Do It Yourself Corner

Hi theredsc018741

On this page I am going to try and describe, and show you how to make simple projects from recycled materials, you can then tailor them to suit your needs. It won’t be master carpentry or expert engineering, but it will last and do the job required. I hope in time others will add with other tips,  know how, comments and feedback. However part of the reason for me starting this page, is that recently,  a friend wanted a herb box for his flat,  I showed him the one I had made very simply from a pallet, and he replied ‘ I’d have no  idea where to start ‘  , so that got me thinking, not everyone knows how to do this. The main driving force behind it though, was I saw how much they were asking for one at the local garden center, I think I said ‘ $159 for that tiny box ‘, you could have only really planted 4 or so herbs in it, or 4 lettuces, giving them room to grow, so if you do the maths, it wouldn’t pay it’s self off in terms of savings on veggies/ herbs in your lifetime.

I will try to take step by step pics, as a picture covers a thousand words,  and maybe save me some typing.



Hi there, it’s that time of year to start planting those tomatoes, and whatever other vegetables suit your palet. This year I’m sowing twice as many plants as I want, as invariably some will die, or get eaten by pests, if they all survive, then they can be thin out and repotted. Check that whatever you’re growing, doesn’t mind being moved, some vegetables don’t like to be moved, i.e re-potted or transfered to the ground, it upsets them. Just a reminder for you, grow as much as you can, you have fun watching them grow, and reap the rewards in flavour, and save money too. Good for the children to get involved too, so they know where food comes from.


Hi there keepers, I’m currently working on building yet another coop. I’m taking a bit more time over this one, using all the lessons learnt from building the first three, hopefully this one will last a few years.

I went to find some  wood today at the local refuse centre, where you can get free fire wood, however a guy working there asked me what I was looking for, when I replied long pieces to build a chicken coop, he led me away to a warehouse, which contained a large pile of long crates, previously used to store soil core samples, all made from decent solid timber.

If you click on the pics, it will give you a close up, you may notice I’ve over lapped the wood on the sides, like weather boards to allow the rain to run off, you may note from the pics, I haven’t done any fancy wood work, just butted the pieces of the frame and nailed them together, I used thicker wood(4 x 2) for the bottom frame and legs at the front. It’s important to have the structure raised off of the ground to prevent it rotting from moisture.

I will endeavour to take pictures along the way, incase anyones interested in making one themselves.



Hi there, the middle of winter has just past, the days are getting longer, so I ‘ve put down a new crop of vegetables in the patch, I prepared the patch again, some light weeding was needed,  I found that putting a layer of straw over it when dormant, kept most of the weeds down. I then prepared the soil with two fresh bags of garden mix, and raked that into the exsisting soil. Of course I have been adding chicken manure into the patch over the winter months.

We have planted some Lettuces, Red Cabbage, Brocolli, Peas and some Pak Choy (Spinach type family), plenty of slug slam has gone down, to keep the crawlies away, but no insecticide, trying to keep them toxin free, and to keep the birds away I have netted most of the seedlings. Couldn’t cover the peas and they pecked most of the leaves off, so some extra strings and general deterants installed there.





Hi there, just finished building a raised vegetable patch, I use the term building very loosely, at the end of the day, it’s just nailing two long planks and two short planks together, and filling it with a mixture of compost,  potting mix and garden soil, then add water.

For the present we have decided to plant vegetables that the hens will not eat, so at the moment we have just two chilli pepper plants and two tomatoe plants, yes the hens will eat tomatoes, but they do not attack the plant itself, and by the time it fruits, I intend to have the whole patch fenced off, just incase.  I have placed the empty plastic compost bags over the empty ground to stop weeds coming up till it’s been planted up with more vegetables.



Just a quick post about plastic plant pots, along the money saving side of things. If you are not concern about the looks of your plant pots, then try looking for cheap buckets in $2 shops, or £1 shops, depending where you live. Remember to drill some holes in the bottom of them for drainage. I found large 10 litre buckets for $2.50 each, the equivilant size plant pot was $10.00, so that’s quite a saving if your buying a few. I find them ideal for growing tomatoes.

Also I have made a brick mould, in order to make mud bricks,(mixture of clay,soil,straw and sawdust), they won’t be water proof, but I’m considering hardening them in an open fire. Again will update with process and pics when completed.



Hi , it’s time to plant the winter vegatables, well in New Zealand that is, I imagine all of you ‘topsiders’ are well into your spring planting. Although buying seedlings is a almost guarenteed crop, it can work out expensive, so I like to grow from seed. So far I have sucessfully grown CORN, CARROTS and TOMATOES, the Parsnips got eaten by the chooks. Some vegetables don’t like to be moved or replanted, so things like PEAS and PARNIPS and CARROTS should be sown where there are to grow into full plants, it is important to have the right soil conditions as I found out the hard way when my carrots grew all stumpy, as they couldn’t break through the hard clay that was lying underneath the top soil, so like most things preparation is everything, read the instructions on the seed packets, or do some internet research. Finally do not forget, to collect seeds from your crop, so negating the need to buy more. Good luck.




Rather than go to a shop a buy a plastic bin thats awkward to use, I decided to build my own from recycled timbers, even if you use bought wood, it’s still going to be better than plastic.

