by Mireille Bourgeois
When I started landscaping our backyard I got the bright idea to turn every piece of trash or debris into a garden planter. Not a terrible idea for most things. My boyfriend is a car enthusiast and is always fixing, or taking apart something in the garage. This means there are many large pieces of metal and interestingly shaped items stacked someplace to be brought to the dump, or reused. I have my eye on four brake rotors that look darn cool. Also a couple of thin volvo wheels that could look pretty awesome. He likes to tease me that I’m going to turn our garden into a trashy New Brunswick yard (where we’re both from) with car parts and couches on the front lawn…. Well. No. But when he suggested I do something with the ratty old BBQ, my ears perked up (look at it. Gross right?). I got inspired by this blog post and a well-known blogger (“inventor” of the pallet garden) Life on a Balcony.
This refurbished BBQ was pretty simple and took care of my restless “let’s get the garden ready even though it’s cold outside!”. I took it into the garage and cleaned it with a degreaser and scrubbed most parts with steel wool. We cut the tubes and propane conectors just to make it look more clean and “sleek”. The process is similar to Jodi’s birdcage project. I chose a spray paint that I thought would be more red-maroon but it turned out dusty pink (enter the dusty pink 90s jokes.). I didn’t select a rust-roof spray paint, so it might be time for a redo by next year if I want to change-up the color.
After the cleaning begins the long process of taping. I decided to save on tape and use newspaper to block off some large portions of the metal. In my experience, it’s worth spending time to properly tape, so that the spray painting goes very quickly with less chance for messing up.
When spray painting, use quick bursts going quickly from left to right (or right to left if you’re a lefty) in even strokes. Spraying in long back and forth motion will cause dripping. (if it does drip, you can wait until it dries completely, sand it down, and re-spray). I let it dry completely all over and then I did a second coat. It didn’t need more than that. I also touched up the lower back shelf with a little rust proof black since it was quite rusted.
Once it dried completely I took off the tape, placed it in my garden and started the planting process! The cool thing about a BBQ is that it has holes in the bottom for aeration/drainage. I only covered the holes with a jay-cloth so the soil wouldn’t fall out. I then filled the planter with quality soil, and added compost. Watered the soil evenly and then dropped the seeds where I wanted. I planted a row of green onions in the very back, beets in the middle, another row of green onions and then a batch of mixed flowers in the very front. We’ll see. Once the seeds are placed onto the soil, I sprinkled a 1/4inch layer of soil on top and then I just moisten the top with a spray bottle.
The benefit of the BBQ is that if you leave the lid closed for a week only opening to spray the seeds lightly with water, it will get nice and warm with the sun beating on the metal, and the germinating process will go quickly. The above are the seedlings after three days. I have no idea how packed this BBQ will be and if the seeds will survive but I really enjoyed this process (even though I stepped right into the BBQ with my FACE at one point during the cleaning and gave myself a little shiner). Another bonus is that I’m already using the shelf as holders while I’m gardening and will later have planters on there too. Also, I’m going to put my red lettuce garden planter on the back lower shelf to shelter it from the harsh sun. Perfect! I’ll keep you posted on what comes of it!