Posts tagged plants

Yard Planter Project on Castors

The Planter Project on Castors

If you have read my blog before you already know I keep and maintain a small city garden. The one thing I always have difficulty with is quick growing, early spring and short season crops due to the fact that the sun is so low in the sky my home shades most of the garden. Our temperatures are pretty mild but the vegetation still needs a lot of sun.

So, I thought maybe I could get some sort of planter that I could move around. Plus I could save space in the main garden for vegetables that I can process and freeze. I could buy gardening seeded tape strips and grow smaller harvests of things like assorted lettuce and radishes. These veggies are so good but I generally end up giving most of it away since a row in the main garden becomes ripe at the same time.

I decided to check out various ideas on YouTube channels. I came up with an idea from three of the videos I watched and immediately sent these videos to my Project Manager (my mom’s hubby). I laugh because without his expertise I wouldn’t be able to begin to figure out what my needs would be. He said we could make one pretty easily. He would be the crafter – he has the tools – and I would be the helper.

We made our trip to Home Depot for the supplies we needed. Galvanized screws, two by fours, sealer, nuts and bolts and casters. When we came back and went to work sawing the lumber into the measured pieces.

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There had to be some support for the legs on the bottom where the casters would be placed so we used some 1 x 6 inch board to make the legs stable. Most of the time I was holding or moving things around but my Project Manager did tutor me in using a drill and learning the electric screwdriver because I need practice with those tools!

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After we got all the pieces cut then we started to put the box together. The Project Manager had left over sheathing from a previous shed project so that saved on some of the cost. This is the material we used for the walls of the box.

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Then we ran into a little snag. I was a little too short for the planter. Well, I suppose I would have been close enough to eat the veggies right out of the box! Laughing to myself.

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Anyway, not to be demoralized we continued on and made the legs shorter. Project Manager, also, made the allowance for those castors that had to go on the bottom. This little delay didn’t take very long to fix. Just a few drilled holes. Oh, I forgot to mention that we drilled all the screw holes first before using the screws so we wouldn’t split any wood.

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Here is a view from the top before the bottom was put on as this last piece would have to have a drain hole. The second picture is from the side before the castors went on.

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This is where we placed a cross beam for extra support because after the dirt is put into the box and water is added it will get heavier.

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The drain hole was put into the bottom. As one of the YouTube videos pointed out, I will be able to place a bucket underneath to catch the water and reuse it to water again. Neat huh?

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Inserted into the hole is a wired drain catch that you can buy at most Dollar Stores. I will put some small pebbles into the catch before I put the dirt into the box so that I don’t loose to much soil while the water drains out.

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After we were finished putting everything together the Project Manager and I lifted the planter onto the truck bed and drove it to my home.

My next job was to paint with two coats of sealer and two coats of exterior paint. This turned out to take a little longer because the weather forecast called for rain. The sealer and paint had to have temperatures in the 50’s before it could be applied. I did get the first coat of sealer on the box and then moved it into the patio to keep it out of the weather. The humidity would take the second coat longer to dry but nothing would get wet from rain.

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The sealer I used was purchased at Home Depot and is called Henry Sealer and Damp Proofer. It will not make the soil toxic as far as I have read. Painting this puppy was a little tricker that I thought because I felt so much like a contorsionist. A few aches and pains but I will get over them for a project well done.

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Voila with two coats of sealer and two coats of exterior paint and a movable planter box is born! Tomorrow I will be able to add the dirt and plant the seeds.

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Measurements of this planter box are approximately 47 1/2 inches long, 16 inches wide, 36 inches high and the box itself is 12 inches deep.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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2012 Gardening Progress

Gardening Progress for 2012.

This is a small picture chronicle of this year’s garden work.  Spring clean up is always the hardest, I think.  But the Tiller Joe got me started off to a good start. If you want to see the video just click that Tiller Joe link.

