At the greenhouse (Millennium Farms) where I purchase many of my heirloom
veggies, the owner has a barrel filled with strawberries, a bigger version
of the clay strawberry planter.
He used a 50-gallon barrel with the top cut out of it and several rows of
holes drilled in it in which to plant the strawberry plants. Then he put
a piece of PVC pipe down the middle of it after drilling holes in it to
distribute the water throughout the height of the barrel. He put
landscaping fabric against the sides to hold the plants in place with a
hole cut for the plants' roots. As he filled it, he put gravel directly
around the pipe to discourage dirt from plugging the holes.
It's a great idea, a good way to get a lot of yield from a small
footprint, an entire strawberry patch in a 5-foot circumference circle. I
cut the barrel for one today with two dozen 2-inch holes for plants (and
the top). I will make one with fewer holes for herbs, planning parsley or
basil on the top. I figure placing a cover over the basil as the weather
cools will prolong its growing season.
For the strawberries, once they are established (when I actually get
fruit!), it will be an easy matter to construct a "cover" to keep out
birds so we get the berries.
I'll keep you posted as to how this works, confident that it will work
very well. Any suggestions about what, other than strawberries and herbs,
might do well in this type of planter?