On the farm we buy our dairy detergents and teat sprays in large 200 litre plastic drums. We have managed to accumulate quite a few over the years but have put a lot of them to good use. Russell is quite an inventor and has made a mobile calf feeder from one drum that can feed 27 calves, cut another 3 in half lengthwise and made a mobile grain feeder for the young stock that goes behind the motorbike, and others are used underneath the hay feeders for grain (also for the calves). They have been cut down for rubbish bins and mixing drums, and filled with water and used as weights for the paddock smudger.
Today I used them for something completely different. You see I have had this idea for a couple of months.......I am going to use them to grow potatoes in. Russell, armed with the small chainsaw, cut the top and bottom out of four drums. He then cut out two holes opposite each other out of the top for handles. First of all I laid down some fine mesh......
Next I lined the drums up along the fence line and tied them to the wire
In went a layer of old straw out of the hayshed
Next I added a good layer of rotted down mulch......it was more like compost and looks very 'yummy'
and onto that I placed 3 seed potatoes. I then covered with another good layer of the same composted mulch. The idea will be that as the potatoes grow upwards I will continue to add more straw and compost until the leafy potato plants are at the top of the drum. That will allow for them to produce lots more potatoes than if I just planted them into the garden. Plus.....once you plant potatoes into the garden you always seem to have them pop up everywhere and they also like fresh new soil every year.
Okay back to my drums. I have written the names on the drums of the two different potato varieties that I planted......Sebago and Royal Blue
So once the plants start to die back we can just lift the drum up (hoping that this will be easy enough with 2 people and the handles) and harvest the potatoes. Alternatively we might be able to lift the drum slightly and harvest some of the older potatoes at the bottom and leave the rest relatively undisturbed. Not sure how this option will go.....I think that it will be trial and error.
I still have potatoes left and more drums so I think Russell will be getting his chainsaw out again very soon.
So is it Upcycling or Recycling ........ well who knows and really who cares as long as it works......I shall let you know how it goes!