PERFECT PLANTER – WELL NEARLY!(but it is recycled ) Its amazing what you can make out of a load of old timbers that were destined for landfill or burning. When our `shed of doom` was demolished, we asked if we could have the old timbers. The guys agreed and piled them up in our storage area which is known as the big garage. Well, some of the bits of timber are quite large and getting them out of the garage is a feat in itself. Some of them are also attached to each other. Not a big problem one would think. These beams have been around for some few years. They are joined with BIG bolts and old-fashioned nails that take a bit of shifting. But so far, we – that is mostly Lou and Ali with some help from Ronni – have managed to get the wood in, separate the bits that need it and remove or knock in the nails.
Then it was a matter of cutting the wood to size and of course all the bits were different heights/widths so finding the bits that would fit together was not exactly easy but they did it. A lot of heaving, sawing, hammering, drilling and finally screwing the bits together and we have one very large vegetable planter.
This planter will provide space for beans, peas, cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, courgettes and whatever else we can fit in. Possibly some peppers. Its of a height so that those less abled or in wheelchairs can reach the centre of the planter easily and there is access most of the way round. Wheelchairs cannot get along the short sides next to the sheds.
Next came a layer of stones and small bits of concrete topped with some garden fabric to keep the soil in place and help with the drainage. It took quite a few bucket loads of stones and stuff but there is plenty lying around our site so it was just a matter of one bucket at a time and before you know it we were ready for the next stage. Then the backbreaking bit began.
Those of you that follow us on Facebook may remember that the had several tons of organic compost and topsoil delivered not long ago. This was deposited in one-ton bags just inside our gates (six of them) which are only about 50mtrs from the planter but it seemed an awful lot further than that when pushing wheelbarrows or in my case, trolley loads of soil and compost from the gates to the planter, then depositing it into the planter, which due to the height of the sides was not all that easy.
The first layer went in. next came the irrigation system. Adhering to our recycle, reuse, repurpose ethos, some hose that was donated by Heidi Manning and Jakki Clark was brought into use along with some fittings that we had already. Ali made a good design for the irrigation. It can take a hose connector so that if we need to we can use a hose pipe if the water butts are low. But mostly it will be filled via a funnel from water butts that will be on top of the coal store (when we have built it!). the system will also connect with the next big planters that are planned. One 6ft square and another one which will be a mirror image of the one we have just built.
Having the planters all connected to the same irrigation system will not only make keeping the plants in the planters healthy but also save a lot of trotting to and from water butts with heavy watering cans which will save my old legs and arms a lot of aching.
Well once the irrigation system was in, loads more organic topsoil and compost (mixed together) were duly barrowed and carted over until the whole thing was filled. Whilst filling the planter we were watering the compost/soil mix as due to the glorious sunshine and warm temperatures we have been enjoying, it had all become a little dry and it made sense to moisten it as we put it in.
The next bit was to build a framework over the planter for a) the bean frame and b) so that if needed we can put some fabric over it to provide shade and protection from insects and other pests that just might want to eat our produce before we can.
Then what happened —- Tuesday and today (28th April) it rained. But the garden is loving the rain and it does mean no watering for a few days. Except for the seedlings and young plants in the greenhouse and potting shed. The rain does not get to them, well not until the watering cans are filled from the water butts that collect the rainwater from the shed and greenhouse roofs. The planter is now ready, and the beans are just about ready to go in and the pea seeds are ready and waiting to be planted. The rest of the plants need a little bit more growing on and hardening off before they are planted out. That is the story of how the PERFECT PLANTER – well nearly — came to be. It will do us fine.