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More rough work

One of the steps up to the garden broke underfoot the other day. Just age and normal wear and tear, combined with the original carpenters cutting all the corners they could. So a trip to woodies had to be done to get some decking boards to repair it and, well, these days that’s not a quick evening’s browse in the car, it’s an outright expedition complete with mask and gloves. So you don’t buy the one decking board you would have bought, you grab two and other targets of opportunity as well becuase you already queued for ten minutes to get in, but since you don’t want to browse you kinda have to know where stuff is (I’m almost embarressed to know the layout of two or three Woodies like this, I’m much happier ordering timber from places like Quinns or Brooks). I grabbed some overpriced knotty 12x145mm 2.4m PAO pine as well because the blackberry plants I bought are still in their garden nursery pots and if we don’t move them soon they’ll get into trouble from lack of mass in the compost and root compaction.

After repairing the step (and all I’ll say about that is who uses indoor chipboard screws on an outdoor set of steps for pete’s sakes?) I spent all of about a minute sketching out what I wanted the bramble planter to look like (and two more minutes after I realised that steambending a trellis was overkill and just did a box instead) and then broke down the pine into rough cuts. I wanted to save two feet of it to make a new shelf for the lathe bits and pieces, and I wanted the planter to be at least a foot deep and everything else just emerged from that.

Brad nails, titebond, a few stainless steel screws here and there where a bit more strength was needed, and two shaped handles on the ends. Apart from handsaws, it was power tools all the way. But hell, it’s just a planter, it’s not meant to last more than one or two years. It only has a single coat of BLO to protect it from the elements.

That crossbar across the top is not a handle btw, it’s a tie-in point for canes because brambles like to climb:

And since all my basil died, I emptied the planter and refilled it with fresh compost and moved the strawberries to there.

So now we wait and either everything will die or we’ll have jam in a few weeks…


  1. Mark,

    “So now we wait and either everything will die or we’ll have jam in a few weeks…” So true, except for me it is home grown tomatoes. I’m having my first garden now that I’ve retired. Always before I’ve never been home or had the time to grow things. even if every plant dies in the Arizona sun before making a single tomato it has been enjoyable.

    Speaking of Blackberry’s, one of my fondest memories is of driving MsBubba to our new home in Oregon from Texas. Shortly after crossing the Oregon border she was jumping up and down in her seat exclaiming “brambles, brambles”. Needless to say we stopped and had a roadside snack of Blackberries.

    Be safe and good luck with your garden,


  2. And the cutting of corners is universal I’m afraid. I have been to many jobs where the primary issue is the incorrect fixings used with the incorrect corrosion resistance. Yes, sometimes both, occasionally the corrosion rating is correct but a metal fixing screw has been driven into timber for instance. Doesn’t hold the same. The latest issue are the various treatments of external timber requiring different grade fixings . Heck, at least the planter you made can be composted if it rots out with ill effect and it serves a purpose and I bet it is stronger . The amount of plastic used here that becomes a problem to deal with after a year, or a day, is huge. Just finished the seasonal marmalade production from all the damaged citrus. You get funny looks when you buy one bag of coffee and 10kilos of sugar ? My Mum’s tree is nothing if not prolific.

  3. Never had luck with tomatos here Ken, even in a conservatory. Chillis and bell peppers sure, but tomatos in our climate are a little finicky. Or at least, a little more than I could cope with. But with brambles the main task is to fight them off when they try to take over everything like delicious triffids.

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