while i planted the pots destined for 826 michigan, i figured i would do a bit of documenting and a little step-by-stepping and some ‘splaining. what follows, is the pot & box tutorial on how to plant a pot…

oneone) purchase pot, or better yet pick something up that can be turned into a pot. i found these huge steel funnels at the reuse center and how perfect are they for 826’s robot repair & supply store?

twotwo) have a handy friend do what needs to be done to make the planter plant-able. in this case, page caufield sank a wooden bottom into each of the steel pots for me. and i’m pretty sure he would do the same for you.

three) a little trick i picked up along the way: to conserve potting soil and lighten the load, use empty plastic pots (from the flowers you’re about to plant) upside-down in the bottom of the planter. you wouldn’t do this for potted trees that need the space, or veggies that need the nutrients (especially tomatoes, that have a long taproot.) then, a thick layer of shredded paper to keep the soil on top, which can be composted with the plants and soil at the end of the season, but don’t hope for organic compost unless you’re screening your shredding material.

low medium high

four) another cool trick is moisture crystals…polymers that absorb and release water as necessary. i like todone! mc\'shydrate them before i mix them in with the potting soil, so they don’t absorb all the water from the thirsty newly-planted flowers. i use a little bucket with a lid (so they don’t slosh around if i have to drive them somewhere while they’re “cooking.”) and put a layer one polymer deep on the bottom–think making popcorn in a pot. fill with water and give them a little stir every few minutes until they’re squishy and jello-like mini-blobs. add moisture c\'stop with soil

while you’re waiting for the moisture crystals to do their thing, top off the pot with soil. using your hands in a claw-shape, simultaneously aerate and pack the soil until it’s darn-near full to the brim. mix in the mc’s and you’re ready to plant.

placing plantssix) place your flowers on top of the soil, with tall in back or in the middle, hangy-downies hanging down, and mid-sizers in between. where to place them depends on where the pot will live–against a wall, then there’s a back to the pot vs. a 360 degree view, then make it symmetrical from all angles. also note that each flower or plant has a face–a natural “good side” that you will want to be aware of when you plant.

tickle timeseven) tickling the roots. what? yes, tickle those roots! those poor plants have been waiting patiently in their nursery pots for this very moment–make sure you let their roots know it’s ok to grow and live and be free…otherwise, they’ll keep growing like they’re in a four inch pot, circling their roots ’round and ’round.


eight) plant ’em up! be sure to plant to
the same soil level as they were in their pots

ship \'em off

–no high & dry, no swallowed in quicksand.

nine) deliver pots to happy 826’ers! if you’re in the neighborhood, stop in to tell amy, amanda, and erin you love the pots…and while you’re there, sign up to tutor kids and have your robot repaired!


5 thoughts on “101

  1. Lisa rocks. I love reading about your garden ventures. I’m kind of in awe of you right now and I can’t wait to see all the pretties you come up with for the end of August. Yippee!

  2. how very cool, they’re for 826! i was hugely involved with 826 valencia when i first moved to sf–taught classes, tutored, designed the windows…and just loved it. My most recent adventure with them was to help design a new reading room at a local high school. Good for you, way to give in and give back…

  3. molly,
    ha, didn’t know your name. just thought of you as ‘the cloud house’ lady!
    yeah, 826 is a wonderful place–i mean, mustache-a-thon!?!–and i think that the 826’s across the country create a common thread for a lot of folks. sadly, i am a less than effective tutor…so flowers it is!
    speaking of flowers, i adore 8mm ideas. i dabble in homemade cards, but my hands are usually too dirty from the gardening! –you should contact hollander’s here in ann arbor to carry your stuff…

  4. Thank you, Lisa! The pots you brought to our sidewalk space are so beautiful. They fit in nicely with Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair. I’m so grateful for your creative donation.

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