Tag Archives: half barrel

Rain Bearrel

Yes, I do know how to spell. Bear with me – pun fun intended.

You purchase a half barrel and maybe place a liner inside to catch rain water. That’s one way to do it although anytime you leave an open container out, especially as big as a half barrel, varmints like mosquitoes tend to breed.¬†Then there are bigger intruders – like bears.

Bear-in-a-barrel

Bear1

Maybe you saw this story a few years back when it came out in Colorado. The homeowner had half barrels with liners to fetch rain water for his garden. Problem was something was emptying his barrels. That something was a bear – maybe a black bear … and it was caught on camera.

The owner was mystified and set up cameras to catch the perpetrator, which happened to be the aforementioned bear, who would cool its tush off by sitting in the barrel … a bear in a barrel, so-to-speak.

We’ve talked about rain barrels in the past and you can go here for some valuable information but this story brings up the issues of pest. Whenever dealing with something outside and exposed to the elements, some care and caution should be taken.

Skeeters

Mosquitoes are a real problem with water and if you don’t have an enclosed system, you might have to add a horticultural spray oil as one idea. Also, kerosene or mineral oil can work as well. Chlorine does a good job as well but then again, you have to be careful since you’re going to use this same water for your garden.

For bears, there’s really no deterrent for a huge animal like a bear except to have a full barrel and preferably an enclosed system – simple as that.

Bear3

The bear from these pics was likely trying to cool down. Unless water is scarce or it’s summer, bears won’t be this bold. However, it makes for some great fun. The one shot (at right) with the bear sitting there with its feet up is cool. I mean really, you expect them to bear the heat? ūüėČ

Mahalo,

Daryle W. Hier

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Everchanging And Portable Flowering Wine Barrel

If you’ve considered a half wine barrel as a planter for flowers, you may be concerned with the weight and therefore difficulty of moving you’re oak planter. Let go of your concerns because we have an almost magical half barrel idea for you.

Take note that using this idea will likely make your planter last forever given certain care is taken or you use a Decorative Planter Barrel.

Portable potted planter

Inside magic

This is simple but a great idea nonetheless. First, you need a genuine oak wine planter barrel, either new or used. Next, purchase wood chips to fill about half the barrel. Acquire multiple flowers at your nursery or garden center and you can either place the flowers in another planter or leave them in their original existing plastic containers.

You can use the chips or add more to fill around the potted flower containers so as to keep them secure. Water them as you would normally. That’s it.¬†Now, you have a barrel that you can move around and add, subtract or change flowers without having to dig them out. It’s almost magical when you’re able to make changes and nobody knows how easy it was for you.

Moisture

It should be also noted that since you won’t be watering this barrel’s soil, the construction of a used barrel will dry up and become somewhat wobbly as the staves condense and pull apart. There’a an answer to that though with – as we mentioned above – the Paso Wine Barrels Decorative Half Planter Barrel. Because it has tightened bands, stain, sealer and varnish, they don’t tend to dry out as quickly as standard used barrels do. Also, they are reinforced with an interior band allowing them to sustain many years not being moist.

If you decide on the used barrel, you might want to spray it with a garden hose occasionally or each time you water – keeping the wood from drying out will allow the barrel to stay tighter.

Now it’s time to have what your friends, neighbors or cohorts didn’t figure out – an almost magical everchanging and portable flowering wine barrel.

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier

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Fresh Lettuce Right Outside Your Door

In a garden, what a garden
Only happy faces bloom there
And there’s never any room there
For a worry or a gloom there

Lettuce in a barrel

Believe it or not, this oh so positive refrain comes from the ‘Beer Barrel Polka’¬†(Roll out the barrel) and I couldn’t agree more.

What’s more positive and fun than a garden at your footstep. Lettuce is one of the fastest growing plants in a garden. In fact, their cousin the spinach, grows a bit faster. Here’s what you do to have pest free lettuce and spinach in three to seven weeks. Why the wide spread? Read on.

Start with a quality barrel

First, purchase a wine oak half barrel from a reputable source – like Paso Wine Barrels. I mention reputable, because so many garden centers, especially the notorious big boxes, offer barrels that for one, aren’t wine barrels and sometimes aren’t even oak … plus they want to fall apart.

Not to toot the horn, but places like Paso Wine Barrels offer fresher and usually better looking half barrels along with decorative types that are reinforced and sealed, making them last almost forever. Still, regardless where you purchase the barrel, unless it’s sealed, you might want to go ahead to add a sealer – both inside and out. You don’t have to do this but we recommend it for a longer lasting barrel.

Half barrels

Pssst … I know where you can get authentic genuine quality wine barrels.

Next, drill a half a dozen or so holes in the bottom of the barrel for drainage – this is a must. Find a small hole saw or large drill bit to make the holes. Make sure to place a sheet of weed barrier cover over the bottom of the holes. Place about two to three inches of small rocks on top of the barrier underlayment as this will offer proper drainage. The underlayment will help keep dirt and soil from draining out the bottom of the barrel holes.

