These instructions were written by Tom
Moore of Bardstown, Ky. Great guy.
What we do is in red. They are for
troughs built from the bottom up. You can also build them
the top down, starting with the opening on
the bottom, turning the trough over after a couple of days.
let trough sit for more than a couple of
days before removing the mold, the concrete shrinks and makes
it hard to remove it. And it may cause
the trough to crack.
We cover our molds with plastic. You
can use almost anything as a mold, large mixing bowls, turkey pans,
plastic tubs. Just make sure there are
no indentions or protrusions to catch on. To make Harry and the
used a bucket, I filled the lip with wet sand. Harry was from the top
down, bucket turned upside down,
the frog was from the bottom
up. You can also dig a hole in the
ground and line it with plastic or wet sand
and form the trough in it. Bringing it
out after a couple of days to cure.
Measure by Volume Dry
3 parts peat moss sieved through 1/4 in. mesh
3 parts perlite (here we
2 parts Portland Cement (do not substitute!)
handful fiber mesh (available from cement redi-mix
dealers) (here we substitute Silicone Fixative or
Wear a mask to measure and mix dry ingredients, rubber
gloves (the cement will dry your hands out).
Mix all material thoroughly, then add water to the
consistency of dry cottage cheese.
Use a heavy cardboard box as a mold or fill lighter weight
with damp sand for strength. Draw a line around the box at the point you
want for the interior depth of the trough.
Place the box on a piece of plywood or similar and draw
lines on the plywood 1 1/2 in. outside the box in each direction. Use 2
in. for large troughs, 1 in. for very small.
Remove the box and fill the area inside the lines to a
depth of 1 1/2 - 2 in.
Use a stick, pencil or similar to make drainage
holes. Don't place close to edge.
Center the box on the bottom you have make and construct
the walls working your way around the box a couple inches at a time. Do
not try to make one side and then go to the next. Try not to smooth the
walls out by overworking. Rough walls look more realistic.
If your mix becomes too dry add a small amount of
water. Wet mixes are weak.
Let the trough dry overnight them carefully remove the
box. Let it dry another night then carefully lift it from the
plywood. Moving the trough so the edge hangs over the edge of the table
and bending the plywood down and away from the bottom makes this easier.
Poke out the drainage holes and run hands over the bottom edges of the trough to
smooth them just a bit at this point. Let the trough sit a few days then
smooth it or tough it up, whatever it needs to please your eye. Put it in
a cool spot and let it cure for a month. (I let mine
cure for a week, then sponged it down with a vinegar water bath. 1 part
vinegar to 4 parts water. I let it sit overnight, then rinsed well.
Let sit for several days to dry and then plant.)