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Monday, May 31, 2010

THE COLOSSAL POTATO TOWER VENTURE

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So, I got this idea for a Potato Skyscraper/Tower here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rGWZAIjsTUAs he didn't give any real instructions, I'm attempting this experiment on my own. The idea is that the plants will grow out the sides and top of the tower and the whole thing will be green. In the fall when the plants die back, the whole inside is supposed to be full of potatoes. We shall see.

These are the tools and materials I used:

Shovel
Gloves 
Scissors
Garden kneeling pad
Landscape fabric
Cable ties
Good fertile dirt (mine was from the cow pasture, but you could use compost)
Straw


I had some prep work to do, because it was going in a place that had tough stalks that I had to remove, but the theory is you can put it right on top of the grass. So, anyway, place the landscape fabric down where you want you tower placed. I put bricks on the outer edge, so I can mow close to it and not have weeds, hopefully.





Next take a length of Chicken Wire (fencing), available at the home center or a farm supply center. I used about 10 feet or so, but you can make it any size you want. Just remember, the bigger you make it, the easier it will want to tip over. I had a couple of fence posts in here already for tying up my plants, so I used them to anchor the Tower to in the back.


You may not be able to see it very well, but I overlapped the edges after I made a circle of the chicken wire and fastened it with cable ties.

Now, start filling with dirt or compost. 
Put in about a 3-4 inch layer.










Next, goes a 3-4 inch layer of straw.


I planted 3 different varieties of potatoes:

Reds
Mega Chip (white)
Yukon Gold (white)

I cut them so there was at least one eye in a section and allowed them to air dry for an hour or two, so they got kind of a crust on them. This is 
supposed to help prevent rotting I guess.

Layer the cut potatoes on the straw and then add a layer of dirt or compost and straw.
Continue layering in this manner until you are finished. 
I had 2# of each type of potato and made 2 layers of each kind, for a total of six layers.
Finish with dirt or compost over the last layer of potatoes.
I put a layer straw on top, just to keep the weeds down. 
Here is my tower, finished. 
I planted it on May 15th.
Be sure to water the tower frequently, as potatoes have a lot of moisture in them.







And look who decided it was a bed the minute I got done!







Here it is on May 27th. 
The plants are starting to grow out the sides and top.

VOTE FOR ME!!!

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The voting has begun for Instructables Garden Contest. Please vote for my project, the Strawberry Jar. Here's the link: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Strawberry-Jar-from-a-re-purposed-/

VOTE FOR ME!!!

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The voting has begun for Instructables Garden Contest. Please vote for my project, the Strawberry Jar. Here's the link: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Strawberry-Jar-from-a-re-purposed-/

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Round Strawberry Jar

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Here's a round strawberry jar I made for my Granddaughter, for her Bday. I potted up some of my extra strawberries, and hopefully we can plant it together this weekend. Hopefully you can make the pic bigger to see the strawberries I painted on the side.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

STRAWBERRY JAR

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Find the instructions HERE

"Strawberry Jar" from a re-purposed plastic jug

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Visit thecsiproject.com

 I've been looking for another Strawberry Jar, but don't care for the high price tag. I thought  "You know, I bet I can make one out of stuff I have at home."
So, I did, and I don't think it turned out too badly.
The plastic is all re-purposed and the only other materials I needed were some small screws, caulk (both of which I had on hand) and paint (which was on sale).

 Materials
Large plastic jug
Plastic bottles or cups if that's what you have available
1/2" screws
Paintable caulk
Paint for plastic

Tools
Tape measure
SoniCrafter
Heat gun or hair dryer
Kitchen shears
File/Rasp combination
Drill and 1/2" drill bit
Caulking gun
Clamps Blocks of wood
Scraps of wood for wedges
Miter saw
How I made it:



The first picture is the type of jug I used.
Remove the handle by cutting one end of the pin that holds it in. Use the handles for some other project. I made a handbag with mine. Use a heat gun or hair dryer to soften the labels to remove them.


Turn the jug upside down and cut out a rectangle, leaving an edge all around. Mine had a raise edge, so I just followed the crease.


Mark off where you want your holes placed on the jug, measured according to the size plastic bottle/cup you have. I made sure mine were staggered all around, so all four sides are different.


Cut the holes out on the sides and top only, using a SoniCrafter or whatever you have that will cut this tough plastic. Then cut off the top 2/3 , leaving the bottom 1/3 to attach your bottle/cup to.
At this point, I scored along the bottom, so the flap could be bent inward.


This is the type of plastic bottle I used.


 Use the miter saw to cut off the top of the bottle. (If you are using plastic cups, you can skip this step).


Clamp boards to the miter saw to make a jig to cut the bottles in half top to bottom.



This is what you'll end up with.
Finish cutting the rest of the way with a kitchen shears.


 This what you'll have at this point.


Use a file/rasp to take off the splinters left behind from cutting. They don't have to be totally smooth.


Set your half bottles/cups in the holes of the planter.  The top of the "pot" should be just a little above the top of the hole, just so it doesn't slip inside. Cut of any excess bottle/cup.
Drill a hole a little smaller than your screw through each bottle/cup half  bottom and the flap on each hole. Screw each cup to each flap.





 Measure the space between the top of the holes to the bottom of the "pots" and cut a scrap piece of board to fit in and use as a wedge to keep the pots up against the planter.


Caulk around the outside edges of each "pot", sides and bottom.  Caulk on the sides of each "pot" on the inside. This is what you'll have, minus the peanut butter which I used to get most of the residue from the labels off.


After this has dried, you'll probably need to check it over and recaulk any areas you missed.
Let cure for time advised and drill drainage holes in the bottom of the planter.
Sand it just to roughen it up a bit and wipe it down. You are now ready to paint.


Here is my finished "Strawberry Pot" in my makeshift painting booth. If you're not fussy, you could use it like this, but I wanted a more finished look.
Paint with a spray paint made for plastic. I used Rustoleum Universal in a brown hammered finish. I thought this would look the most planter like.


So, here is the finished planter.




And here it is all planted. I'm sure it will look much nicer once the plants are established.