Monthly Archives: July 2014

Using Wood Fence Panels as Shelving in the Greenhouse

This is a simple project that came about out of necessity and the fact that I had some old fence panels lying around that I picked up last summer when a neighbour was giving them away. When I picked them up I thought I would use them as a divider between the vegetable gardens and the flower garden that will be near the greenhouse soon (probably next year).

I have since changed plans for the area, I will be using vegetation as a divider instead, so I had no use for those wood fencing panels. That is, until I built the greenhouse and just set the plant pots on the tarp “floor”. After a while it became obvious that I needed to put the pots on something not only more stable, but that wouldn’t let them sink into the ground underneath.

I looked into plywood, but the cost was too much, and by next year it likely would have been ruined with water sitting under the pots on it, rarely drying. I thought about putting in the gravel now instead of in the fall (or perhaps next spring), but I don’t want to have to deal with it when I eventually remove the tarp underneath in favour of landscape fabric, and especially when I build the raised bed for along the North wall.

One day, when I had to move one of the fence panels out of the way to do something in the area, I noticed that they were still in really good shape, despite what they looked like and I had an epiphany. I took it over to the side of the greenhouse and sure enough, it was about the right length for what I was looking for and I decided to use them to hold up my plant pots.

Here is what I did:

I never got a before picture, but each section had a 2×4 post on each side that used to hold the fence upright, I used my skill saw to cut away the posts from the top and bottom rails, using the closest picket to the post as a guide. I chose to do it this way simply so that the rails would be flush with something, and so I could have somewhat of a guide to use for the cuts. I repeated this to cut off each post.

Next, I elevated the remaining piece of fence on some old pieces of wood and cut along the top rail, removing the very top parts of the pickets only.

Very Important Note: When I did this step, I went from the front of the fence panel and cut with the rail on the back side trying to use it as a guide. If I were to do it again I would cut on the back side, and I would set the edge of my saw against the rail. This won’t get the cut flush, but it will save you a real hassle, as I had to keep stopping and starting since I would sometimes cut into the rail itself. If you wanted it to be flush, you could always snap a chalk line down across the front side of the boards where the top of the rail is and follow it.

After the tops were cut off, I moved to the bottom of the pickets and repeated the process in the same manner. See the note after the last step for a better way to do this.

Wood Fence Panels waste

Here is some of the waste from the wood fence panels.

With everything cut, and them not being a permanent fixture in the greenhouse, I didn’t need to do anything else, so I moved them into the greenhouse and stacked the plants on them. If I was going to use them for longer, I would have stripped and repainted them with some good vinyl paint, but they are only temporary until the gravel goes in so I didn’t feel the need to splatter an old pair of pants.

Wood Fence Panels as Shelves

As you can probably tell, there are a few areas where the blade of the saw rubbed on, and went into the rail, if I did it as noted instead, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

Wood Fence Panels as Shelves

As you can see the floor is uneven in the middle from walking over it, it was even worse on the sides, also, excuse the mess, I hadn’t swept it out in a while when the photo was taken.

I also used one of the pieces of the pickets that I cut off as a spacer for my automatic vent opener, which wasn’t allowing the window to close all the way when I first put it up.

I think my next project will be to use the extra 2×4 leftover from building the greenhouse to make a folding potting bench that will lay (nearly) flat against the back wall when not in use. I don’t quite have it designed in my head yet either, but I will do a post when it’s done… And this time I’ll remember to take pictures of all of the steps!

Growing Potatoes in Containers Update 1

It hasn’t been that long since my last potatoes post, but time flies when it’s hot out it seems. A lot has happened in the garden since the last update including the worst hail I have seen in about ten years. Luckily, the potatoes were sheltered from the brunt of the attack, and only received minor damage to a few leaves.

There isn’t much change to the potato grow bags, the plants are a bit bigger, but nothing too impressive yet, and they aren’t quite big enough for me to add more peat yet. Expect a short update on them in a few days though, I’m sure the bags will be able to be unrolled fully and filled soon.

The trash can on the other hand has seen quite a bit of change; at least for a couple of the plants in it. The gamble I made with those two short plants worked out great, I’m glad that I left them exposed instead of burying them completely and filling the can to the top to benefit the other stems more. The two smaller ones have almost completely caught up to the taller plants surrounding them as you can see in the pictures below.

Growing Potatoes in Containers

Here are the two small plants poking up after the peat moss was filled in on June 26

Growing potatoes in containers

And here are those same two plants yesterday with the peat moss at the same level.

As you can clearly see, those plants have grown a great deal since June 26th, while the others must be content to just grow potatoes, as they don’t seem to have grown much at all.

Once I had examined the situation, I filled in the trash can with some peat moss until those shortest plants were showing about 8 inches or so above the peat level. After that was done I trimmed a few of the branches from the taller plants to allow the shorter ones more light and watered them good and deep.

Growing potatoes in containers

This was taken after I had filled the trash can with peat, but before I watered since I left the watering can inside.

I think I’m almost done working with these potatoes until harvest time now; I should only have to fill the barrel up once more after the smaller plants grow to be 8 to 12 inches above the rim. When that is finished, all I have to do is keep them watered and wait for them to show up on my plate with some sour cream and chives!

Oh, and you might have noticed that I have added an Instagram widget to the right hand side of the site. I will be using it to share pictures from around the garden (I’m trying to take at least one a day) whether they’re of flowers, fruits, or vegetables, so be sure to follow me there: Alberta Gardener’s Instagram.