First you have to clean up the bushes and prune back some of the fruit trees.  Plant the seeds and wait to see them grow.  Weeding in between, yuk!  But reaping the harvest is the best.

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Garden Journal and History – Chapter Five

Now that the palate of the yard is clean and we are starting from scratch we planted the grass seed on the sides and back yard.  Also, while landscaping we saved buckets of bulbs.  Narcissus, double and single Jonquils, Daffodils, Snowbells and, much to my delight, Spider Lilies in hot pink!  (I had been trying to find that plant for years but never knew its name!).  Then my husband and I planted some of the plants I toted with me through the years.  Chinese Holly, Irises an Cannas’.  They might have to be transplanted, eventually, because I wasn’t quite sure what the sun would be doing throughout the year. We, then, waited through the winter season to see what would pop up in the yard come spring.

Now, while I tell you part of this story, I want you to know that I am married to a lovely man that loves grass but knows absolutely nothing about what a plant looks like!  His theory is… if it is green, it is grass.  I had to draw smilies on my fence so he wouldn’t mow down my spider lilies when they come up in the late summer!  With that thought in your minds, everything that has been planted in this yard is very low maintenance or IT CAN BE MOWED and will come back!!  I call it Man Friendly.  If it cannot be mown down it is protected with some sort of divider. 

Much to my surprise there were a lot of plants that were very hardy and had survived all the landscaping!  There were, also, a lot of assorted wild plants growing in the grass and yard. I don’t know all the names of them but there were wild violets, a very pretty, petite, five pointed white flowering plant that, I later, found out was a variety in the onion family. (They were all over the place. I imagine that some people would love to plant them in a flower bed.)  Then, there was a beautiful low growing plant that had leaves which were clustered and round.  That turned out to be an old fashioned variety of buttercups, also, a very prolific plant!

Originally, there was raised, three foot high, hand built patio on the back of the house. It had beautiful yellow jasmine and morning glory vines growing up a privacy lattice structure.  Unfortunately, we had to tear it down because it was a termite heaven!  A bit of never, never advice.  Do NOT build a landscape timber box, filled with a dump truck of sand, then put bricks on top to create a raised patio!!  This structure was a wonderful environment for  termites!  It, also, holds rain water that will, eventually, leach into one’s basement.  NOT GOOD, trust me.  The homeowner, builder, of this patio did not put anything next to the wall of the house to protect it from the water draining into the side of the house then to the basement floor.  Very bad.

As I had mentioned, in the previous post, we had to have a fence installed.  Along the base of the fence, I took all the buckets of jonquils, daffodils, and narcissus and planted them in the lawn.  I used these plantings to cover the 2×12 boards at the bottom of the fence.  The blossoms are pretty in the spring and the greenery lends cover to the boards which elevated the fence.  Then when they have turned brown in the early summer, all can be mown with ease. Since I liked the Morning Glory’s I plant them in window box containers on the ground (that protects them from the weed eater) and let them trail up the lattice I had my husband attach to the fence.  This coming summer we have a new plan for them. 

I moved some of the buttercups and violets in spots next to the house to protect them from my mower guy. 

Many of the plants I have in my yard I have received from friends.  Bearded Irises, Peonies, Butterfly Ginger Lilies, Angel’s Trumpet/Brugmansia, variety’s of Cannas, orange Double Day Lilies, a variegated grassy planting that has a purple bloom in late summer and a Cedar Tree (three inches high when received!).

There are plants that had to be purchased, sometimes twice.  Azaleas, fruit trees, ferns, cast iron plants, frizzle, winter daphne, figs, blueberry.  Some of the fruit trees had to be replaced because I, originally, thought that I could use a standard tree.  NOT! In a small space, one has to use grafted dwarf trees, lol.  My hubby was not too thrilled while digging up fruit trees, that were established, because the wife said they were too big.  He was not a happy camper!!

