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Re: [hostapix] I need help filling a trough


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 from
the top down, starting with the opening on the bottom, turning the trough over after a couple of days.  Don't
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
frog I 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.
 
             Trough Construction
 
Materials         Measure by Volume      Dry
 
3 parts peat moss sieved through 1/4 in. mesh
3 parts perlite  (here we substitute zonilite)
2 parts Portland Cement (do not substitute!)
handful fiber mesh (available from cement redi-mix dealers)  (here we substitute Silicone Fixative or Hardener)
 
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.)
 
Have Fun!
IGLH
Sam I Am




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