Now add a mix of dirt, garden soil and compost if you have it. This gives the necessary nutrients for the garden lettuce and spinach. We use only organic seeds but regardless, purchase seeds from your local nursery or garden center and plant them a couple inches apart. The seeds should be covered in no more than a half an inch of soil.

Voila! Lettuce at your doorstep

Water as recommended but don’t be too concerned with over watering because¬†for starters, you have drainage and two, plants like these need regular watering. Mulch around the plant if needed to keep in the moisture, but check with a local Master Gardener and/or the American Horticultural Society for more information.

In any case, seedlings should sprout within a handful of days and you should have a bunch of little plants within the first couple weeks and about seven weeks later, you will be eating fresh leafy garden salads.

If you want to up the ante so-to-speak, purchase small plants from your local nursery. When you plant them, make sure you compress and compact the soil around the base of each plant. In a few short weeks, salad days are back! As Martha Stewart interminably says: ‘It’s a good thing.’

Set your planter with lettuce and spinach near your back or front door, but make sure it has shade. These leafy vegetables usually don’t do well in sunny hot climes and tend to bolt when extreme heat hits them.

Lettuce in a barrel

Again, please be cautious what kind of barrel you use. I’ve seen some dilapidated barrel at certain garden centers which will remain anonymous that have poor excuses for barrels. They may have an eclectic look but won’t last long and may not even make it home without falling apart.

Okay, it’s time to get out there, have some fun and roll out the barrel with some fresh greens …

Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun
Roll out the barrel, we’ve got the blues on the run

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier

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What To Do With Half Wine Barrels

“I give you one health in the juice of the vine, The blood of the vineyard shall mingle with mine; Thus let us drain the last few drops of gold, And empty our hearts of the blessings they hold.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Used Half Wine Barrel

And what a wine barrel holds is up to your imagination.

The popularity of Paso Robles, which is now known as the number one wine region in world, has brought about empty wine barrels that need repurposed. Obviously, with a lot of barrels including half barrels rolling out of Paso Wine Barrels, there are folks who know what they want. However, for those that may need an idea or bit of information on how to use the half barrels, here’s a few thoughts on what you can do with a half barrel. Okay, maybe more than a few thoughts.

Sometimes known as a planter barrel, actually half barrels are occasionally used as tables or table ends. Whether you have a Decorative-type planter barrel or a more eclectic old used half barrel, that have a more rugged yet whimsical appearance, these half barrels have found their way into homes, offices, warehouses, commercial and industrial buildings as well as yards, atriums, courtyards, entry ways or any of assorted locations.

Half barrel - outside table

By the way, it’s not uncommon to use plastic or composite style barrels instead of the more authentic looking wine barrel – and we understand if you’re trying to save a little money. However, we’re talking about original former wine barrels that have produced some of the greatest wines in the world right here on the California Central Coast.

The more common use of a half barrel, regardless of its conditions, is as a planter.

Planter

Whether you’re a wine lover or not, wine barrels offer the big advantage over planting in mother Earth, with the adaptability of moving them; bringing them above ground and to the fore; and, maybe the biggest advantage, keeping your flowers, plants, herbs, vegetables or fruits away from pest.

Maybe the easiest things to grow and promote a plant above ground in a used half barrel is shrubs. Still, regardless of what you plant, these steps can apply.

Please note, as with anything you plant in a barrel, unless it will be indoors, we suggest the barrel have a handful of small holes drilled in the bottom of a half barrel. Also, you need to place a layer of ground cover fabric at the bottom of the barrel to prevent pests and weeds working their way up from below, plus it will keep roots from growing through the holes. You can also add a short layer of small rocks or pebbles on top of the fabric – figure one to two inches deep.

Place the barrel where you want and fill it about half full of soil (a mix of compost, potting soil, dirt). Move some of your soil to the sides and put your shrub in the middle, using the soil pushed aside to fill in around the shrub or plant. The barrel should have at least four inches of space between the soil and the top of the half barrel. Be aware that you can add more plants and more soil but being able to move the barrel in the future becomes harder to handle.

Barrel with rocks

With your soil mix, never go higher than about one inch from the top of the barrel. Be sure to water right after planting, ensuring the ground settles properly in the barrel. Be sure to tamp down the loose dirt. A good gauge of how much water to use is watch when moisture comes out around the bottom of the planter barrel.

Flowers can be done the same way and again, you can add more than one but remember to leave plenty of space between the plants so they have room to grow. Herbs are the same way and depending on what kind of herb, some can really become large plants, although because the barrel places restrictions on growth, they won’t tend to grow quite as large as normal.

