Make Your Own Hypertufa Container - July 8th

Master Gardeners and Herb Society join forces at Halifax Farmers Market

            The Southside Master Gardeners will be joined by the Southside Virginia Herb Society for a make your own hypertufa container and some tasty herbal treats at the July 8th Second Saturday event at the Halifax Farmers Market from 8 to 11 AM.  The $5 cost for the hypertufa container will cover all materials and supplies needed for you to make your own container to take home.  The children’s activity is free.

            Hypertufa is a funny sounding word.  It is the name of a process of making garden containers, ornaments, sculptures or stepping stones using Portland cement, perlite and peat.  The process is easy and fun!  The process was developed to substitute for volcanic rock called Tufa used to make Alpine troughs that is no longer available.  Don’t let the instructions below overwhelm you.  We will have everything you need and will coach you through the process.

            The first step of the process is selecting a mold.  Generally you can find a useful mold around the house.  Cardboard boxes, Styrofoam ice-chests, plastic containers of any shape,

plastic or metal garden planters and baskets. We’ve even used a torchiere lamp shade.

            Step two is making the mix.  Don a dusk mask and plastic gloves for protection.  In a 5-gallon container or wheelbarrow mix two parts Portland cement, three parts perlite and three parts peat moss.  Masonry stain can be added for more color. Make sure all is well blended with no lumps.  Slowly add water to moisture the mix until it is the consistency of oatmeal. 

          Line the mold with a plastic bag to start the third step.  Don rubber gloves and pour mixture into the bottom of the mold 1” deep.  Start working the mixture up the sides of the mold until bottom and sides are covered with 1” of mixture.  Using a wooden dowel, make a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.    

            The final step is finishing the pot.  Remove the mold after a few weeks.  Smooth any rough edges with a file.  Gather your patience to allow curing for several months.  Then plant the container with succulents like sedum or sempervivum (hens and chicks). These drought tolerant plants can take the heat, humidity and sunshine of our Southside summers.  Water weekly allowing the water to drain from the pot.  The container and plants will be fine outside during the winter.

            The Southside Virginia Herb Society will be on hand to discuss the importance of herbs.  They will have herbal treats to taste and a display on how to make herbal vinegars. 

            Both groups will be on hand to answer your gardening and herb questions.  There will also be fresh produce, organic meat, eggs and baked goods for sale by the regular vendors plus the indoor market with crafts, herbal soaps and salves, collectibles and yes, even some barn quilts.  Hoping to see you on the 8th!

Caption for picture: You can make your own hypertufa container similar to this container at the Halifax Farmers Market on Saturday July 8 from 8 to 11 AM.  The $5 cost will cover the supplies and materials. This hypertufa was made using a basket as the mold.