Friday, November 22, 2013

"I DID IT" - My Wooden Pallet Potting Bench

                   Perseverance, late nights, sore muscles, and determination but
                                                           "I DID IT"!!
                   (I feel like Scarlet O'Hara, though, in "Gone With the Wind"
                when Rhett saw her hands, after she'd been working in the fields,
                               and said "those aren't the hands of a lady!"
                           I'm going to need a manicure, a lot of hand lotion and rest
           for my weary muscles now that this Pinterest project is almost done!
Potting bench with iron headboard to hang tools from
                         I am so proud that I can finally post the picture of my
                          almost finished Pallet Potting Bench for my garden.
             Actually, it still needs the top boards that will surround the sink
         that I'll eventually put in the middle. I'm still on the hunt for a used one
                          and I didn't want to cut the boards for that until I know
                                                how big the sink will be.
                        I want to thank a few people for their help along the way:

- My friend's husband, Bill, who lent me his "SuperBar" to pry the boards
   off the pallets
- Harbor Freight and their sale coupons and the nice gentleman shopper
   who helped me fix my circular saw in the store! I LOVE this store!
- My brother who lent me his sander and reminded me how to use a
   circular saw
- My friend's husband, Jim, who cut the nails off one board that I had
   given up on
- My friends on FB who "liked" my status and encouraged me to not give up
- My God who kept me safe while using power tools and gave me the
   strength and health to persevere
                                                          Lessons Learned:
- The right tools make the job easier and the results more pleasing.
- Just like in making a quilt, measure twice - cut once and the more
   accurate the cut, the more likely the pieces will line up and go together
   like they should.
- If it looks easy on Pinterest, it probably won't be.
- Taking apart a pallet is NOT easy and I may never do a project with them

  BUT I love my bench and I know what I want in my stocking for Christmas -

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Potting Bench Construction Day 3-7

After taking a long look at my pathetic attempt at a potting bench and the pictures I had pinned on Pinterest, I decided I needed to re-design my bench and start over.
This may be the hardest project, physically, I've ever done. I will never again say "How hard can it be?" ... because the answer to that would be "It can be HARD"!

Physically, these 2x4's aren't lightweight and when you screw a bunch of them together - they get heavy. Then add to that, the pulling and wrenching of the screws/nails out of the pallet boards and you don't need to go to the gym for exercise!

       But the finished product is going to make me VERY PROUD OF MYSELF!!

Here is the bench to date - it still needs some sanding, painting, and shelves added ....
Boards cut for the bottom shelf - I'm getting better with my saw skills!

Tomorrow - PAINT!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pallet Potting Bench - Day 2

                                                      POWER TOOLS -
                                                  they aren't for Sissy's!
                            Let me tell you - a reciprocating saw makes a HUGE
difference in making this project easier!!
But it's a very powerful tool and definitely NOT a toy!
You could do some serious, irreparable damage to your limbs
if you aren't careful.
So, armed with my new "tool" and my Safety Goggles,
I attacked the pallets and within an hour,
I had cut all the boards off the 1st pallet.
The second pallet was of a different variety
and much easier to pull the boards off of due to the fact
that they were put together with nails instead of screws.
It also had the markings on the side that I've learned are
what you want to look for in choosing a pallet.
This one was much easier to just pry the boards off
but the saw made easy work of cutting off the excess.
By the end of the Day 2,
I have the top of my potting bench ready to add legs
I'm starting to feel pretty proud of myself!

Monday, November 4, 2013

DIY: My Pallet Potting Bench - Day 1

                                                    How hard can it be?
That's always been my "mantra" when it comes to
DIY projects I see on the internet.
Besides, there are so many YouTube Videos online
that show you the steps -
 I'm guessing that with the right tools, I can do it too.

DAY 1:
The 1st step is to find some pallets - preferably ones
that are stamped on the side with the letters "HT" meaning "heat treated".
This, I learned means that they aren't imbedded with chemicals
that are harmful for your garden plants or yourself
when working with the pallets.
Fortunately, I found a few pallets for free from a local business
(who even helped load them into my car!)
and home I came to start my project...

Well, it turns out that taking the boards off is harder than it looks ....
using a rubber mallet, a "Superbar" (short version of a crowbar),
and a hammer, I pounded and pried, and after about an hour,
I had managed to remove only one board from the 1st pallet.
 The nails are actually partly screws and they are imbedded tight
into the pallet wood. At this rate, I could tell
 it was going to take me longer than I imagined to disassemble these things!

So, I went back to the internet,
watched a few more YouTube Videos, read more "how-to" articles,
and discovered that some people use a saw
to actually cut through the nails ...
hmmm - this seemed like a GREAT idea!

In Sunday's newspaper, Harbor Freight had a sale flyer with a
"reciprocating saw" on sale for only $19.95!
I'm not even sure what "reciprocating" means when it comes to saws
but the ad said it would cut through pallet wood AND the screws,
so it sounded like the perfect tool
to help me with my potting bench project.

Armed with my "early Christmas present to myself"
and a pair of safety goggles,
I headed home to begin again.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Oh Pinterest - I love you!

