Troughs *Not For Livestock Only

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There is something so beautiful about a moss covered container.  Even when the plants inside have seen better days, the container continues to please the eye.  In a few weeks, the violas and kale will fill in.

Especially moss friendly are the troughs made with a mixture of Portland cement, vermiculite, peat moss, and sand.  The earthy ingredients when kept in a moist environment are the perfect growing medium for moss.

1 part vermiculite
1 part sphagnum peat moss
1 part Portland cement (important-Portland cement results in a darker more natural look)
1 part water, approximately
**Plastic bowls, shoe boxes, or a mold of your liking similar in size

Put dry materials in a large container such as a wheelbarrow, in this order: 1 bucket vermiculite, 1 bucket peat moss (remove any large lumps or sticks), 1 bucket of Portland cement, and a small handful of loose reinforcing fibers (these are sold at masonry supply stores). Mix thoroughly. Add water in small increments and mix until the material is the consistency of dry cottage cheese or thick oatmeal. Don’t let the mixture get too wet.

Line the inside of your bowls or shoe boxes with plastic bags or plastic wrap. Using a rubber glove, scoop handfuls of mixture and mold the inside of your containers. Form mixture around edges 3/4″ to 1″ thick. Poke 1-2 drainage holes in the bottom of the mixture with your finger, stick or dowel. Cover the mold well with plastic for 24 hours.

After setting 24 hours, carefully remove the very fragile trough from its mold and peel off the plastic. Use a wire brush or a paint-scraping tool to smooth out any imperfections, and give the exterior a pleasing texture. The edges should be softened, rounded, and somewhat irregular.

Place the trough back under its plastic bag and let it cure for a couple of weeks before planting.

**To make larger troughs like the one in the pictures above, I recommend using medium gauge chicken wire for reinforcement.  Cut the wire slightly smaller than the sides you are reinforcing.  Gently pack the mixture around the wire making sure that no wire is exposed once complete.  Some of my troughs were made as much as eleven years ago and they are still around today.

1 comment:

  1. This is totally great - wonderful for raising your plants : focal point in the garden and easy to reach...I love the moss too!


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