We used 6 old pallets to create a custom and unique storage piece. I had all these pallets in my garage and was just itching to do something creative and unique with them. This is what
happened. We pulled the boards off of one side of each pallet and stacked them so the openings were bigger. I sanded and sanded and sanded forever then 2 coats of polyurethane to bring out the rustic color. I sold it to a family who are using it in their playroom!
As a urban gardener, I love ideas that help create more growing space, are visually appealing, low maintenance, very do-able and are easily accessible.
The Herb Spiral is a nature-inspired vertical garden design that is highly productive and energy efficient. It allows you to stack plants in a pyramid to maximise space - a practical and attractive solution. It is typically 6.5ft wide in diameter at the base, ascending to 3.2- 4.2ft, with the center of the spiral at the highest point. The spiral ramp provides a planting area large enough to accommodate all your common culinary herbs but is certainly not limited to just growing herbs!
If you are interested in how the design works and all the benefits, you can read more about them at http://themicrogardener.com/15-benefits-of-a....
I thought I'd share a tutorial on this DIY project which can be as cheap and cheerful or elaborate as your budget allows - the materials vary widely so you can choose something that meets your taste, time and skill level. There are plenty of videos, specs and tips in the full online tutorial that will help you get the feel for the various options you have and stages of the project.
I've helped build them from scratch in just a few hours - it's about organizing your materials and having the site ready - bribing a couple of friends with some yummy food to help give you a hand doesn't hurt either!
Here are the basics you need to know:
Choose a site ideally located close to your kitchen door for quick access to fresh herbs. Orientate the bottom of your spiral on the northern side in the Northern hemisphere or southern side in the Southern hemisphere. This creates micro climates that allow you to plant a wide variety of herbs that enjoy different positions - sun, shade, dry or moist.
Materials: (these are just typical 'ingredients' you can use and the basic 'recipe').
· Cardboard (without ink or tape), weed mat or gravel – optional but useful to kill weeds if building your spiral straight on top of lawn. (I avoid carpet because it's likely been treated with chemicals that will leach into the soil as it breaks down). Alternatively, you may need a drill for drainage holes if building on concrete.
· Long stake. Secure a 1m length of string to the stake and tie at the other end with a lightweight stake, bamboo cane or chalk. Use this to draw a line on the ground to measure out the circle.
· Organic matter such as mushroom compost, worm castings, lucerne, mulch, straw and garden soil to build fertility to feed your garden long term (quantity depends on diameter of your spiral).
· Compost (for planting your herbs into – preferably home made so it will be full of living microorganisms or alternately, a certified organic compost).
· Rock minerals and organic fertiliser (to add nutrients to your soil).
· Mulch (whatever you have available) e.g. lucerne, sugarcane, baled grassy mulch hay, pea straw, grass clippings,leaves, etc.
· Herb seedlings; bay tree and vegetable seedlings if planting.
· (Optional) pond materials and irrigation fittings if including.
STEP 1: Measuring up – Have someone hold or bang the stake into the central point of the ground where you want to position your herb spiral. To determine the perimeter, stretch out the string attached to the center stake to mark out your circle, drawing a line in the soil with the other stake or bamboo cane tied on the end of it (or use chalk if you are marking out a hard surface). The diameter averages between 5 –6.5 ft or 2.5 – 3.25 ft from the center.
STEP 2: Your base – if starting on lawn you will need to stop weeds from growing. Cardboard can be used for this purpose to sheet mulch and build the spiral on top. No light = no weeds! Lay your weed mat or wet cardboard (soak with a hose or in a wheelbarrow) to cover the circle you have marked out.
STEP 3: Construct the wall structure – Using your edging material of choice, start laying your bricks/rocks on the outer edge and working inwards to create a spiral shape, allowing about 1.6 ft width to plant into or adjust if making a smaller spiral.
Once you have your basic shape laid out around the circumference, add a second tier of bricks, remembering the outside 'wall' of your spiral is lowest (e.g. 2 bricks high or perhaps 1-2 rocks depending on size – enough to retain your soil).
The middle will usually end up about 1m (2.5 ft) high with a central planting area, gradually tapering down in height on a light slope to the bottom. You can block it off or add your bog/pond at the base if using.