There are SO many great gardening ideas on Pinterest!
I've got the urge to try 2 of them in my backyard garden:
- a spiral, bottle-edged herb garden
- a potting table with an outdoor sink
(my garden gloves get so dirty, I don't want to bring them inside
to put them in my washing machine before a good rinsing - hence - an outdoor sink!)
With a little (well, actually A LOT) of help from my friends, I'm on the hunt for an old, used sink and some colored bottles (blue/green/brown) to edge the herb bed.
Here are some of the ideas I found and what I have in mind ....
FIRST: An OUTDOOR SINK .. maybe with a Potting Table!
Combining 2 of my loves - gardening with a sewing machine base!
It doesn't have to be complicated ...
but I'm thinking "cuter" than this ....
Now THIS is cute!
And THIS is WAY Cute!!
 This one shows how the buckets are used underneath for the run-off "grey water" to use elsewhere in the garden. This doesn't look too hard to do - and YouTube videos show you how!

I think this would be even cuter with colored bottles -
 blue, green and brown ones!
If anyone sees any items I could use, laying on the side of the road,
text me with a "Curb Alert"!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Expanding the Garden - Oct. 2013


Now that the weather has turned cooler
it was time to work out again in the garden.
I decided to expand my raised bed cement
vegetable garden to make the beds a bit larger.
In the bed on the left (still needs more dirt),
I am going to sink the worm bin bucket!
The bed on the right has been planted with Romaine lettuce and spinach.
The center bed has some still-blooming pepper
plants and newly planted broccoli, carrots and sugar snap peas.
I also put up a few hoops for using in the cooler weather
to be able to cover the beds to protect from frost.
I LOVE Fall - and am looking forward to seeing
how my Garden Grows!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sagging Sunflowers Saga

Who Knew?
I guess I thought sunflowers always kept their sunny little faces turned up
towards the sky until they faded and dropped off their seeds.
How sad they look now with their heads hung down - reminds me of the song
"Hang down your head, Tom Dooley"
(who the heck was Tom Dooley?)
Anyway, now I'm watching YouTube videos about how to harvest the seeds.
Anybody got any suggestions you've tried before?
Oh well, even with their downturned faces, these flowers are a "joy" to see
since NOW I can actually see what their faces they look like -
they are looking at ME!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Glance Back but Looking Forward

It's fun to see how different my garden looks now compared to how it began.
I remember when I moved in and sat on my little porch, sad that all I had to look at was a bare fence and one little "eyebrow" flower garden in the corner.
What a difference alot of hard work and planning makes ....
I brought in Lots and Lots of compost ....
+ a found pallet to use as a trellis for the morning glories
and MANY loads of petrified rock left over from my Dad's backyard....
Can you see where those stones ftom the original "eyebrow" bed went?
(alternated w/petrified wood making them stretch the length of my bed & saving money!)   
                Pinterest gave me lots of ideas for how to design an herb bed...
herbs planted between the stepping stones

left to right: wisteria vine starting to grow on the trellis, squash and Peggy Martin rose
growing up the other trellis',
yellow pear tomato on the right with Laura Bush petunias growing profusely in the center!

  This wonderful red wheelbarrow was a "find" on the side of the road
                                     on my way home from work one day!
        It looks so cute with the winged begonia and cypress vine growing in it!
                   This is the back of my raised bed garden - filled with zucchini and yellow squash, eggplant, sweet potatoes, okra and cucumbers!
Thank you, LORD!
I'm working on that "bloom where you're planted" phrase!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another Jack-and-the-beanstalk-type plant!

Oh MY!
Who knew that the word "Large" on the seed packet of my sunflower seeds
actually meant "GIANT"!!
How much taller will these sunflower plants get before they produce a flower?
"Come on little okra plants - you've got alot of growing to do to catch up with these!"

In the front sections, I've planted bush beans and sage.
On the right section are yellow squash and zucchini plants.
On the left are new potatoes almost ready to harvest.
Center section contains tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and okra.
There are only a few plants of each variety,
but this design makes square-foot gardening alot easier to manage.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Garden Hose Wreath

                        This was so much fun to make and is the perfect wreath
                                                    to go on my garden gate!

                                  It's made from an old garden hose cut in half
(use one half and give the other to a friend!)
Tied onto one side is a stem of silk flowers, a plastic trowel from the Dollar Store, a pair of garden gloves and a rafia bow.
I tied a piece of rope onto the hose to hide the long twist-tie
that I used to keep the loops securely fastened.
It's hung on the gate with a metal shower curtain ring -
It makes me happy to see it on my gate!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My word for 2013 - JOY!

Has it really been months since I posted my last blog note?
So much has happened in my garden since then and my backyard has definitely "bloomed" since I moved in a year and a half ago!
I have flower beds!

The lipstick salvia is already blooming along with
the verbena that over-wintered and the black-foot daisy.
 The Cinco de Mayo rose is full of blooms
and I have a newly planted Meyer lemon in the pot.

In December, I planted daffodills and what a "joy-full" display they are starting to put on !

    I've planted Texas bluebonnets and some spring bulbs, plumbago, and a bit of the purple verbena under the Bradford pear tree. Now if I could just remember to fill the bird feeder more often.

Due to our early Texas springtime weather, I've recently planted vegetables in my raised bed garden - tomatoes, peppers, bush beans, squash, eggplant, garlic, brussel sprouts, lettuce, cauliflower and potatoes.
Along with a few sunflower seeds just for fun :-)        

Wondering about that "tent"? It's actually called a "hoop house" and helps keep out the moths that lay eggs on the cabbage and brussel sprouts. One site said if you use "tule" for your cover, you can call it a "Prom Garden" :-)

                  Everyday, it's such a delight to go out to see what's sprouting
                   or how much taller the potato plants have grown overnight.

                        I can already imagine the taste of that 1st juicy tomato!
                                              Now that will certainly be "Joy"!