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Garden Journal and History – Chapter Four

This chapter is dedicated to this, lovely, Old Home I found in the city! This is the last of the Historical updates because this home and garden is the last move I plan on making. At least, in this lifetime. I call it my retirement home. With that in mind, everything that has been done, in the yard and house, was done with NO intention of resell. This home and yard has been an adventure, to say the least! Maybe some other day I can tell you the entire story of the its renovation but for today our focus be the yard.

After we bought the house we were told, by the city, that I would need to tear down the dilapidated old privacy fence. It had been condemned. In order to be in compliance with city code and be able to get an occupancy permit the fence had to go (along with another long list of house issues). The yard was an overgrown mess! You do what needs doing first so you can rest your head on a pillow.

We were a little suprised when we found a chain link fence behind the wooden privacy fence. There were all sorts of wild cherry trees, honeysuckle, ivy and virginia creeper vines tangled throughout the two fences. To make matters worse all the vegetation was very well established. Someone, who had lost their mind, had planted a wisteria plant! That thing must have been original to the house because its root system was everywhere!

Thank goodness, my Mom’s husband, came to the rescue. Just so happens that he owns an old antique John Deere Tractor. Well, he cranked that baby up and drove it down the city streets and came over to our new yard. You could hear the tractor coming a mile away! It made sort of a kachug kachug sound. I thought he would get arrested for driving it on an inner city street. 🙂

First, we had to cut all the full grown wild trees with the chainsaw and get them out of the way. Then came the tractor’s job. We had a large chain and wrapped it around the fence sections, pulling them down. Then we had to get the stumps out. This was a process because some of the stumps had to be dug up partially before the chain could go around. Chopping, hacking, digging, sawing and pulling that chain attached to the tractor. This project took about three days. It was exhausting. When all was said and done and the tractor went rolling home and the entire back yard was pretty much destroyed. My oh my, then all the debris that had to be delivered to the dump. Maybe one day I will dig out the hard copy pictures but not today. After all that hard work we, finally, got the occupancy permit!

Well, the good side… I had a clean yard to work with eventhough there were hugh ruts left by the tractor tires. So, out comes my Troybilt, thank goodness I never sold her. What a work horse. I tilled everything except the very front patch of grass on the front lawn. I strung plumb lines across the back and side yards because by now it had rained and I knew where all the water was collecting and draining. This project was vital because all the water must run away from the house! I roto-tilled this yard until the dirt was like a powder. Then, I personally, raked every ounce of dirt to those plumb lines so everything would slope properly and have water running away from the house. I have a full basement in a low lying area, surrounded by water. The slope of the yard was extremely important to me. Water must stay away from the basement. This project took about two weeks, I guess, and I was 12 years younger.

This saga will continue.  Thanks for stopping by to read.

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Garden Journal Chapter Three

Chapter Three:

Ahhh… The Blackwater Years.  My mother, and her husband, owned and rented a house on 20 acres in the country.  A very rural area of Virginia Beach and very close to North Carolina.  When the tennants moved out and the property became available my kids and I moved in and rented for about 3 1/2 years.  My children were now teenagers who were working and driving.  I had lots of luck trying to get them to stick around and help out with a garden!

Nine acres, cleared, were leased to a local farmer who used a crop duster to control some vermine on the corn, wheat and soy bean crops.  Two acres, where the house sat, was mine to maintain as I wished.  I never used more than seven dust on my vegetables and, much to my suprise, the years that plane flew over my house and garden I never had a pest problem!  Only problem was that during the summer months the grass grew in over-drive.  Mowing became a major ordeal! 

The former tennants had a rabbit farm, of sorts.  So, I thought the most logical place to start my new vegetable garden would be right where those cages sat!  The droppings provided great furtilizer, lol.  Eventhough, the ground was furtile it was clay and hard as a rock!!  If it was too wet it was mud.  If it was dry it was like the desert.  Tilling, even with my trusty horse, had to be done at the optimal times.  It was a challenge but well worth it because once the seeds were down it was a most productive and beautiful garden.  I only planted a spring and summer garden.  I froze the crops and made jams with the fruit.  There is where I started to become just a little knowledge about fruit trees. My horse, pony and goat ate the ones I had planted in the fields in chapter two. 