STEP 4: Add your organic materials & nutrition – for each of us this will be different, depending on what you have easy access to. Some people only add mulch or straw to their herb spiral and plant into pockets of compost. If you're on a tight budget or this is all you have access to, then this system of 'growing soil' will work fine but 'dead dirt' is unlikely to bring you a successful outcome! There are plenty of tips on ways to make your own soil in the online tutorial. For which herbs to plant where, you can find more info @ http://bit.ly/14vJxmJ
I'd love to see pics if you've built one and if you haven't, I hope this inspires your next project!
Without a doubt - tomatoes are the most important crop we grow in our garden.
In fact, we use ourhome-grown tomatoes and tomato based products nearly 365 days a year.
In thesummertime - we eat them right off the vine, in salads, hamburgers, sauces andmore. In the fall and winter months, we enjoy the tomato juice, vegetable soup,chili, salsa, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and ketchup that we have canned orfrozen from the summer's bounty.
Here are some valuablehints, tips and tricks we have learned over the years to grow a bumper crop oftomatoes:
1. The When, HowAnd Where Of Planting Tomatoes:
WHEN TO PLANT: Tomatoes are just about the last thing that getplanted in our garden. Tomatoes love warm soil and warm weather. Ifyou plant them too early in your growing season, they can really struggle. It'snot just about preventing frost. Cold, damp spring temperatures can make themmore susceptible to disease, rot and lethargic growth. Here in this partof Ohio, most of our garden goes in around the 15th of May. If its niceand warm out - the tomatoes go in too. But if it's still a little chilly anddamp - we wait until late May to allow the soil to warm up!
HOW TO PLANT: Tomatoes benefitfrom rich, fertile soil. When you plant - make sure to add a few cupsof good compost in the hole along with the plant. And start saving youreggs shells now! Crushed egg shells are an excellent supplement to add to yourplanting hole. They add calcium to the soil as they break down - helpingto prevent the all-too common blossom rot; those black spots on the ends oftomatoes that can decimate a garden. We drop in a few crushed egg shellsper planting hole.
WHERE TO PLANT: Plant yourtomatoes in the sunniest location you can find. It can't be said enough -tomatoes love sun and heat. The more you give them - the better your crop willbe! And remember to rotate where you plant them from year to year - ifyou keep planting those tomatoes in the same spot, they will rob the soil ofall the nutrients needed for great yields and become more prone to disease.
Mulching and Weeds:
We mulch our tomato plants with a 1to 2" thick layer of compost - creating a 6 to 8" compost circlearound each stalk. It helps to regulate soil temperature, keep weeds to aminimum, and soil from eroding during strong rains. Of more importance,it acts as a slow-release fertilizer as it strains through nutrients duringwatering or rainfalls. Mulching also helps keep weeds at bay. Don't let weeds compete for the same nutrients your tomatoesneed. Just a few minutes of daily maintenance pulling small weeds aroundyour plants will keep your garden productive and neat! Make sure as you work in your garden to stay off the ground directly around yourplants - stepping on and around your plan'ts root zone compacts the soil andkeeps them from fully developing.
One last note on mulching. Ifthe season and soil are still a little cool - wait a few weeks for it to warmup before applying the mulch. If the soil is still cool, mulching canactually prolong the soil from heating up.
Whether you use cages, stakes, or ahybrid system like we do (See Stake a Cage), it's critical to provide great support for yourtomato plants! It keeps them off the ground - away from pests and foottraffic, allowing tomatoes to ripen with good circulation and exposure tosunlight.
As the plants grow during the firstmonth - we like to prune out the bottom 3 to 4" of stems andshoots. Why? It makes plants easier to water, and once again allowsthat all important air and light to circulate through the plants and rows. It also makes it a little more difficult for garden bugs and pests tofind their way onto your plants.
Watering tomatoes (and for that fact,your entire garden), is as much about when to water, as it is how much. Never water during the heat of the day. Not only do you lose muchof it to evaporation, but you also can easily burn the foliage of the plants. The absolute best time to water is in the early hours between sunrise andmid-morning. Not only is it cooler and easier on the gardener, but yourplants are not stressing from the heat of the day either. Eveningwatering is your next best choice if you can't water in the morning, althoughit can create mildew if the water sits on leaves through the cool nights.
