Sempervivum and Jovibarba forum: Container question

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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Dec 11, 2012 3:20 AM CST

Moderator

Just like to get some opinions on something. Obviously sempervivum and other succulents need good drainage. In building wooden containers, do you think they would be better with a hardware cloth (wire "grid") bottom covered in weed barrier cloth (to retain the soil), or do you think a wooden bottom with holes drilled in it would be better. My concern about the wooden bottoms is retaining too much water and rot.

What do you think?
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 11, 2012 10:07 AM CST

Moderator

I agree I would think the wood bottom would soak up to much water, thus keeping the soil wet. I think I would use the hardware cloth. Thumbs up

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Dec 11, 2012 2:53 PM CST
Hi, Chris and Lynn. An interesting question. I had never thought about using hardware cloth plus a soil barrier.

So far, in more than 50 containers, no problems with any of the semps and jovi's rotting. I did make sure to put a number of holes in the bottoms to avoid this problem. With the wood being able to retain some moisture, I think it gives the whole container an environment more like the ground the container (can I say pot, even though it has square corners?) sits on.

However, another issue arises. Given that I hand cut the sides, there is a problem trying to assemble a reasonably square container without a bottom, due to angles of the cuts and trying to hold together a couple of pieces of wood while you manage a nail and hammer them. With two people that should not be a huge issue, but I think something like a table or miter saw would be necessary to get the angles of the cuts good enough to provide a stable container without the reinforcing bottom. Also, would you be able to find stainless steel staples to hold the cloth in place? I use hardware cloth of various sizes for sieves and have to re-staple them periodically when the staples rust out. That would be hard to do with a container a couple of years old with established plants.

Still, I LIKE the idea of the "hardware cloth/soil barrier" bottom. Perhaps some corner reinforcement, a second pair of hands and a better saw would make a good product.

I am not making wooden pots anymore, since I have now moved on to larger containers (~12"x8") by recycling and converting plastic buckets for my plants. I am fortunate to have a free, reasonably reliable source for them. I currently have more containers than space to put them.

Here are a few pics showing the plastic containers I am now making, as well a portion of my Pacific series collection in both the wooden containers and one in plastic (Pacific Country Cousins). The lower left hand corner of the third pic shows a container that my dad made more than 20 years ago.

Recycled plastic square bucket cut down, drainage drilled and painted using plastic paint.
Thumb of 2012-12-11/twitcher/50162c Thumb of 2012-12-11/twitcher/c0bb1d

Some of the S. Pacific series in wooden and recycled plastic containers.
Thumb of 2012-12-11/twitcher/8f253a

Here's a hint for those of you who want to try recycling the plastic buckets. Be very careful with the cutter. A repeated light touch works best for cutting them, don't try to force it our you will cut yourself and make poor cuts on the plastic as well. Use a metal straight edge for the initial cuts and be sure to measure. 6" from the bottom makes a nice container. Total cost for the plastic container (per container) is about $1.00 for the plastic paint. I've had some of these unpainted buckets out in the sun and UV for years without too much degradation, but use the paint to block UV and make the containers look more acceptable. I expect to get 10 years or more out of them and they are thick enough to survive occasional hits from the weed eater. They are also "green" since they are recycling what would otherwise be waste in our area. Not a bad size for semps, either.
Thumb of 2012-12-11/twitcher/e36cf5 Thumb of 2012-12-11/twitcher/6c99c0
[Last edited by twitcher - Dec 11, 2012 3:00 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #335411 (3)
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 11, 2012 3:52 PM CST

Moderator

Twit, I love the idea of recycled plastic buckets. I also love the looks of the wood, especially in the different sizes and shapes. I find it appealing.
Your Pacific Series is looking good.

Maybe brackets at the corners of the boxes, with the hardware cloth bottoms?
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Dec 11, 2012 6:10 PM CST
I agree With Twit and Lynn
Hurray! on the containers!
Unfortunately I made my container 4" and without holes in the bottom, it will be standing up,
so I'm hoping it doesn't absorb too much water!
Cheers
Greg
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
twitcher
Dec 11, 2012 7:37 PM CST
Greg, That's what DIY is all about -- adjusting things to fit the local, personal circumstances!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 11, 2012 8:19 PM CST

Moderator

I agree
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Dec 11, 2012 8:20 PM CST
Twit...exactly! Sticking tongue out Although now that I've read these posts, I'm considering poking a couple of holes in the seams (the wood I used for the back is oak I think - from an old bookshelf, the sides are pine)
I'm planning now to make lots of holes in the tins that I'm using. These projects are so exciting! I tip my hat to you.
Cheers
Greg
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Dec 12, 2012 1:20 AM CST

Moderator

Thanks everybody for your input. I've stapled hardware cloth to the bottom of wooden boxes before when I've made bird feeders and haven't had problems with the staples rusting out. Think I'll give it a try.

Twit, great idea to recycle the buckets for pots. Nice that you can get an unlimited number of them too! I'm amazed at the nice straight edges you're able to cut on them.

Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
Image
gg5
Dec 12, 2012 12:39 PM CST
Has anyone used paper mache?? I'm probably going to do pots out of that and coat them with shellac, to see how they do
Thanks for starting this post Chris! Hurray!
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 12, 2012 1:04 PM CST

Moderator

I wonder how well/long the shellac will hold up?
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Dec 12, 2012 2:06 PM CST

Moderator

Haven't tried that Greg. Only one way to find out though! Keep us posted on your results.
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 12, 2012 3:01 PM CST

Moderator

I have seen many lovely things made with paper mache and some very fun things. Big Grin

Greg I found this great article on an experiment with sealers for paper mache. Great read. http://www.papiermache.co.uk/articles/waterproofing-papier-m...
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Dec 12, 2012 7:18 PM CST
Lynn that is such helpful info, thank you, can't believe how quickly you came up with that!! Hilarious!
I guess I'll figure something else out, and not use paper mache!
Thanks
Greg
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 12, 2012 8:59 PM CST

Moderator

Hypertufa. Hurray!
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
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gg5
Dec 12, 2012 10:40 PM CST
I hadn't heard of it until seeing it on here...guess I may have to check into that! Meanwhile I did plant up a few of my new semps (no photos though) and one is in a plastic pot cut down from a costco container of something ( Whistling chocolate almonds! Hilarious! ) and the other is from a carry out container...so starting to "recycle" my recycles!
Cheers
Greg
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Dec 12, 2012 11:44 PM CST

Moderator

Chris has a great article on making hypertufa. http://garden.org/ideas/view/goldfinch4/32/Hypertufa-the-loo...
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
Image
gg5
Dec 12, 2012 11:45 PM CST
I'll check it out - ooh thanks Lynn!
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Dec 12, 2012 11:47 PM CST

Moderator

I tip my hat to you.
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
Image
gg5
Dec 12, 2012 11:58 PM CST
I like it...except for the +50 degrees and curing for 28 days (hmmm, I guess it'll be a summer project!)
I'm still considering other things, mini green walls made of different materials, and different pots made from quick dry cement, clay, whatever Thumbs up Very exciting!!
Cheers
greg
Plants bring me peace and calm, more of what we all need Smiling

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