time for a new whiskey barrel container

njitgradMarch 15, 2014

The current container that my mailbox is sitting in is in bad need of replacement. Having never done this before (our house came with the current one) any advice on the purchase of, preparation of, and maintenance of would be appreciated. I used it for petunias the past three summers and it looked wonderful (except for the container itself).

Also, can this be done without having to remove my mailbox? Probably not because everything seems to be welded in place. Did I mention that I've never replaced a mailbox before either? My old house had one attached to the house. I'm thinking that once I remove the barrel and soil the entire mail box post assembly will just slide off some wooden post that is sitting in a concrete footing.

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Your photos are locked so I can't see them.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Whoopsie. I just unlocked them so let me know if there's still an issue viewing them.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:12PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Still a problem.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Okay, one more try. Are the photos there now?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I can see your photos now. Unfortunately I don't really have any good advice. The bottom of the whiskey barrel I bought five years ago has rotted out. It looks like yours may not even have a bottom. If not, it may be that your mail box may remain in place when you remove the whiskey barrel. But then, how would you replace the whiskey barrel?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:48AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If you can remove the box itself from the post, and remove the bottom of the new whiskey-barrel, you should be able to slip the new barrel over the post.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:34AM
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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

I have a mailbox just like that one and I assembled it myself. Look inside the box. Mine has a few screws that attach it to the post. If you can remove box from post, and the barrel has no bottom, you can just lift it up.
ps - I think that's a nice way of dressing up bottom of post.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:02PM
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Good news times two!

Yesterday, upon closer examination I determined that the mailbox, the arch support, and the stub on the opposite side can be completely removed (there are hidden nuts and bolts) leaving just the post as the only thing to have to work around.

Additionally I was able to (after trips to HD, Lowes, and three local garden centers) to find a worthy replacement container that was similar in size. The original was 26" in diameter, the replacement I bought is 24" in diameter.

Today I decided to start the process of removing the old barrel. See photos below. As you can see, the previous owner of the home did not provide adequate drainage. All he/she did was just cut a square hole in the middle of the wooden bottom and slide it over the post. The remnants of the bottom of the container were dug out when I raked the area.

Now, some questions moving forward:

1) The soil was actually a pretty decent potting mix and not compacted at all (a couple of frozen chunks but that's it). It was enough soil to fill an entire large trash can when I emptied it (the larger one in the pics below). Would it be a bad idea to re-use it? Maybe just mix in a CRF to the top 6 inches of soil? I only really use it for petunias so it wouldn't need a CRF throughout.

2) The new container has a plastic bottom and as you can see from one of the pictures below that it has good support from underneath. Cutting a square hole (or any shape hole for that matter) completely through is going to be a bit of a challenge. Any recommendations on how to do this? I suppose my reciprocating saw could do the job (from the inside of the barrel) once I create an entry point for the blade.

3) Aside from the cut-out for the post, any recommendations for additional drainage holes? The four existing drainage holes in the pics below pretty much mark the area that I would be cutting out for the post.

4) How should I prep the ground before putting it in place? Should I put down a layer of stones and then set it upon it?

5) The barrel cost me $50. It's cedar and made by Susquehanna Garden Concepts (yes, it's made in the USA). I'm not really fond of the straps holding the planks in place nor the fact that the pieces loosely fit together in a tongue and groove fashion. I'm assuming the container will expand once filled and that will quell my concern about that. However, considering my mailbox post was buried for quite some time, it is in pretty decent shape and not rusty at all...just needs a little cleaning. Should I even bother with this project or return the barrel and just plant grass here. It always was a PITA to mow around this area anyway because of the proximity to the driveway, sidewalk, and curb. But I also liked the summer flowers when they were in bloom. I'm torn.

Almost done cleaning the area....

Remnants of the bottom.....

Replacement barrel in background....

Various angles of the replacement....

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:20PM
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The pic below is not mine (found it on Google Images), but I'm jealous of how nicely the lawn is manicured around the container. Mine never looked like that. While I'm at it, I should probably re-seed the entire area from the driveway to a few feet beyond the mailbox this season.

This post was edited by njitgrad on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 14:35

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:32PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

This has a simple solution:

-- Remove the bottom plate of the barrel.
--Slip the barrel over the mail box, into its position.
-- make a hole in the middle of the bottom(plastic )plate.
-- Cut the bottom into 2 pieces.
-- slip the pieces into the barrel
-- assemble it as before.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:34AM
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