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A Marvelous Metal Planter for my Basil

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by Patty S on May 24, 2006 11:00 PM
Last summer we found a big rusty backhoe bucket in the abandoned field adjacent to our property, when we mowed a firebreak along the property line. It was so ugly laying out there, that I got the bright idea to make a planter out of it! I'd have liked to put something in it that would have draped over the sides to hide it, but I had tons of Basil & Cosmo seeds that I'd harvested from the year before, so we put the bucket upright & filled it with dirt & I just dumped a bunch of seeds in there.

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It didn't take them much time to germinate, & that old bucket just exploded with plants! Both, the Basil & the Cosmos, grew taller & healthier than those growing in my gardens! My "Basil Bucket" was beautiful!

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This year I tried to start some Basil early, but the first batch just didn't make it for some reason. [dunno] I thought about how well it had done after I planted it in the backhoe bucket, & I remembered that at the time, I attributed that success to the temperature of the soil, which was surrounded by all that metal, in full Sun. (I put my hand down inside that dirt once, & trust me, it was HOT!) Also, since there was no drainage in the bucket, the plants had plenty of moisture.

During a week of hot weather recently, I planted some Basil seeds (outdoors) in some copper pots that I'd picked up at a yard sale, thinking that the copper would help to heat up the soil & make the seeds happy.... & IT WORKED!

I didn't plant the seeds deep at all, but rather just tapped them down into the dirt, & they germinated in only 3 days! I already know to give them a good start by making sure they have a set of "true leaves" before transplanting them to a garden spot. (They like lots of water & Full Sun.)  -

The "Basil Bucket" is gone now... somebody bought the field, & it's actually being mowed this year by the new owner! I heard a lot of noise coming from the field one morning about 6 weeks ago, & when I looked out, I saw a man wenching the bucket onto a flatbed trailer!  - (Darn! I had big plans for it this year!) I ALMOST ran out there to ask the guy if he'd pull his trailer around to our yard & leave the bucket here... but, nothing more than fear & common sense told me not to do that! (My husband is already NOT thrilled with some of the stuff I pack home, & he HATES FreeCycle! I don't know what he might have done if he came home from work & saw that thing sitting in the middle of our newly planted lawn!)

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So, I just stood at the window with the cat in my arms, & helped her wave bye-bye to that marvelous metal planter! [tears]

Happy Gardening!

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by Triss on May 25, 2006 06:14 AM
Patty, I hope your basil does as well in their copper pots as they did in the metal bucket. Makes me wonder if I could use something like an old tire rim to create a raised area in my garden, if that extra heat would help not only basil but tomatoes and peppers as well. I am on the hunt now for metal type containers.

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by Patty S on May 25, 2006 11:41 AM
I'm not real sure how warm Peppers & Tomatoes like their soil, Triss, but I found out that Basil (& Cosmos) sure respond well to it. Rubber tires do absorb & hold heat, & I would think that tires would be great for many plants, but maybe not ones that don't like a lot of water, as they also hold in moisture.

If you try that, let us know which plants liked the heat & which didn't do so well.

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by Triss on May 25, 2006 11:56 AM
It won't be this year Patty, but next year I wil attempt some of that. Unless of course I come upon some types of things fairly soon. I am on the lookout now.

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by Danno on May 25, 2006 01:39 PM
btw patty if you wanted the bucket you could have just asked and not snapped pictures of me from afar! I had just got done scratching my a$$ in that picture LOL!
by Deborah L. on May 25, 2006 04:25 PM
What a cool, well, warm story ! I'm gonna try copper now too.
Neat discovery too ! Maybe I'd get more tomatoes?
I'm on the coast and we don't get as much sun as people would think.

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by Patty S on May 25, 2006 06:51 PM
Hey Triss, I have a stack of studded tires here behind the house (which we don't need in our micro-climate) that haven't made it to the dump, if you want them! [Big Grin] [Big Grin] Actually, I'd never been successful at starting tomato plants from seed before this year (something to do with keeping them watered, I hear!) [nutz] Now I have 9 or 10 Cherry tomato plants that are ready to go into the ground, once this rain stops! (I have no idea what I'll do with the amount of tomatoes I'll get from all those plants... I used to can up my own Tom sauce, but now that the kids are gone & I don't have a root cellar, I guess they'll have to find takers at the church & Day school this summer!)

Anyway, I do want to try my hand at an up-side-down tomato this year, & since I have so many plants, I'll drag out one of those tires & see how that works out with tomato plants.

Deborah, I'm not real sure about putting Tomato plants in tires, because tires hold a lot more moisture than tomatoes like. (Too much water will cause the fruit to split, & the plant itself won't be very healthy & happy.) If there was a way (A reciprocating saw, maybe.) [dunno] to put some big gashes or drainage holes under the fullest part of the tire, so the water could drain out, that might be a good idea. (Maybe even having a gravely base at the bottom half of the tire, to promote drainage, would help as well.) Tomato plants don't have a very wide root structure, either, so I don't know that the plant/warmer soil ratio would match up, unless you can find a small tire. (A 13" rim tire would be better than a 15" or 16", I'm thinking.) Guess we'll have to try it & see what happens. (By the way Deborah, I LOVE your Avatar!) [thumb]

Danno, You gave me lots more information than I needed there (shame on you), but if you'll bring that backhoe bucket back to the field, I promise that I'll weed-wack around it, if you keep the field mowed!  -

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by Triss on May 26, 2006 06:17 AM
I dunno that I actually want tires patty. they are rather ugly to put in a garden, but the rim parts would be really neat. The key is still getting me DOWN there and soon too.

I do know I will be in Portland to get my mom on the 14th of June and back again on the 20th to drop her and the kids off. I may try and swing leaving the day before and hanging out with you and visiting Sarah before I have to get her.

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.

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