ESTIMATED TIME: A couple of hours.
COST: If you have the wood, paint, plastic and screws to hand, then about… R0 (yes, nothing). But if you have to buy the screws and paint, then about R20 for the screws and R50 for the paint. You will also need potting soil and plants – cost determined by how many plants you buy, the type, and the amount of potting soil you will need.
I used offcuts from a picket fence I made, a short length of 16mm dowel (for the feet), forty 30mm stainless steel screws, water-based white paint and a bit of 250 micron plastic sheeting. Note: The glue I used for the feet was water-resistant.
Selecting the picket fence offcuts from last year, I cut two sides 300mm long from the picket uprights, which are 69mm wide and curved on one surface, and then the base, from the 69 x 22mm picket main beams, the same length.
So I had three pieces. I marked off the ends, 130mm long, and cut them at an angle of 10° on each end, so the tops were 130mm and the bottom edge was 110mm, give or take.
Then I measured off the screw positions, five per side. I left the heads proud, but you can countersink them and fill the holes for a less rustic finish.
Drill pilot holes through the sides, about 12mm up from the edge, to prevent splitting. Then I got clever and decided to angle the ends of the sides as well, by 5°, and that meant trimming the ends of the base as well, by 5°. Now drive the screws home and that’s the sides attached to the base.
Then I added the ends, using just three screws per end. I cut four feet for each trough, from 16mm dowel; each foot is about 12mm. Ensure they are properly positioned, and don’t shift when you flip the trough over, add weight to ensure a good bond and allow the glue to cure.
In a moment of mental aberration, I thought a green wash would look, you know, lekker. I was wrong, of course, and SWMBO told me how they had to be done – in white. So, not being one to argue, and knowing my place… I lined the troughs with 250 micron plastic – you’ll find the odd offcuts jammed into the end will keep that end of the plastic in place while you get the rest seated properly. You can drill holes in the base, and I suggest that you do if you are making larger troughs for a patio, for example, but as these were for a windowsill, I though it better to keep them watertight, and line them with the plastic sheet, and be ultra careful with the watering. However, what I did do was lay a shorter piece of plastic in the base and lay some coarse gravel in it, and then over the top of that I laid the main lining, but with a few small holes in it – that, I hope, will ensure the roots are not sitting in water.