Monday, May 20, 2013

Let Us Ford Rivers, Wear Gingham, and Build Planters

I mentioned, at some point, that I am living in Hawaii, taking care of a gorgeous piece of property while the owners finish out their careers and wrap up loose ends. While the land has many edibles already (macadamia nuts, passion fruit, papayas, and guavas) what it was really missing was a more savory element. I mentioned to a friend that what I really wanted was to plant some vegetables and herbs but I wasn't sure how to go about doing it while keeping out a very adorable duck and four mischievous feral chickens. 
Delicious home-grown guava!

Apparently making a planter is a lot easier than I thought. At first I was tempted to buy one premade with a minor amount of assembly required. However, it would end up being quite a bit smaller and, perhaps more importantly, I couldn't brag to everyone I meet that I actually made one myself.

After a trip to Home Depot, $43, and borrowing one power tool, we were set.

List of Materials:
6 5/8 in. x 5 1/2 in. x 6 ft cedar boards (Make sure they don't have any splits in them. Also, cut TWO of those boards in half. ($19)
1 7 or 8 ft post-like piece of wood, cut into 4 even chunks ($3)
1 inch small screws ($3)
1 1/2 inch small screws ($3)
2 long-ass PVC Pipes ($2.50 each)
Bird netting ($10)
Twine, zip-ties, string, paper clips
Dirt/soil/cinder (Free. . .? I hope?)

Ok, so this is how easy this is: (My instructions are written like I am a third grader. Pretend I am a third grader.)

1. Line up 2 6ft planks parallel to each other. Put a post at the end and line it up so it looks straight/classy.

2. Screw 2 small screws though each board into the post-like piece. Repeat on opposite side of the boards with another post thing.

You were supposed to take that beer step seriously. 

3. As you're drinking your beer, do the exact same thing again as above so you have another side of your planter.

4. Take two half-planks of wood and line them up on either end of your planter so it looks like you're making a rectangle.(Hint: You are.)
The end of the half-planks should line up with the post-like things (and the end of the longer cedar planks).

5. Use the same small screws, 2 screws per board per side, to create the third wall of the planter.

6. Do the same thing on the other side.


So then you have the option to get real fancy and put PVC pipe on the side so you can hang bird netting over your garden.  Is that a thing you want to do? If yes. . .

7. You need to get a drill bit a tiny smidge larger than the circumference of your longer screws. You have to drill the holes in the PVC pipe first otherwise apparently things are crazy and the plastic explodes and people die. Sad.
Anyway, make 3 holes at each end of the pipe, about 2.5 inches apart. Do so for both pipes.

8. Take a long screw and screw the PVC pipe to the side of the exposed post-thing. If you're doing it right the bottom of the PVC pipe will touch the top of the long side of the cedar planks. If that doesn't make any sense, just look at the final product below and it should be clear. Use remaining other 2 screws in the pre-drilled holes.

9. Bend the PVC pipe toward the outward-facing side of the post-thing. Repeat Step 8. It should kind of look like the frame of a covered wagon. You can put on your best gingham dress and braid your hair.

Before you do that, though, make sure you do the exact same thing with the PVC pipe and the screws to the other side of the planter. Then it will REALLY look like the frame of a covered wagon.

This duck REALLY wants to be in your planter.
10. Drape some bird netting over the side of your covered wagon and tie it off with string or something. Really, whatever works for you aesthetically? Just as long as it's relatively difficult for a bird-creature to roll around in your planter and fuck up your Christmas. 

That's it! You have your planter. WE MADE THINGS. TOGETHER!

Oh, or you could figure out what to do by watching a video or something

My planter is 11 inches high, giving plenty of room for root vegetables if I decide that's what I want to do later.

 Plant List!

Pineapple Sage
Sweet Basil
Trailing Rosemary
Ghost Peppers (x2)
Zucchini (Ok, so they're going to be a bit too big for the planter. Instead, I made 3 dirt mounds, put in the seeds, and I'm hoping for something glorious. I already have one sprouting!)
Spinach (From seeds)
Arugula (From seeds)
String Beans (From seeds)

Also part of the clan, but so far un-planted are:
Thornless Blackberry
Coffee Plants (This is Hawaii. Of COURSE it grows well here.)

I'll (hopefully!) do an update again sometime soon to see how this works out!