'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

28 June 2013

Planter

Thank you all for the birthday and grandkids visit well wishes. We picked them up Wednesday night and today is given over to Miss Princess' birthday. Streamers, banners, food, candy, cake and screaming children. It's going to be a good day. In lieu of actual content I decided to post about another small project, the brick planter we built. I love small projects.

When I did the kids room remodel I tried to save and reuse as much of the take offs as possible. I am green you know :) One of those things was the bricks from the free standing wood burning stove surround. They were really quality fireplace bricks and it seemed a shame to just toss 'em. So I threw them in a big ol' pile while we decided where best to utilize them. Then it hit me. No not a brick to the head, though that's generally a safe bet, but rather an idea. Lu has been wanting a nice planter for some veggies in the back yard so....

There was some prep needed. Most of the bricks still had some mortar still attached. They needed a basic clean off before I could use them. Lu and I set up a relay system. She did the cleaning while I mixed mortar and did the laying.


As she finished the bricks I started laying. I am a very basic brick mason. That means I just eyeball things, use a spirit level to keep everything more or less straight and level and just sorta go with it. I didn't put in a true foundation. I cleared the dirt to hardpack, leveled it all out and then set the first row with heavy mortar both between the bricks and between the bricks and the dirt. I let it all sit for a day and it all seemed very secure so on we went. In essence I used the first row of bricks with mortar as my foundation.

If you're thinking that looks like an encephalitic Baboon did the work you are exactly right. He did. Real brick masons might want to just look away at this point.

Nine bricks high and twenty to a row. I finished the whole thing off with a nice coat of cement on the inside and along the top. I want whatever water gets to the perimeter to go down and not seep out through the brick. I think it'll work. I hope. I decided against any kind of coating since this will be used to grow consumables. We'll see.We have since filled the planter to within about 18 inches of the top with fill dirt. We'll go down to the local nursery and buy 16 cubic feet of topsoil and mulch for the bed. Any of you experts who want to weigh in at this point will be greeted with much joy and enthusiasm. I'm the grandson of farmers but I never really listened. Shame on me.

I'm actually pretty happy with the end result. I still need to wire brush the exterior and do some work on the grout lines but it's basically done. It should serve nicely as a planter for Lu to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and whatever tasty vegetables she has a hankering to try her hand at. She is going to run water lines from the building next to it and we're eventually going to put in a walkway around the planter. After the kids go home in a few weeks.

A short, simple and easy weekend project. And hey, if it all goes kerplooey I'll just clean it up, swear I never heard of any such thing and think of something else.

Have a great week. I'll be back later.
Six


13 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

It looks perfectly acceptable to me. Good job!

Six said...

Thanks Rev! I am a rank neophyte when it comes to growing stuff or building things to grow stuff :)

Brighid said...

Have a great time with those grands. Do you get to wear a Papa is King crown?
Planter looks good. Love my veggies. Have you ever tried straw bale gardening? Super easy.

Lois Evensen said...

Looks really cool to me! Very nice planter! We had a wood one that didn't last too long. It's time to have a more substantial planter out there. The last couple of days, though, I spent giving the gold fish a bath - well, cleaning out their pond. They look pretty good now! This vacation stuff is hard work....

Monkeywrangler said...

Looks better than anything I could build in brick! However, for veggie gardening, I think I would have gone half as high, and twice as long. You could have skipped the fill dirt that way and just put in your planting soil, and doubled your growing space...See? I'm SO helpful, to tell you that AFTER you built the planter! ;-)

Six said...

Thanks Lois! We had a retaining wall once that was built by the previous home owner out of wood. That convinced me that wood and water are a bad mix long term. e would love to have a goldfish pond but how do you keep the dogs out? I know you have Labs....

You are helpful Vic! That was a consideration but due to backs and knees getting a little rusty as time and age take their toll we decided we'd go with something that Lu could reach without bending or kneeling. It's not the getting down part that hurts it's the getting back up!

Brighid said...

I hope your having a great time with the grands. Do the King & Queen L get to wear crowns for the birthday party?
Planter looks great to me (garden & landscape designer in another life). Love fresh veggies to go with the home grown bacon & beef! Have you ever tried straw bale gardening? Super easy. I've had clients in wheelchairs, and with other limitations able to grow fresh veggies with that method. Just a thought.

Six said...

Holy cow Brighid. I had never heard of that until you mentioned it. That looks really cool. I told Lu and sent her some links. She's going to look into it. We have a lot of alfalfa hay grown in this area so buying bales would be easy as pie.

Thanks for the tip Brighid!

Brighid said...

Ah, "STRAW" bales is what you use for this type of gardening.
side note: If you have access to alfalfa bales, see if they will give you the busted ones. I flake those and lay the flakes down in my garden paths. Feeds the soil, helps retain water, keeps weeds down, and no walking in mud. Works well as mulch for my roses & shrubs as well.

Six said...

Thanks Brighid. See, this kind of care and advice is what makes blog friends so special!

Old NFO said...

Nicely done, and curious as to how the drainage is going to work out...

Six said...

You and me both NFO. My worst case is water will seep down and weaken the mortar and the pressure of the dirt will cause it to fail pretty spectacularly. If it does I'm going to bag the bricks and go with something else. Maybe steel!!

instinct said...

I never heard of straw bale gardening either, but it would work perfectly out here. We have what would be considered "less than adequate soil"

In fact, we don't have soil, we have dust and dirt and very little water.