Previously we cut the top off a tight head blue barrel and drilled the drain holes in the bottom of the barrel. Now we are going to mark out the 50 grow pockets that will be cut into the sides of the barrel.
I measured around the barrel and it was approximately 1750mm. I wanted to put ten pockets on each level and I wanted my pockets to be around 100mm wide so that leaves 75mm between the pockets. I marked a line all the way round the barrel 100mm down from the top and then marked alternately 100mm and 75mm along this line. If you start on one of the seams of the barrel you can check how you are doing when you get half way round at the other seam.
In order to stop the grow pockets splitting and to aid the cutting it is necessary to drill a hole at the ends of each grow pocket so I went ahead and drilled a hole on every mark along the line I had just marked out.
The saw I used to cut the top off the barrel was perfect for cutting the slits for the grow pockets
I measured down 150mm and repeated the operation making sure the next lot of pockets were offset so they were not directly below the ones above, I repeated this another 3 times to make a total of 5 levels of 10 pockets.
Now the fun part. Forming the grow pockets. Normally people heat the plastic until it is pliable with an electric heat gun used for stripping paint but as I don’t have electricity at the allotment I decided to use a butane blowtorch. Another way I have deviated from the norm id I am going to use a beer bottle to form the pockets instead of a piece of 2×4 wood. I think the pockets formed with the 2×4 look a bit square and ugly. I wanted rounder pockets plus I thought a cold bottle would cool the plastic quicker and so speed up the process a little. I had no idea if any of this was going to work but it would be fun finding out.
I have only had time to do 5 pockets so far but it proves that the method works and the glass bottle dissipates the heat quickly enough that you only need one bottle.
In the next part we will complete the grow pockets and build the compost/wormery tube.