Friday, February 20, 2015

The Reality of Winter.......

The reality of Winter hangs on here in Southwest Missouri. On top of our normal cold temps Mother Nature dumped a load of snow in our neighborhood while she was on her way to Boston. This season of cold slows our production a little but we keep plugging away. Today I sanded what was dry in the cold frame and stacked it on a pallet. I could have carried it to the pile outside but I dislike walking in the snow or having my feet slide out from under me on the ice. Notice the snow pile just outside the cold frame.......

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why We Build Pots.......

Our first papercrete pots were built because we wanted a specific sized and color of pot to display dwarf and miniature plants. Oh how things morph over time as we experiment with a variety of plantings plus accessories. I begin to wonder am I building pots to match the plantings or do I find the accessories and build a pot to match my finds. It is the old which came first the chicken or the egg question rehashed. Either way the journey is exciting!

The fairy houses pictured are the result of a chance meeting at a craft show. When a ceramic artist meets a plant geek who likes building small gardens the magic happens. Spring is just around the corner and it is going to be fun to put all the elements together.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Papercrete Mold and Results...........

Always game to try something new so I re-purposed some one by six fence pickets into a geometric shape then recreated it in a smaller size. The molds are then filled and stacked accordingly to create a double decker star shaped planter.

I am anxious to see this planter filled to overflowing with succulents. Until warm weather returns I will refill this set of molds multiple times. I think this one will be a winner with gardeners.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Papercrete Process.......

To begin making our signature papercrete containers we begin by running newsprint through a strip cut paper shredder. We stuff the cut strips into five gallon buckets until the buckets are well filled.
We then fill the buckets of strips with water and allow the strips to soak for at least a day. Many times these buckets will sit a few days before we get around to turning the soaked paper back into pulp. We have found that thoroughly soggy strips are easier to pulp.
We try to keep several buckets of strips soaking at all times. These have been soaking for over two weeks but they cannot be over soaked.
Well soaked strips are then turned to pulp with an electric drill and a small paint mixer. Five gallon of well soaked strips only take three or four minutes of mixing to get the results one needs for good pulp.
The resulting pulp will be to soggy to use as is. We have a few buckets that over time have developed leaks so I drill lots of quarter inch holes along the sides and bottom of those old buckets. These buckets when filled with the soggy pulp will in twenty four hours time allow the pulp to drain to almost the exact consistency of moisture for proper mixing of the final recipe.
 Five Gallon of finished pulp
We then have three gallon buckets we use to make individual recipes of papercrete mix. This bucket is ready for the addition of portland cement and perlite. We then use the same drill and mixer to mix this thoroughly. Once mixed it is ready to mold into whatever shape you have a mold for or can dream up!
Mold filled and drying.
Finished containers sitting in the greenhouse drying. Having just experienced record cold these containers might take as much as two weeks to completely dry. Once dry we will knock off the rough edges with sandpaper and place on pallets outside to weather until sales season begin early next year. We are expecting bumper sales in 2015!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pots on Stands

We have two choices for this one......find it a new home or build a miniature landscape in it then find it a new home!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Indoor Miniature Gardens.........

As temps start to fall and Autumn days begin to shorten we deconstruct our unsold gardens and consolidate the non hardy plant material into gardens that will tolerate indoor conditions. Today was the day to accomplish that chore. We grabbed some smaller papercrete containers and had fun combining older plant material and new accessories. The pots that have developed some patina over the season will be protected and used again next Spring. We always do our best to maintain the patina since it takes time to happen and many customers gravitate to the "old look".