How Much Water? This is a bigone. When the plants are very young and for the first week or so, youmay need to water daily to get them established. After that - wateringevery day is a no-no. Established tomatoes need about 1 inch of water a week. If mother nature can't supply that - then you need to supplement. If you are experiencing a prolonged dry spell – water every two to threedays with about a 1/2″ of water to the plant at a time. This allowsenough water to go deep into the soil and create longer roots. Why notevery day? Plants that get a little water every day never send theirroots deeper to look for moisture and nutrients - and you end up with a weakroot system, leading to a weak plant.
Soil Fertility andFertilizing
Tomatoes need fertile soil to growstrong and healthy. If you follow along with our blog, you know we're notbig fans of man-made fertilizers - so what is the answer when it comes tofertilizing? Well, if you use compost in your planting holes and as a topdressing, work in green manure and cover crops to your soil in the fall orspring, and practice plant rotation - there really is no need for syntheticfertilizers to get a great crop of tomatoes.
If you want to give your plants anall natural boost - you can apply compost tea - a simple solution of watersoaked and steeped in fresh compost. The water absorbs the naturalnutrients from the compost and becomes an "all natural" liquidfertilizer. We apply it to the soil around the base of our plants (notthe leaves - it can burn them) a couple of times early in the growing season toget our plants off to a great start. Well, truth be told, we also do itso our plants can look a little bigger and brighter green than mybrother-in-laws :)
- Jim and Mary
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Of course I have seen Breakfast at Tiffanys and my hat goes off to the original tub couch creator! However, I of COURSE have to add my spin!I though long and hard about simply taking the
front out to make it a love seat, but .. then .. when do I do things the simple way? It needed that added flare and I am re finishing a clients bedroom to feel french, so it was a MUST to have curves. Voila the new Chaise for her master bedroom bay window!
First and Foremost - do NOT TRY CUTTING OR WORKING WITH THIS unless you have proper protective equipment on! Glasses AND masks are a MUST!!!!!! Not only do you have to deal with potential lead in the paint, but also glass infused, fired on porcelain and chips flying everywhere! Very messy job! - Now - on to the fun part!
I have been waiting three years to find the perfect tub! I found this one at our local Habitat for Humanity Re-store.
I plotted my design early to match with a theme I was doing in a clients Master Bedroom. She had asked to find a sitting bench or something for her Bay Window * DING DING DING* I finally have a reason to make the Chaise I wanted to do.
I worked on cutting the tub forever with a grinder as I was told plasma cutting was to hard on Cast .... it was pretty easy, however very time consuming, so I sourced it out after I got the initial trial over with. If I had more time to poke away at it I would have, but too many things were piling up! Then the work involved came. It took forever to figure out how to smoothe the chips from the cutting, but upon talking to some local car boys and metal workers, the idea of bondo came up! Might as well give it a go! And it worked! paint paint paint and add fabric and ta daaaaaaaaaaa! BUENO! There is a full album being uploaded right now to my Facebook page at http://www.gypsybarn.com. Come join the fun!
I posted my "Polatems" last year on Hometalk and enjoyed all of the comments by the followers of this awesome site. I have since built more in the front yard at the entrance of my home in Arizona. They create a first impression of who I am and are a great conversation piece.
I collected the pots and plates from "GW design" (Goodwill) and garage sales.
concrete (quik-crete), insert a piece of rebar the height of the "polatem" you wish to build. Secure the rebar with two rocks to keep it straight. Allow the concrete to dry overnight. Begin strategically putting the pots and plates onto the rebar, gluing them as you go. A glass glue, usually in a caulking tube and applied with a caulking gun works best. This can be purchased at your local hardware store. If you have pots or plates without holes in them, you can drill them with a carbide tipped drill bit. On these particular "Polatems" I added metal containers to use as planters. The larger "Polatem" has an old fire pit pan as the planter, in which I have planted Aloe.
If you haven't seen my post of "Polatems" from last year, be sure to check it out. These are really fun to make.
Commented on Mar 01, 2013
So cool !!!!! I want to make one...Gotta start collecting!