DIY with Mr. Green Thumb

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I have some good friends, David and Robyn, who have been remodeling their country property for the past year.  They are also adding massive amounts of fruit trees and vegetation to their very special 10 acres, located here in Sonoma County. David happens to have a very green thumb, and yesterday I had the pleasure of touring his culinary garden, and also watching him and his assistant build a redwood planter box.


How to build a simple raised planter box out of redwood:

Step One:  Prep soil with amendment and with a rototiller or good rake.

Step Two:  You can cut your lumber yourself, but it is easier to have the wood supplier cut your redwood to your specifications.  In David’s case, he went with a 12 foot length.  He reminded me that you cannot use pressure treated lumber, since those chemicals would leach into your prized vegetables.

Step Three:  Screw your 4 x 4 posts to your side lengths with 3” deck screws.


Step Four:  Attach your long lengths of redwood to your finished ends.

Step Five:  (optional)  Attach gopher netting to base of your planter if you have problems with this type of rodent.

Step Six:  Stake your raised planter to the ground, and fill with good potting soil.

Sorry for forgeting to shoot the entire planter, but you can see part of it in this photo, where David has just started his strawberry patch:

I was also impressed with David’s waist high raised planters that he built for his 80 year old mother, so she doesn’t have to bend down.  Check these out:

He built a platform to support this mega raised bed, and held it all together with galvanized bolts.  Then he created a detachable hot house with PVC pipe, some fittings, clamps, and plastic.  Brilliant !


And he starts all of his plants from seed, and nurtures them right here on this potting bench:

I am so glad to have friends like Robyn and David, not only because they teach me so much, but because I hope to enjoy some of their garden bounty all summer and fall.



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DIY: Jeweled Planters

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

It’s my belief that ordinary objects can transform into something quite glamorous with some thoughtful accessories.  So why not give your flowers a bit of glitz as well?  Your blooms work hard to give you a show, so give them the gift of their own jewelry.  Glass marble jewelry, that is.

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DIY: Paint Can Planters

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

I came up with a great idea for a garden planter the other day as I was browsing the paint aisle of all places.  I spied a stack of plain paint cans and thought, those would make amazing planters so I brought a few home and with a little painter’s tape and spray paint created these:

I had a bare patch of fence in my rear yard that was in need of attention.  I really didn’t feel like painting it again, which is what it needed (ha!), so I thought I’d distract everyone with some whimsical decor.  And this was such an easy and inexpensive way to do it.

How To Make a Paint Can Planter:


  1. Paint cans, recycled or new.  Plain metal paint cans are available at most home improvement stores.
  2. Outdoor spray paint
  3. Painter’s tape and/or stickers for lettering
  4. Hammer and nail
  5. Hooks for fence (if you will be hanging your planters)

Step One:  If your cans are recycled, clean off the labels and scrape off any drips from the sides.  Spray paint your cans with your first color of spray paint.  Allow to dry thoroughly, usually at least 5 to 6 hours.

Spray paint your hooks and screws to complement.

Step Two:  Apply painter’s tape in your design of choice.  In my case, I wanted striped cans so I used the painter’s tape to allow for green stripes underneath.  Apply your second color of spray paint and allow to dry thoroughly.  When dry, gently remove your painter’s tape.

Step Three (optional):  Add your word of choice with simple stickers.  In my case, I spelled out the word “BLOOM” for my third paint can.   I also applied more painter’s tape to my striped cans so I would end up with a third white stripe, and then spray painted them with a third shade of white.  When dry, gently remove your painter’s tape and/or stickers.


Step Four:  Use your hammer and a nail to puncture drainage holes in the bottom of your paint can.  Use a soft cloth or towel underneath your can so you don’t cause any damage to your paint.

Step Five:  Add gravel to the bottom of your planter, then some potting soil and your favorite blooms. In my case, I chose Iceland poppies for their color, and I know they will tolerate heat and full sun.  Using outdoor spray paint will allow your cans to withstand the seasons, and the sun’s rays.

These painted cans will brighten any fence, deck or balcony.  They would also make an extra special housewarming gift – imagine them with a monogram, or the homeowner’s new street address !






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