Just a little note here.  I had some very old, large, box wood bushes on this property.  Instead of cutting them back in a square or round bush, I turned them into large style bonsai type bushes.  They weren’t very hard to maintain at all.  Just a little nipping two or three times a year.

Now, when xmas season came around.  I have to mention that we decided to fetch our own tree from the wooded section of the farm, for the holidays.  I must admit that tree brought a lot of humor in the house because, quite frankly, it looked pretty darn small in the woods!  Let me just say…  trim, trim, trim.  *giggling*  I had no idea just how enormous that goofy tree was till we tried to get it into the house.  Even after it was trimmed and pruned it still took a large portion of the living room space.

Then, the kids go to college, I move into a one bedroom garden apartment. My tiller is in storage and my hot tub is in my dining room. Extremely large tropical variegated hibiscus plants, fichus trees and an assortment of favorite outdoor plants move with me onto my little outdoor patio. It was not too bad because the landlord even let me plant a lilac bush in front of my bay window. I did have to get a little creative with my Japanese holly so that it was safe in my 3 x 6 foot garden plot that was provided at the edge of a concrete patio. I even dug up and took my canna lilies with me to give me a little more privacy. It is amazing what can be done with plants to make even the most dower of places more attractive to live in. And taking the time to move things with you saves so much money!  

Ta Da, next chapter coming soon.  New home (historical and adventure in its own right) and the man-proof garden.

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Blackwater. After I moved out my parents leased it to a potential buyer. They had no clue that they would turn the house into a barn for livestock! The place that I had my bonsai boxwoods gone and overgrown.

This is a picture of how overgrown the place had become when renter left. All the fruit trees and shrubs were totally overgrown. This is one of the better scenes. The poison ivy had totally taken over. Eventually, the house was demolished because it could not be salvaged!

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Garden Journal and History

Welcome to My Garden History and Journal – Chapter One

Let me begin by saying that I have been an amateur gardener since Moby Dick was a minnow!  My mother gave me green bean and radish seeds when I was 7 or 8 years old and she let me plant them on the side of the house.  I guess she figured that those would germinate quickly because a small kid would want to see things grow fast  Pretty, smart on her part!  As I grew older she would let me help her in the little plot garden she had created, every spring.  It was always so much fun when the first radishes came to harvest and we could have, open face, radish and butter sandwiches for breakfast!  What an excellent treat.  I look forward to those radishes every year.

Then the “teen years” and gardening went a little by the wayside because I was just too busy.  But there were summers with my Grand Mother, who had a 50 acre farm, and we had to harvest the hay for the livestock, corn for the chickens and horses. Plus, there always seemed to be house plants to water.  Plants and animals were always in my life but animals will have to take second place to this Garden room, :). 

Got married… had apartment and asked landlord if I could plant flowers outside of my apartment window…they said yes…  Okay… I did!

Baby to come… no room… First house ensued… Big yard… Stay at home Mom…

What to do… plant a garden. Boy, was it fun to watch newly weds dig a garden!!  

This was the garden where I learned that no matter what the package of seed said go with the flow of the current weather in your area.  I wanted to grow Iceberg lettuce, everyone around me said it was just too hot in our area to grow because the summers were too hot. So, I planted the seed in the late fall.  I saw the small seed pop up and then forgot about the garden because all the leaves fell and just figured everything had died (we were too lazy to rake leaves!) Well, at the end of February, when it was a little warmer, I was strolling around and kicking some of the leaves aside (the leaves became an insulator) and WOWWIEE…. I found heads of Iceberg lettuce!!! What a surprise.  You don’t get a tomato with your lettuce salad at that time of year but the lettuce is still great.

This installment One……. This will be a continuing saga…….. More to come!

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