Monday, May 06, 2013

Don't Throw Away Broken Clay Pots - Part 2

In my previous post on broken clay pots, I recommended not throwing them out. If you're like me, and many others, perhaps this has happened to you this spring:

Not to worry, there are plenty of uses if you have the will to use them elsewhere.

You can use broken pots as garden art - allowing plants to spill out from their brokenness. It's quite interesting, and I will do a post on that method soon...

For now, this weekend, we made a path to the compost heap with all the broken bits that were saved over the years.

First, it was decided that this worn area should have a permanent path made with aggregates. Shade from a Black Walnut and Silver Maple back there has made growing grass difficult.  Crushed clay chips are ideal for this.
I used rags to wrap the broken sections and a sledgehammer -smashing the clay pots into 1 inch bits. 
(Make sure you don't smash and damage the surface beneath.)  
Never do this on patio stones.
Various sizes are the best. They help level and fill in gaps better.
I went through several rags accomplishing this. The impact shreds the material quickly.
If you have an intended area, use dark plastic to first kill off any grass or stubborn weeds before laying down the clay bits. It takes about 2 weeks with this plastic cover to kill off most everything. 
Make sure you way down the edges, so no light and moisture get through.
Next, level off the intended path area. 
Remove ruts, high-low areas and remove any roots from neighbouring plant material. 
Level the path down to about a 1 inch depth, so that the clay bits won't be too high off the ground.
If you like to suppress more weeds and grass from growing through the broken clay, use landscape fabric or this old pond liner. It will help keep the weeds down.
I made the path slightly wider, and it's ok to overlap this fabric to create the desired shape. 
You don't have to use landscape fabric. We used it, since Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley) is situated on the left.

Once I crushed a bucket full, I spread it over the landscape fabric. 
I just tamped it down with foot traffic, but you could roll it with an aggregate roller to make the chips embed in the soil.

I had a hunch there was enough to cover the entire path...

Here is the finished result.  Now, whenever another pot breaks, we can easily crush and top-up or refresh the path. Great waste diversion.

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