Maybe this gardening season is the right time for you to create some new Hypertufa pots!
Human beings have been using stone for sinks and animal troughs since time immemorial, hence there is a dearth of these commodities. The demand supply gap has also made them very costly. ‘Hypertufa’ is a cheaper alternative. It has all the useful qualities of the Tufa rock and also has a much lesser weight than the normal concrete. It never freezes. Peat moss, sand, perlite, Portland cement and chicken wire are the simple ingredients needed for the construction of hypertufa pots.
The gear needed for actually making the hypertufa pots is pretty basic and consists of heavy rubber gloves, respirator to avoid peat moss and cement dust, 4 mils thick plastic sheet, tub, pot, a container for mixing, screwdriver, wooden dowel and wire brush.
The process of constructing hypertufa pots consists of three steps. The first step involves making a uniform and smooth mixture of peat moss, Portland cement and sand, perlite or vermiculite in the proportion of 2:1:1. You can use a little water to wet the mixture so that it is only slightly seen when pressed with your hand.
Selecting an appropriate mold constitutes the second step. One suggestion is a two gallon black plastic pot.
The third and final step is to place an adequate mixture of concrete in the bottom of the mold. It is advisable to keep the small pots 1-1.5 inches deep.
Continue building up the mixture till you achieve the desired level of thickness while simultaneously smoothing the bottom and the sides and rounding off the edges. This will increase the durability of the pot. When you reach the proper height, you need to fold the pot with plastic from within. After this, you start with the process of curing by placing the pot in a warm environment for the initial week and at 50F for the following two weeks. The pot needs to be away from freezing point as water is needed to cure concrete.
Spraying the pot with water regularly helps and it is compulsory for places with dry weather. Once the curing process is complete, you can take the pot out from its mold and take off the plastic. The pot is extremely fragile at this point and hence should be handled very carefully.