Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Project: Shelving Rack into Raised Planter

 Two weeks ago I finally got around to a project I've been dreaming of for months. With help from my da we turned this:
FREE second hand metal utility shelving rack :)

Into this:

Raised planter!

Over a year ago a friend gave the metal rack to me when he was cleaning out his garage. Originally I'd considered making it a greenhouse for seedlings, or just use it as nice shelves to set containers on ...but it'd been thickly painted after its first assembly and I couldn't get the pieces to budge. I didn't want shelves or a greenhouse I couldn't modify as necessary. So I repainted it from fire engine red to a calmer brown and set stuff on and under it while I decided what to do.

Finally the raised planter idea came. Da helped me get the lumber from a local place he used to use (he was a cabinet maker for decades). Rough sawn cedar. He was being contrary that day and bought it for me ;) Da picked it up when the order came in, John helped me unload at home and get things set up for us to start work.

 My dear Grumpy took over the project almost immediately.

 I am always fascinated and frustrated watching him work.
(he does not like to let me play with use the power toys tools)

There's the bottom boards ready

Rough sawn is cheaper and I love the look, but it is not without hazzards :(


You can see the way the racks are put together makes the bottom boards slope inwards ... perfect for drainage! I cut a coconut basket liner in half and put that inside each end of the planter to keep the soil from spilling out. I also used an old cloth sheet scrap to line the drainage crack all along the bottom to keep the soil in.

 And here's the completed planter!

The measuring, cutting and putting together took less than two hours! We had to split some boards, and re-cut boards by little increments to get them all to fit properly (the rack wasn't put together  perfectly square). The front (long) boards were put in first, then the side (short) ones sandwiched between them at the ends. The L shape of the legs holds the sides up, and the pressure from the soil inside keeps them in place. We used ZERO screws or nails! (not counting the bits attaching the rack pieces that were already there). I thought about painting the outside with Earthsafe paints.... but I love the look of the raw wood :)

After all that was done I used E.B. Stone soil I bought with my Groupon to fill it, took six 20 qt. bags oh my! I used five of the Edna's Best Potting Soil and 1 Flower & Vegetable Soil, and mixed in a few cups of Kellog's organic vegetable fertilizer.

You can see that Felis catus "Oh So Helpful" did her part by keeping the bags from flying away

 Then the fun part came. I transplanted four tomatoes (roots and stems buried 12" min!), three blue annual salvias, two akashiso, two kale Dwarf Blue and a Marvel of Four Seasons lettuce. A few days later I exchanged the kale with nasturtium Alaskas when I was that's a no-no mix in my companion planting guide. There is still some space left along the front. I might put basil or chives from the LotB community garden project there, or onions and carrots... We will see.

I also used some plant markers I found at Ikea for the tomatoes. They are nice, two for a dollar :) I used paint markers, which come off with rubbing alcohol for next season, to write the varieties.





I'm very happy with this project. Thanks Da!

*update*
Here's an October 2011 photo. The fall plants are growing in well, and the cast iron wall ornament I found at a yard sale completes it :)

*UPDATE 1/4/12*
I'm entering this project in the Not Just a Housewife's Best DIY Project of 2011 contest, please click the link below and vote for me!


18 comments:

  1. Love your idea and the way it turned out...brilliant!

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  2. That is a thing of beauty Mary! It made such a nice planter...sooo awesome. Isn't it great to have a handy daddy?

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  3. @ DG - thanks!

    @ Jean - wait till I attach the wrought iron thingy I found at a yard sale :) And yes I love my Grumpy!

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  4. Oh my gosh, this is fantastic! What a great idea, great work, great job - it must have been so satisfying to fill it with soil and plants. Congratulations - it's just awesome!

    I also love it "naked" - no need to paint it at all! I have read about using Danish Oil to protect wood from rotting from water damage (but still allowing it to breathe), but not sure how necessary it is.

    Can't wait to see how your tomatoes and other plants do in there!

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  5. @ red - Thanks :) I thought about wood oil, but I didn't know which to use or if it might leach bad things into the soil (and I'll be eating what grows out of here). Also I was too impatient to wait any longer! ;) The tomatoes are already starting to flourish! :D

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  6. Great idea! I had a metal fish tank stand I got for free, and then it sat in the garage for about a year. I couldn't figure out what to do with it so I gave it away. This would have been perfect! I'll remember this if I ever find another one.

    Amy

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  7. How cool to be so creative. I love the planter! I like the names for your guys, too. ;o)

    Thanks for the suggestions on my slope dilemma. After pricing materials for retaining walls, I decided I was going to go ahead and do what we planned to begin with, and just put the fake bricks around. I got some plants in, which is good, because there is a 40% chance of rain tonight.

    Speaking of being "creative", I had an idea that my husband did not like at all. We could take the bottoms out of some square wash tubs, sink them in half way down, and then fill them with soil. I could plant spreaders and keep them in check, and the tubs would retain the soil.

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  8. I forgot to say your kitty is a cutie. Heidi laid on one of the tarps for awhile today, but she also liked a spot where some plants are going to go.

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  9. Great idea! I had a metal fish tank stand I got for free, and then it sat in the garage for about a year. I couldn't figure out what to do with it so I gave it away. This would have been perfect! I'll remember this if I ever find another one.

    Amy

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  10. @ DG - thanks!

    @ Jean - wait till I attach the wrought iron thingy I found at a yard sale :) And yes I love my Grumpy!

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  11. Thanks! it was so easy compared to all the elaborate idea sketches I made in the months preceding it :)

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  12. wait till I attach the wrought iron thingy I found at a yard sale :) And yes I love my Grumpy!

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  13. Thanks :) I thought about wood oil, but I didn't know which to use or if it might leach bad things into the soil (and I'll be eating what grows out of here). Also I was too impatient to wait any longer! ;) The tomatoes are already starting to flourish! :D

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  14. I hope you do find another one! Good luck :)

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  15. Thank you! Yes my girl can be very adorable when she's not terrorizing the gardens... ;)

    I've been following the progress on your yard and it's looking really good!

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  16. Sprig South African GardeningMay 17, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    great work! nothing like recycling something for the garden..

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  17. great planter idea. It looks great. visiting from the DIY showoff contest and was happy to see a gardening post!!

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