So, I live in a second floor apartment and really want to grow my own food this summer (and also have pretty flowers). That said, I have many projects planned to make our outside space more livable (we have a beautiful corner balcony with lots of room)
I plan to:
- Make this container structure for pretty flowers
- Plant tomatoes and peppers in pots
- Make this pot tower for herbs
- and make a hanging gutter garden like this
I have all the supplies for the first three; I just need to wait until it is time to start planting. The gutter garden is going to be the biggest project and I was planning to use my free time between class and work today to get a good solid start on it. This is the story of why that didn’t happen.
Planning ahead, which is completely out of character in the first place, meant that this morning I loaded up the website with the instructions for my hanging garden onto my kindle fire. My thought process was was if there is no Internet in Home Depot I can still see what materials I need. I did not however think about measuring my banister to ceiling distance or anything practical like that.
After class I drove down to Home Depot. I went straight to the garden center because I knew I needed potting soil. Then I headed over to the building supplies section.
Either everyone in home depot (including the people who don’t work there) are really friendly or I looked really lost and out of place because on the way to the opposite end of the store I was stopped multiple times, “Do you need help finding something miss?”
Me, scooting along through Home Depot amongst a sea of helpful employees and customers
To most I replied, “No thank you, I’m fine.” But when I couldn’t find the gutters I finally said, “Yes where do you keep rain gutters?”
“Rain gutters, like the kind you put on your house to divert the flow of rain.”
Strange look… “Well, they’re right down this aisle here about halfway.”
“Thank you!” Big smile.
I began comparing prices and picked the cheapest one: 10’ of plastic gutter for $4.89. And the ends came in two packs with rubber around the edges for extra sealing power. Now, 10’ is a lot of feet and when I started driving my cart around the store with that hugeness sticking off both ends of the cart I got even more stares than before. Then it started sliding off the front end and I just barely catch it.
“Careful there miss!” One employee called to me, “Are you finding what you need?”
“I’m looking for 1/8” steel cable.”
“Just down here, how much do you need. I can cut it for you.”
My mind goes blank. Thought process: How much do I need? I didn’t measure. You’re an idiot! To the employee: “I don’t know how much I need.”
“Well that will be tricky for measuring, won’t it?” Gives me a smile. “Let me know if you figure it out.” Leaves.
I pull out my Kindle, thinking maybe I can estimate based on what they used. Internet doesn’t work, “We cannot load your page please check that you have access to internet connection.” Eff you kindle fire. So much for planning ahead.
I stand there staring at the roll of steel cable (like that’ll help me figure out the distance between my banister and balcony ceiling). I decide to just make a return trip after measuring and I move down the aisle to where they keep hooks and things. There are too many choices! What do I even need? I start running through options of how to hang this thing, when a man walks over.
“What are you doing with that gutter?” He asks.
“I’m making a gutter garden, I live in an apartment with a patio so I don’t have anyplace to grow things.”
“Oh how nice. My friend is doing that with her old gutters, she had plastic ones like this that got ravaged in a hailstorm. You might want to look at the metal ones; they’re much more durable.”
“Oh thank you so much,” I say, “I didn’t even think about that.”
“Oh yeah and the plastic ones get cracked and dried. Just be careful with the metal, so you don’t cut yourself. I built a shed, and last weekend I installed metal gutters on it, my hands are still recovering.”
“Thanks again, I’m going to go check them out.” Heads back to gutter aisle. Metal gutters, metal gutters. There are silver and white… white are twice as expensive?! Why because they are white? Oh they are bigger. I think I want bigger, holds more soil and roots. No, no, I don’t think I can do this today. Puts all gutters back.
I went home empty-handed (at least without supplies for this project because I totes bought potting soil and a cute blue pot)
Anyway, on the way home, on the street I live on, I saw one man cutting some gutters, another spray painting some, and another man with his dog on a leash standing and talking to them. I look in the rearview mirror. Could it be? Do I really have this luck? Truck says Express Gutter Installation. I screeched my car to a halt and walked over to the man with his dog.
A sign from the garden gods
“Excuse me is this your house?”
“Yes.” Strange look.
“Are you replacing the gutters?”
“Yes.” Stranger look.
“What are you doing with the old gutters?”
The man who was spray painting says, “You don’t want those, they’re broken and cracked.”
“Well I might, I’m just making a planter. They don’t need to function as gutters.” I say.
The homeowner says, “Well you are welcome to take a look.”
They are quite broken but they’d probably work and they’re free. I’m prepared to tell them I’ll take them when the spray painter tells me I can have one of their new ones.
“Really?” Eyes light up like stars.
Gutter cutter says, “Would you like me to cut it for you?”
“Yes in thirds would be great.” I say, not believing my luck.
So, he cuts the gutters (not in perfect thirds; but I’m willing to overlook that for the low, low cost of free).
I say, “Thank you so much! I think this is fate, I just came from Home Depot.”
Spray painter says, “Yeah, gutters can get pretty expensive.”
The homeowner says, “That’ll be $20.” My heart sinks for a split second before he laughs off his joke.
“Thanks again!” I say, awkwardly carrying my new gutters to my car.
The garden gods are smiling at me today!
Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the other supplies to make the hanging gutter garden so I will just have to wait for the weekend to continue with this project. Stay tuned for more building adventures, until next time!
***Update*** The project is complete and there is a blog post to prove it.
(***Update 09/05/12: Although I loved my time at WordPress, I found it was my time to move on. I am now at Blogger; I believe it to be a better fit for me personally. If you subscribe, or want to subscribe, to this blog, please be sure to subscribe to the new one. Here’s the link.)
What garden projects are you working on for this summer?