When we were bartering gardening privileges for lawn care a few years back, I found myself running back and forth a lot for supplies and implements forgotten at home. It was frustrating to get all the way over to the garden and find that I didn’t have the right tool for the job.
I decided to take a leaf out of someone else’s book and set up a garden box to hold my string, pruners, hand tools, and diatomaceous earth. I kept an eye out for a used letter box at garage sales, but of course, you never find what you are looking for when you are searching for it! I ended up finding a new, rural-type mailbox at a Goodwill in Madison—new and in-the-box for $3.00!
Since my gardening arrangement was temporary, I didn’t want to set a post in the ground. I kept my eye open for a post to scavenge and found it one garbage day in front of a house with a recently installed rail fence. All that remained was to find a container to set it into and some pea gravel. I had plenty of five-gallon plastic pails and the pea gravel was free at that time of the year from the village composting site. We were in business!
So here is how it all went together (in present tense–please forgive my laziness):
- Drill numerous drainage holes in the bottom of the 5-gallon pail. You don’t want standing water to rot your post and breed mosquitoes.
- Screw a plank onto the top of the post to anchor the mailbox.
- Screw your mailbox to the plank mounted on post.
- Transport your mailbox on post, 5-gallon pail, and pail o’ pea gravel to where ever you are going to assemble it. (It is very awkward and heavy to transport assembled.)
- Level the ground where you are going to place the garden mailbox. (It is going to be very heavy and will slowly tip and then topple over if it isn’t placed on a firm, level surface.)
- Place the post and mailbox in the bucket and fill in around it with pea gravel, sand, or rock of your choice.
We could have easily created a nice planter out of this bucket arrangement and have made it prettier by using a more decorative container and/or by painting the mailbox. My mailbox was out in a field and strictly utilitarian. When its useful days were over, we took it apart and repurposed the materials.
A garden mailbox isn’t hard to construct or set up but is very useful and saves a lot of frustration and the time running back and forth after forgotten gardening supplies and tools. Begonia