Q: Can you tell me the recipe for making trough containers out of portland cement and peat moss? Mrs. Charles Carter, Vidalia
A: It is a simple recipe: one part portland cement, one part sand and two parts peat moss. Once you have mixed the dry ingredients thoroughly, slowly stir in water until the mass is the consistency of oatmeal. After that, the sky is the limit for molding plant containers.
For a small trough, cut a three gallon plastic pot to eight inches tall. Line the inside with a layer of plastic film. (A garbage bag works nicely.) Put a one inch layer of your mixture on the bottom of the container. Place on it a one gallon plastic pot. Fill the space between the two pots with more of your mixture, packing it down with a stick. When the space is full, cover the whole mold with another plastic bag for two days, to allow the cement to begin hardening. Carefully remover the trough from the mold and set it aside for two weeks to finish hardening. During this time you can use a dull knife or an old fork to roughen the trough sides and make it look more like stone.
You can use two cardboard boxes of different sizes to make a larger trough container. Perlite or sphagnum moss can be substituted for the peat moss to cause a different look to the garden. The Southeastern Flower Show in Atlanta allows gardeners to enter their trough gardens in competition. I doubt they have ever seen a AVidalia Onion Garden@. Good luck!