Be careful

A tale of caution. Some of the barrels being sold at the big box stores are more worn and less likely to last very long. If you can, you should sand them down and maybe put sealer on so that they will last a bit longer. Again, some stores have whiskey barrels which have been used so much that they come apart very easily. Regardless, sealer is a handy addition especially when it comes to keeping away mildew. A customer who is a master gardener, told me if you don’t want to use a sealer, spray the wood with cider vinegar. It will kill any fungus that may be left over from residue wine.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble¬†of sealing your barrel,¬†Paso Wine Barrels has completely prepared Decorative-style barrels – both half and full that are sanded, stained, sealed and then varnish to give a more finished look. That will allow the barrel to last as long as needed while still offering an quirky and capricious appearance.

Half planter barrel - Marilyn Monroe Rose

Another insiders note for those you don’t have proper equipment and tools – hardware stores often have a rental fee system, so you can work your barrel anyway you want including drilling holes, without ever having to purchase tools and accessories.

Some time in the fall, when most plants stop growing or die – unless you live in climes that aren’t severe – you can take your old plants out and replant with fall flowers and herbs. Also you can plant a small Christmas tree – that’s something I’ve done in the past.

Trees can be fun

Which leads me to trees. You have to somewhat careful what kind of tree you want, because the half barrel planter will restrict growth to any tree. Smaller trees or dwarf trees are more ideal but again, because the development of the trees roots will be bound up, a lot of trees you plant will in affect be smaller than normal as a dwarf tree is.

I have a grapefruit tree that is in its sixth year and it can produce a couple dozen fruit. Here’s another insight that may help you. I didn’t want to over water the grapefruit because of the condensed area, but a couple of years weren’t very prosperous because the fruit would fall off before it could develop. I watered much more and the tree flourished. The point of the story is, because the bottom has drainage, you really don’t have to worry about over watering.

If you want to bring the soil up near the top, then use some mulch, so the top of the soil doesn’t dry up. Check with garden clubs or find a nearby master gardener for more information regarding care and what plants work best locally.

Another idea is you can purchase a used full wine barrel and cut a hole in the top and place a tree in it. Unless you want to move it with forklift, don’t fill it more than halfway with soil. Even then, you will need a handcart to move the barrel and tree. Some folks like to shift around trees in their yards and this is a great way to do it. It also looks cool when you change up your yards look.

Full Barrel with black hoop bands

Notice the logs underneath the barrel. Keeping the barrels off the ground can add extra years of service.

Regardless if it’s a full or half barrel, you might find placing logs, bricks or another hard surface underneath, could prolong the barrels for many years.

Note: I’m not a master gardener – although my uncle was – just someone who has been involved with gardening for quite awhile. If you want more precise information regarding tips on what you need to know about gardening, there are books galore and of course, as I suggested earlier, contact your local garden club.

Let this whole barrel thing be fun

Whether you want the grace and elegance of a decorative planter barrel or the obtruse but unique and eclectic old used containers, all styles of oak barrels will offer beauty that can only be had by the pureness of a oak barrel that used to produce great wines.

Less expensive than terra cotta planters, wine barrels in half or full form, are a great way to set off your yard, home, business or any place for that matter. For visual ideas on what you can do with a used wine barrel, Pinterest has dozen and dozens of pictures > go here.

Enough information, now it’s time to go out there and take advantage of the unique and distinctive look of a wine barrel. However, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me here on the blog, email¬†or the several dozen other electronic ways to get a hold of me.

Thank God there is still something simple and solid, yet pure and real like a wine barrel.

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier

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Red And White Barrels

I’ve been often asked – now that Paso Wine Barrels sells the unchanged non-decorative all-natural old used wine barrels – why do the barrels have so many different characteristics. More to the point, why are some stained and some aren’t?

White and red half barrels.

There are two main reasons.  One, a number of wineries and their winemakers, treat their barrel tastings differently with some making it a point not to spill, even when they top off the barrels, their process is not to make a mess. Reasons for this range from a tidy and neatness procedure to not wanting spillage because mold and other microorganisms can be unwantingly created. And recall that selected barrels are painted with a red stripe so as to give off a more uniform and clean look inside the wineries.

The second and maybe more obvious reason when one thinks about it: the white wines don’t tend to stain. That’s not to say whites can’t stain – they can – as it’s a misnomer that whites are always clear white while in the barrel. Still, white wine barrels inside and out, don’t tend to have any major discoloration.

As far as the half barrels are concerned, the second explanation is usually the reason the inside of a half barrel that came from a red wine is either a dark rose or deep reddish purple. In comparison, a former white half barrel will essentially look like any oak wood without the stained red tone.

That’s it, no other tricks. And no, we don’t allow you to order one or the other – you get what you get from us. If perchance you insist on a certain type, well, let’s just say we will do special orders … but it will cost more.

So the next time you order one of our original Central Coast wine country used full or half barrels, you will know a bit more about why it looks the way it does.

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier

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