday. Nothing better than a fresh picked strawberry. Great to know that even people with limited space can enjoy fresh berries.

  31. little jk Author

    Hi Calikim, the Amazon link to the crater tower linear is $20 vs Smart Pot website at $8-$9. Will you have a promo code discount for viewers buying direct with Smart pot?

  32. Mary Greer Author

    Hi Kim. New to all this. 😁. I absolutely LOVE your videos!!! You are so awesome! Was wondering if you have a video on how to replace plants in these once those die. I couldn't find anything and would appreciate any advice. I want to put in bare root strawberries as replacement plant. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!

  33. cimwandaful Author

    I suppose it would also work to add the drip system after the fact? Waiting on mine to be delivered but my plants need to get in some soil now! Great idea!

  34. eisralowitz Author

    A couple of questions.
    1. Can you set this up any time of the year in SoCal? Specifically LA Basin area where it doesn't get too hot or cold.
    2. Do you have a video in how to do the drip irrigation system? I don't see lines running all over your patio so I'm not sure where you connected the system to.
    3. Any suggestions for strawberries who have brown tips? My homedepot garden center guy said I was watering too much, so I watered less and two of my plants died. If you are using a large bag how often should you be watering young strawberries? Are strawberries like herbs who like a sprinkle ever one to two days?
    4. What kind of potting soil do you recommend?
    5.. Also how can you sanitize the cloth pots between uses?
    6. Sorry last question, is the worm droppings good for all fruits and veggies? Several of my plants are having issues with leaf blight and I'm hoping this will help them be strong and protected.

  35. C F Author

    I love this planting method to maximize your growing space. Can I plant the lettuce on 2 sides of the crates and place them on the shady side and the strawberries on the other 2 sides towards the sun? I also wondered if the crate tower can be stacked on a large drip tray that has wheels so you can move them around if need be. Do you think this would work? I also thought about maybe doing the same setup on the ground. What do you suggest? I’m open to any and all ideas.


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