Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Reuser's Garden Pt. 1

I've been working on a planter garden for a little over 2 years now. What that really means is that a little over 2 years ago, my brother helped me pick up some planters and it's taken me since then to actually get them drilled, placed, filled and planted. I had always meant to post about them, so here's Part 1.

Planters await the drilling of drainage holes

Ever since Dear BF sent me some information about square foot gardening, I've been intrigued by it. I also really wanted to reuse something for garden planters. My first thought (that I still think might work) was to reuse large pipes/tubes of some kind (culverts?) and cut them in half and set them up somehow so they'd make a half-pipe sort of garden. I was talking about this project with a County Solid Waste employee and he mentioned that there were some "concrete forms" on 2good2toss. I went over there and checked it out. What I saw was even better than what I had imagined.

Those suckers are water-tight! (Before drilling the holes, the boxes all filled with water and were too heavy to lift. Here, I am bailing water out of them.)

These concrete forms (which my brother thinks might have been used to top large concrete pillars) are about 4' square and 3' deep. They're made from fiberglass (which I asked the Master Gardeners about and they didn't seem to think I'd have any problems with chemicals leaching into our food.) Best of all, I would be reusing something that probably eventually would have become landfill and they were FREE! All I had to do was go pick them up. I enlisted the help of my oldest brother and his work truck and after a somewhat-scary trip out to Washougal and back, I had my planters.

"Whacha doin' mom?" Our male dog watches curiously as I remove
some plywood spacers and nails from the concrete forms.

Then, he decides that he'll come "help." Here, you can see him peeking from behind me.

I knew I'd need good drainage (it rains a LOT here) so I started to drill holes. Even the largest drill bit we had wasn't making much of a hole through the three layers of fiberglass and plywood, so I eventually had to buy a special drill bit to make sizable holes.

Cooling down my weapon of choice-notice the nice drainage holes in the planter behind me?

The drilling of the holes took me about 5 weekends to complete. (each hole took about 45 seconds to drill completely.) After the holes were drilled, the planters sat for about a year and half. I slowly picked up things along the way that I wanted-some large cardboard here (for killing weeds around the planters) some block foam there (for filling the bottom half of the planters) but mostly, I just ignored the project. (I've mentioned before that I'm notorious for starting but never finishing projects...)

Here, I've finished one side of drainage holes and am flipping the box to work on the next side.
These could be lifted with two people, but if you're moving them by yourself,
the easiest way was to roll them over on their sides.

A close-up of the drainage holes

Dear BF was patient, but eventually he wanted me to poop or get off the pot, as the saying goes...

Read Part 2.

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