It takes a pretty ginormous container to pot up a tree. When ordering fruit trees this spring I was looking for dwarfing root stock (even mini-dwarfing if I could find it) because I had a plan in mind. Last week I posted about my newly built deck that I’ve installed to fill a section of my yard that has terrible soil. This week I want to share with you the planters that I have completed to sit on this deck and add interest to the corner of the border.
First, I located some food-grade (grain alcohol) barrels on craigslist. They were $20 a piece, though I’ve read online that some people have found them as cheap as $10 each. I then used a drill to make a hole roughly midway down the barrel (I did make some shorter and some taller planters as well by changing where I cut the barrels) and then stuck the blade of my jigsaw in the drilled hole and used it to cut the barrels in two.
Next I purchased some drip irrigation tubing and cut it to the length of the rim of each barrel-half, and then carefully split it down the center. This was difficult, and there were a number of almost-injuries, but I managed to complete it without sending myself to the emergency room, which is always nice. I then took the black irrigation tubing and shoved it onto the rims of the barrels, using it to create a more finished look.
After the rims were attached firmly (or sometimes less-than-firmly, as I’ve recently discovered) with industrial adhesive, I sanded the exterior white of the barrels a bit, drilled lots of holes for drainage, and broke out the nifty plastic-covering spray paint that swears it is durable enough for plastic, but really means it is durable enough for plastic that won’t ever be touched again. Ah well. It flakes and chips a little bit, but it isn’t terribly noticeable and I’ve stopped shuffling the pots around the deck now so it is less likely for scratches to appear. This would’ve been much better if the plastic of the barrels had started out the color I wanted them.
I used brown and burgundy spray paint, and the brown covered very nicely and opaquely. The burgundy left very noticeable spray and drip marks, but once I filled the planters with soil they became considerably less obvious. I put 2-3 inches of gravel in each barrel for drainage, and then used a mix of soil, composted manure, perlite and peat to create a light and moisture-retentive to create the perfect (I hope) environment for my new trees.
So now I find myself using my new deck to store the bareroot plants that I purchased and potted up (because I wasn’t quite ready for them). It is definitely cluttered, especially now that I am moving my rare strawberries and antique currants outside. Hopefully this week I will manage to get everything in the ground and in the greenhouse that belongs there and my deck will remain pleasantly bordered by my newly potted dwarf European plums and my English Morello cherry (as well as the fig trees that I already had in half barrels).
How do you upcycle in your garden?