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I canna part with me terracotta pots. So my herb garden has embraced them ...and the marriage is sweet..

Shade cloth colours optional. You can even knit your own doily.
Just so long as you can hose through the mesh.
Once the berets are settled into a crease, you can remove the pegs, and tuck in any flaps under mulch.

I find it best to group these crates for the sake of insulation. Any multiple will do, any pattern.

Shifting the crates when the pot is empty is easier than with a full one. The displacement of soil by the pot insertion makes the soil filled crates easier to move.

So you are lifting at least 2 kgm less.

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Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 9, 2020 at 11:04

Great Idea & reuse of a product I too find useful (I sit on mine to do my gardening) Thanks for sharing

Comment by Dave Riley on May 8, 2020 at 23:18

Here's my latest milk crate project:

Comment by Dianne Caswell on August 7, 2018 at 2:54

I am super surprised Dave, you do give food for thought. I always end up with Milk Crates when the butcher delivers the Milk for my Cheese Making, so I will try this idea out. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Dave Riley on August 6, 2018 at 21:26

If having an outback barbie you can still use the terracotta containers as wine coolers.  Like an out-of-season Easter Egg Hunt you can send folk off to search for the goodies.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on August 6, 2018 at 21:16

Milk crates are the design triumph of the 20th century with 1001 uses.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on August 6, 2018 at 21:05

That's clever. 

Comment by Dave Riley on August 6, 2018 at 18:28

The trick, Sid, is the shade cloth cover. But also using the volume pot to suit. I usually use single 19-21cm diameter pots in the garden  as I reckon that's deep enough.

The advantage with the wine coolers is their depth and narrowness. Cheap enough at Op shops -- and just right for the cubic area of a milk crate.

These crate gardens work OK without the insertions -- very well in fact -- but if you want to ensure better water upkeep the  terracotta coolers are great. I find the most difficult thing about garden pot gardening is keeping up the water and irrigating so that the water just doesn't drain away.

Wiking rigs will work but the clay pots are more interactive -- better monitored.

I think the loss of  growing space given over to the cooler is worth the trade off.

As for the wall and floor surfaces made from weed mat: I'm way surprised. Like bag gardening I guess...in a frame. While you'd expect any elevation like this would retain  a lot of heat as the weather warms, the clay pot core filled with water serves as a coolant and soil temperature moderator.

As planters milk crates are:

  • cheap (eg: from tip & Op shops) -- as are second hand wine coolers
  • extremely sturdy and durable -- almost indestructible
  • easily lifted/transported (and stacked). If not by hand, at least by a trolley.
  • large enough to hold a workable amount of soil.
  • all the same size and shape
  • useful for other tasks when not in garden-growing use.
  • easily pierced so plants can grow out of the sides of the crate garden
  • can conveniently  stacked for raised bed gardening

While I've used weed mat, you can cover the pots with hessian.

Comment by Sid Saghe on August 6, 2018 at 16:32

What a great idea - I'm doing something similar by gluing two small terracotta pots together, sealing one end and burying them in my raised planters! 

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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.


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