I started by finding the four posts for the corners, these are a mixture of pieces of pallets, and salvaged pieces of old fence post wood, as I had been recently donated a bag of ready mixed quick drying cement, left over from a job I did for a local,  I decided to concrete the posts in place, I only went down approxiamately 100mm, (easier to remove later if need be), using a wall as the back,  then place post in hole, fill hole with water, then pour in ready mix, pushing it down with fingers to get all the air out, ( however there is no need to use concrete at all, but if you dont then I suggest you put your posts at least 200mm into the ground, and pack the dirt back in using a heavy boot ), I then waited 1/2 hr for the cement to set, (it’s that quick), then cut all of the side pieces to length, and nailed them to the inside of the posts, thus making it easier to shovel out, with the straight edges,(see pic below). For the front I have placed two pieces of wood across at the bottom only, I may go higher as the heap grows, this will make it easier to get the fork in to turn it, plus stop the hens from scraping it out.

compost bin

compost bin



These mites are the ones that grow on the legs of a bird, they get in between the scales on the legs and cause them to swell open, they give the bird pain and discomfort, heighten the risk of other infections, generally lower the birds immune system, one way of treating the without buying expensive chemical concoctions, is to mixed one part turpentine (white spirits, the same stuff you clean paint brushes with), and two parts Linseed oil, mix in a small cup, you wont need to mix much as it will go along way, then apply to the legs liberally with a paint brush,(the chickens legs that is), I thought I should say that just incase someone like George Bush is reading this.

Now these are things I happen to already have in the house, as I paint and restore furniture,  but both items can be found in most hardware stores, Linseed oil will vary alot in price as there are different grades, ( refined for art supplies, etc) avoid those, cheap boiled linseed oil will be fine for both chickens and polishing up any old furniture you have.



I have found that with a little patience, you can grow most plants from cuttings or their seeds, for example, when we moved to this house 7 months ago, we bought a tray of 6 pansies to put near the front door, I collected the seeds from these 6 pansies, sowed them in little trays ( found in the garden), now we have 50+ pansies and about 1500 seeds, so negating the need to buy more forever i think.  Also have put a litttle wooden table at the front gate with some on for sale, 50 cents each, every bit helps with the self sufficient drive.



HERB BOX  – ( tools required, Claw Hammer, Wood Saw and Tape Measure ( optional), Materials required 1 0r 2 pallets, depending on how big the pallets are and how big you want the box to be. )

I hope you can see in the pic ( below) , all I did was take the pallet apart with a claw hammer, without breaking the lengths of wood, careful with this part as pallets are often made of poor wood,

the legs are the parts from the middle, uncut, then simply nail 3 of the long lengths square onto two of the legs, choose your height, I went high to keep the hens out, repeat this with the other legs, so you have the two longer sides,

then use whatever lengths you have left to make the ends, I just cut them in half, and that was the width the box became, another 3 lengths cut in half will give you the 6 for the ends,

finally the bottom, I cut 3 small lengths of  wood to go across the inside width of the box, they are placed down at the bottom, one at each end and one in the middle and  nailed then through the ends from the sides, these are the supports for the base, so it’s important to nail them from the sides so the weight of the soil doesn’t push them out,

for the base you may want to measure the inside length of the box, I chose to hold the wood up to the box and cut each piece bespoke, as the shape of the box isn’t nessecerily square, as haven’t used a measuring tape, don’t want to get too carried away, it’s to grow veggies or herbs in, that’s what counts, so when you have cut your lengths for the base you can either nail them in place to the supports or just lay them in, I left some small gaps between a couple of the bottom slats to allow for drainage,

last of all, most of the nails  used  came from the pallet, I straighten them out with a hammer, just lay them on a hard flat surface, holding the pointed end and tap the bumps out turning the nail as you go to get it straight, mind fingers.

made from a pallet

made from a palletherb box made from ex pallet

10 Responses

  1. Amazing! I always know the pallets at work must have another use. I will be making many of these boxes to grw my veg in. They will be good and high like yours to keep my chooks out (Hennrietta, Jamima, Beatrix and Polo (last one is my 7 year olds coice, after his fave pony!) They will look fab in my garden here in Hertfordshire


  3. O fer ORSUM!!

    I’ve kept chooks before.. neat animals they are..

    and nothing like growing your own veges eh wot wot!~

  4. […] Do It Yourself Corner […]

  5. […] Do It Yourself Corner […]

  6. Hi Rob, Thanks for all your great ideas! I am going to try and build some of those veggie boxes. We have just moved to a house with enough of a backyard for chickens and I am really interested in having some. We have 2 garden sheds on the property and I was thinking of converting one of those into a hen house. I do not have any chickens yet…haven’t had them since childhood. Can you advise on where I can buy chickens in Auckland region? Thank you! Tanya

    • Hi Tanya, that sounds like a great idea, converting a shed for a coop. We have gone out west for our hens, there are a few places about, we found Raewyn Norton out in Waitakere Township to have the best selection of breeds, and a lovely person to deal with too, check out NZ breeders society, her name and contact details are on the list. I know of a farm down south that sell shavers, other that that, good luck and happy chicken keeping.

  7. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  8. one of my hens died while i was trying to clean a lot of hard poo from her bum area,should i have left well alone did i stress her out ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: