Below is my submission. Sorry for the repeat. Originally I didn't see the submit button and thought one just posted a reply. I can't edit it out now though.
I didn't think
a lot that I do would qualify for PEP
given that I'm on a small urban lot. But finding this category maybe opens the door? I'm submitting here because it uses an adhesive. It didn't look like it would qualify in the metalworking PEP
. If this is more appropriate somewhere else I can move it where needed.
I submit making steel garden
arbors from repurposed carpet racks.
I wanted to maximize growing space on our small lot. I'd been wondering what I'd use for going vertical in the garden. I tried some bits and bobs over the last few years but most just rotted away or had to be contantly repaired. That seemed like wasted labor to me so I had in my mind to do something more lasting.
store went out of business in early February. There was a huge rug rack that operated much the same way the old poster
displays in department stores worked...like the pages of a book. I was talking to the manager the week before final closing. I asked what was going to happen to the rug rack and he said they paid a lot for it but it wasn't selling at the deep going out of business discount. He asked why I'd consider it and I said I was looking at ways to grow plants vertically and would use the "page" frame portions to make arbors between the beds (over the paths). He told me to come back Monday and anything in the store would be free
. I did, and it was. The "pages" are steel circle and square stock. The overall frame that held all of the pages was far too heavy and beastly to use. It did not disassemble and was a HEAVY steel square stock. I'm not sure what happened to it but suspect it was given to the metal scrappers.
The large "page frames were rectangular, about 70" x 95".
The smaller ones were triangular, and the long side was about 66".
Some ends had a few inches of longer pegs or extensions.
I took two of the triangles to make a top for each arbor by using a heavy grade exterior adhesive and then screwed the pieces together. I then affixed them to the long side ones by the same methods to form the arbor frams. I tested them this year and they expanded my ability to grow by maximizing actual bed space for more plants and allowing me to grow up and over the arbors. I went pretty well though I may look at adding a few horizontal "rungs" in order to aid plants especially in wind. I did use jute twine this last season to help vines go up (as with tomatoes
, cukes, cucamelons, etc) and it worked ok...but seems to lack true support for plants that way and gets me back to the same problem of having to redo them each year...thus time spent redoing something I could be using on other tasks.
The almost 8 foot high structures are movable. I still have more racks that will to be used to aid tall plants along the Northern fence
. I'll be installing those in about a month as I'm awaiting final leaf drop so I can make sure I'm placing the structures so as not to interrupt perennial
plant emergence. If I have anything left over, there may be one or two more structures.
Not only can they be used as arbors, but we hang plants and bird feeders from them and they are used as bird perches by a fair number of birds daily. The birds enrich the beds as well since they spend so much tiome roosting on the structures.
I'm pretty happy with the score and they will be used for years until they rust away.
On the manufacture side:
1 rug racks - free
2) two tubes of exterior grade heavy construction adhesive - $6.00 each = $12.00
3) bolts, screws, & washers - roughly $14.00
Delivery of the racks was free thanks to someone on the scene. I only live about a mile from the store.
I already had the drill and saws. I did mangle 4 drill bits but they were all from the quarter bin at the restore last year so $1.00.
I did have to saw off solid core stock projections (about 1/2") in order to be able to join them and the yellowish colored bent pieces (round stock) from the big racks in order to use the remaining portions as legs to sink in the ground.
Cleaned all of the steel so there would be a dirt-free surface for the adhesive.
A friend just gave me some odds and ends paint cans and caulk from a cleanup he did. I think there is enough
black to paint the adhesive that shows but I'm going to use some leftover caulk to seal any cracks between racks before painting. Free.
I think that makes the total approximately $27.00. I already got that out of them from use this season so the rest is gravy. Diverted from the metal recycling or waste stream were metal racks, paint, & caulk.
Now if I could just salvage some big cattle
panels for trying to grow gourds and squashes over the compost
area and up to the fire escape...