Thursday, 3 April 2014

My inner womble strikes again ...

I'm always trying to find new uses for things,like using old windows to make cold frames,or plastic piping to make covers for various plants,I like making things from something else,and not just because it saves money.

This is one of those occasions,our house is on a hill,and at the back of it is a bank that's around 25 feet high from the road below,it runs along the whole street and is covered in a variety of plants and trees,at one end of this bank is a block of flats and it would seem that people often use the patch of waste ground to dump things.

I happened to find myself exploring this waste ground the other day (looking for one of our cats who has gone awol) and I came across what I first thought were planters,turns out they weren't,they're actually some kind of packing crate for either roof tiles or some kind of floor tile or paving stones.

Here they are -

Only 5 in this picture,but I ended up with 6 in all.

Like I said my first thought was that they were planters,it wasn't until I looked at them more closely I found out that they had been dumped and that they were packing crates,so I figured I'd make use of them,and this is kind of how my brain works,I tend to see what a thing could be,not what it was and someone evidently thought these crates were rubbish.

After dragging all 6 of these crates back to my house,which wasn't that easy I figured I'd turn them into what I had originally thought they were,that being planters,they're a good size for planters each one is just over 5 feet long and about a foot wide and about 8inches deep.

To turn them into planters I first got rid of the bits of cardboard and the staples that were dotted around the edges,then I lined each crate with some plastic sheet.

All clean and ready for the liner - 

They got lighter as they dried out,which was good.

Liner fitted,ready for the next stage - 

I used some plastic sheeting I had lying around.

I just stapled the plastic sheeting to the inside of each crate,I could have left them,but the plastic will help retain more moisture,I've found in the past that wooden planters dry out quite quickly in the summer.

Next thing to do was add some canes for supporting whatever plants end up in these,for that I used a 10mm spade bit to make holes down each side of each crate,making sure that the holes on each side were (more or less) opposite each other.

Like so - 

Bit hard to see from this picture,but there are holes there somewhere.

The idea is to push a length of bamboo cane into each hole and then put a piece across as a horizontal support,having the cane fitted into the holes makes things more stable.

The canes are just thin bamboo ones that can be bought for a few pounds from most diy / garden type shops,I used 2.4 metre canes and cut them in half.

Canes ready for cutting - 

Nothing special,just standard bamboo canes.

Here are the canes in place - 

You get the general idea.

Once I'd got the vertical canes in place the next step was to put a longer cane across the top and then tie it all together,to tie the canes I've used a plastic coated wire,it's quite basic,but does the job.

Canes all tied up - 

Simple frame work.

And that's about it really,we now have 6 planters all the same,which will do for growing tomatoes,beans or cucumbers,they can be moved about,although that would take two of us now they have soil in them,we have room to almost double the amount of tomato plants we grew last year,and these look nicer than the black plastic tubs we used,they are solid as well as they all still have the steel banding to reinforce them.

Here's one completed - 

Just needs some plants.

These ones we used round our patio, it gets very warm - 

I think they look nice,kind of rustic.

In all these planters cost about £10 once you consider the canes and the plastic,I would have used sticks to make the frames,but I didn't have any long enough,but even so £10 is quite a saving when you consider that some places are selling planters that aren't as big as this for about £30 a go,so it proves that it's worth looking at things before you bin them,use a little imagination and you may well find a use for something that was destined for the bin,unleash your inner womble.

Thanks for reading.

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