Half Wine Barrels on Wheels

Our landlord makes wine.

Underneath the garage there is a basement full of old barrels and wine-making equipment that hasn’t been used in a while.  Last he landlord asked if I’d like to have one of the barrels for planting.  Um…YES, please!  He also offered to cut it in half for me.  Perfect!

He finally dropped off two half-barrels a few weeks ago – great timing!

Thanks to the folks at Talking-Dog I found a great way to attach casters to the bottom of the barrels so that I can play around with where to put them and move them more easily if necessary.

One of the barrel bottoms was a bit warped, so the pieces of wood didn’t fit very well and it was king of hit or miss with the 3″ screws I was using, but eventually I managed to secure the wood pieces.

Not bad, huh?  I am hoping that we can score some more.  They would save me a ton of money on large planters, plus I really love the way they look – and since they were used for wine, they are food safe!

I’ve had some concerns about planting veggies in the ground for several reasons.  First of all there are so many trees and roots it is hard to dig a decent sized space.  Once all the trees fill in and the figs branch out, there isn’t quite enough sun for a vegetable patch.  Most importantly, I’ve never had the soil tested and have found an alarming number of batteries in the ground wherever I have dug in.

(The battery mystery has at last been solved, by they way! Charlie finally figured it out – the previous tenants must have had lots of battery-operated footlights…and apparently they never actually properly disposed of any of the batteries, preferring to, you know, just LEAVE them in the GROUND. ???)

So, I would much prefer planting veggies and herbs in containers where I can control what the growing medium is.

I still need to drill some drainage holes in the bottoms before I can fill them.  I’ m hoping I can pick up a drill bit piece that will make a holes larger than 1/4 inch – ha.

I may line the barrels with a bit of landscape cloth too, still not sure.  I am pretty sure I will fill the bottom 1/3 with styrofoam peanuts or something similar to help lighten the load and cut back on the amount of soil I need use and buy.

The hardest part is narrowing down what to put in there!

I think an herb barrel would be really nice…close to the kitchen, and plenty of room for everyone’s roots.

Sage, thyme, rosemary, chives, oregano, hopefully some basil…I think I should be able to fit them all in there…the barrels are actually pretty big.

I’d love to fill one with potatoes, or lettuces and peppers…and I would love to have some filled with flowers…maybe a small shrub for the front of the house.  (I splurged on a self-watering grow box for tomatoes…that will be another post soon!)

What I would really love is to grow a peony or a rose (shrub or tea or climbing)…if I could find one that can handle living in a large container, I’d be able to make sure it got a spot in the sun.

CLEARLY, I’m going to need more barrels.  Good thing my husband shoveled all that snow all winter long for the landlord!  🙂

4 thoughts on “Half Wine Barrels on Wheels

    • That’s a great idea – horseradish! I’ve been wondering if we could possibly use the barrels for rhubarb or asparagus. They’re pretty huge.

      Fortunately for us, our landlord makes wine and cut an extra barrel in half for us, so they were totally FREE. Needless to say, I’m pretty psyched about it and I’m not going to be shy about letting him know I’ll take more if he can spare them.

      I know that Chelsea Garden Center sells half wine barrels, but I don’t know what they cost – probably a pretty penny.

      I think there are some wineries up the hudson or near the Catskills…if you ever get up that way, it might be worth looking into or calling around to see if they ever get rid of any or sell old ones cheaply.

      I hope you can nab a couple somewhere !

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