Sealing wine barrels and growing citrus.

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Sealing wine barrels and growing citrus.

Postby GP » Wed May 29, 2013 10:51 pm

Hello all.

I have a Eureka Lemon and a Tahitian Lime growing in pots. They are healthy, but the time has come to move them into bigger pots.

I got my hands on some half wine barrels last weekend (French Oak), but I was thinking that it might be worth sealing the barrels before planting in order to try and make them last longer before they inevitably rot-out. One suggestion I saw was bitumen paint, but I was a bit concerned that the trees may suck toxins up into their roots and then into our fruit!

Does anyone have a method for sealing the inside of a wine barrel that won't lead to nasties in our produce?

Thanks for your help.

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Re: Sealing wine barrels and growing citrus.

Postby jaden62 » Thu May 30, 2013 8:02 am

You shouldn't need to seal the inside of the barrels. Yes, if you fill them now, the water will just drain out, but once they've had something sitting in them for a while, the wood swells & becomes watertight again. However, believe it or not, you WILL need to put drainage holes into them. I didn't with my first barrel believing that the water would just come out through the staves or evaporate or whatever, however, when I had everything die in the barrel & I went to dig it out, I discovered that the water was pooling in the barrel. In fact, the plants were trying to grow in a swamp. It was so wet there, I finally managed to tip the barrel on its side & the "soil" just flowed out because there was so much water. And it stank!

So, when I got my next lot of barrels, I put holes in the bottom, & I also got hubby to make me a stand with heavy-duty lockable wheels on it. This way I kept the bottom of the barrel off the ground (I had termites get into the first one because it was sitting on the ground), which allowed for easy drainage as well as keeping the termites out, & I could also move them if necessary. Once you have got soil & plants into your barrel you will never move them again without major assistance.
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