DIY Weekend

It’s no secret, I like to do things myself. If I can make something in a decent amount of time for less than it would cost me to buy it – most of the time – I’m in. I’ve always been a bit of a kinesthetic (hands-on) learner, so I usually get more out of something if I do it myself anyway. This weekend was no exception.

My best half was away for the weekend so I had more hours to fill than usual. Admittedly, I had planned to work and try to get ahead for the week, but I’d also been feeling jaded and a bit burnt-out. Running didn’t help, as it usually does, and I decided to take the weekend off in hopes of a reset. So, Friday morning, I piled some projects on top of my regular weekend to-dos and set about distributing them over the next two-and-a-half days. (I did do a little work on Friday. It couldn’t be helped.)

One of my main goals for the year is to get my herb garden established from seed and overwinter perennials indoors. I had a tiny bit of success with this last winter, meaning I got two plants to survive. But, in so doing, I spoiled myself for using store-bought dried herbs, and buying them fresh just gets expensive more quickly than is justifiable. So, of course, I just decided to grow them myself.
The overhead can be a bit much, buying pots and good soil and so on – but I expect the payoff to be worthwhile, as the pots are the biggest expense if I want nice ones but I don’t intend to have to buy them again for a very long time. I’ve already learned more than most probably care to know about container gardening, yet I find myself learning something new almost daily.

Anyway, I’ve found myself with a little gang of assorted sized pots and nowhere to put them outdoors where they’d be safe from most of our passing critters. I spent an embarrassing amount of time searching for a plant stand that would suit my needs and found nothing that didn’t cost a great deal more than it was worth to me, so I started searching for a bench of some kind to set them on. Again, nothing. I didn’t need it to change my life, I just needed somewhere to set my little plant babies to sunbathe for the summer. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this: I made one. I figured out from googling and youtubing a little for techniques that I could make one for under thirty dollars – and it would probably only take me an afternoon. Perfect.

After a little math, one 2×4, a 2×8, some wood glue, finishing nails, and two hours, I had this:

IMG_20170602_154518

Note the pots at the top, haha. Poor guys. That covering is hollow after the first eight inches or so, they’d been perched there quite a bit more precariously than I preferred for most of the week. On windy days I was sure the little guys would get blown over so I’d bring them in. Now they sit closer to the ground on a nice sturdy surface and, between the walls of the deck, they are safe from the wind and happy out in the sun.
I gotta say it’s much more sturdy than I expected, but it won’t travel well unless I replace or supplement the nails that are holding the legs on with screws. I don’t have a saw or a drill at home so shoutout to Joe at Lowe’s – he didn’t bat an eye when I requested they cut the lumber for me.

I had one other big project that I can’t mention yet, as it was for someone else and I haven’t given it to them yet, but that took up the entirety of Saturday afternoon.

Smaller projects included weeding our garden (a good day to break in that new forked hoe), making cake mix cookies with Greek yogurt in place of butter, testing out a recipe for a white bean chili, and fertilizing all our plants, both in-ground and containerized.

On that last one, I found that a couple of my larger pots weren’t draining as well as they should. I gently dug the plants out to find that the soil was compacted near the bottom of the pot and also filling the drainage hole. I consulted my lovely and helpful Aunt Cathy – who’s experience and wealth of knowledge make her my number-one go-to for all things plant life – and after a bit of back and forth decided to mix in some buckwheat hulls to aerate the soil and increase drainage. She had originally suggested vermiculite, however, I didn’t have time to get to the store and the buckwheat hulls were all I had on hand. But, after putting a piece of drywall tape over the drainage hole to keep it from being filled again, I repotted my little babies and it worked just perfectly. It’s also so much prettier than plain ‘ole soil! Here’s an example on one of my little bay laurels:

IMG_20170605_112214 (1)

That was Sunday, it started to rain right as I got everyone settled and my deck swept off. So I came in to do some laundry and veg a bit on the couch with a smoothie while catching up on Jessica Jones and beating my scores on Mario Kart 8.

All-in-all not a bad weekend.

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