Oops!

on

Rain, lots of rain. And then some more rain. So much rain for a semi-arid desert! Yep, you guessed it, our forecast has been non-stop rain for the last few weeks. It is finally getting hot and sunny, but tomorrow it should be back to rain.

On top of all the rain, it turns out that one of the drippers in our front garden planters has been leaking. How did we find this out you ask? With a very unpleasant sight as K took out some garbage.

Clearly something is not right…

Turns out our soil had changed from a solid to a semi-liquid state. Kind of like cornstarch and water, where a little pressure makes it solid, but if you hold some in your hand, open palmed, and jiggle your hand, it jiggles like jello. I imagine it would be the perfect consistency for sculpting. Oddly enough, this makes the soil unbelievably heavy. Heavier than I had ever planned the planter to be able to hold. Turns out the screws had enough torque that they snapped right off.

You can see the heavy wet soil on the left compared to the normal soil on the right.

In retrospect, I should have planned and structured our largest planter for kore weight, but I truly never expected this…lesson learned, I will never make this mistake again. The good news was that it turned out to be an easy fix. The first step was to carefully move the plants. We were hopeful that they hadn’t had any damage to their roots, especially the clematis since it is the biggest and healthiest one we have.

Next, K emptied all the soil while I cut some new braces for the base boards. I also decided to add four legs to the new braces to help distribute the weight should we have a lot of rain again. Once the soil was gone, we clamped the fabric up to the trellis as it was still attached to the back side of the planter.

Next I removed all the boards and unscrewed the bracing that was still attached at the back of the planter. The screws were actually still straight which was a pleasant surprise considering I thought they were bent. Once we had everything apart, I was able to reattach the brace boards on the front and back, adding a few more screws to both. I also added side braces to support the new horizontal braces. Lastly we added the four legs.

From there we put the base boards back in place and gave it a weight test (lots of pushing down really hard with our weight behind it). The boards still fit perfectly and were very solid. Again, in retrospect this is what we should have done from the get-go.

Then it was a matter of stapling the fabric back into place, filling the planter with the good soil, not the super gross wet solid stuff that came out. Then we placed the plants back into place. We managed to weave the clematis back through the trellis and all the leaves grabbed on just like they had previously. We did change the order and location if some of the wave petunias to better fill the planter.

By the end, you’d never know we had a little mishap.

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