A Test Garden Idea For Beach Hunters

ColonelDan

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99% of my detecting is done on central Florida beaches. Since it’s impossible to establish a well stocked test garden at a public beach, I sorta brought the beach home with me and developed my own private "beach garden!"

I cut slots in a large empty chlorine tablet bucket at various depths as shown from 3 -16 inches. I then filled it with New Smyrna Beach sand. (I did the same with soil in a separate bucket for land hunting)



Sand Bucket.jpeg

I embedded numerous examples of ferrous and non ferrous targets into paint stirring sticks. I also have several blank sticks I use to attach gold and silver jewelry as well as artifacts I don’t want permanently attached to a stick.

Test Sticks.jpeg

I then insert the target(s) in the slots at the desired depths for scanning.

Sticks in Bucket.jpeg

This allows me to rapidly change the targets and the depth.

This is particularly useful since I can test for both sensitivity at depth as well as separation of ferrous and non-ferrous targets at a variety of depths in actual beach sand where I do my detecting.

If I want to test in wet salt sand, I just soak the bucket sand with authentic sea water that I brought home from New Smyrna Beach...and the Atlantic Ocean never even missed it.

I've been using my version of a "test garden" for a number of years now and it's proven very useful as well as extremely convenient for my purposes.

The first thing I did after bringing the sand and soil home, and it's very important, was to spread a tarp on an area that was target free and scan all of the sand and soil for unwanted items that would bias my testing.

When not in use, I cover the buckets with their factory lids. The sea water is kept in sealed jugs so it too remains uncontaminated.

This "beach garden" has worked well for me over the years....
 
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ColonelDan

ColonelDan

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New Smyrna Beach, spent nearly every day on those beaches from 2009-2014.

I'm sure we saw each other at some point walking that beach during those years.:icon_thumright:
 

Mary63

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These are awesome ideas here. How did you figure out this method? I'm curious since all of this still isn't clear. I'm a newbie here :dontknow:
 
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ColonelDan

ColonelDan

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These are awesome ideas here. How did you figure out this method? I'm curious since all of this still isn't clear. I'm a newbie here :dontknow:

Mary, A few years back, I tested detectors and related equipment for Kellyco at their request as a retirement activity...strictly on a volunteer basis...I wanted no part of a job doing this as I was intent on staying independent. In any case, I quickly tired of driving 45 minutes one way to a beach and lugging all my equipment there in order to conduct a variety of tests. A better way must be found....

I scanned the internet /YouTube for ideas and although some were very clever, I thought there was a better, more efficient way than what I was seeing.

I wanted a method wherein I could quickly change the targets, depth and relational position of those targets in order to compare a variety of settings. I certainly couldn't do the type of testing I wanted to do with a conventional test garden where the targets are static and buried in the ground at set depths.

A friend of mine who owns a pool cleaning company throws away dozens of these buckets every week. A light bulb went off and I figured out how to design and build this "beach garden" as well as a method by which I could make the "target sticks" shown above.

After I had the bucket and test sticks made, I took a large number of containers to the beach one day and filled them with sand in many and sea water in some, lugged them individually to my SUV and stacked them in the back. I'm sure people who were watching me thought I was truly daft and got a real kick out of this old guy. I just smiled and continued doing what I came there to do! :laughing7:

The whole concept proved to be a very efficient and accurate set up for my testing purposes...the rest is history as the saying goes....
 
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midalake

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It is a great idea and shows dedication!
One of the new guys either Tarsacci, or Tartar has a sand filled swimming pool with the correct salt content to mimic the ocean!
 

FloridaSon

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Great idea Col. Dan, I have found your tips and comments valuable over the years. Will be doing this while waiting for the next erosion event over here.

I have to ask though, how you accumulated so much sand? I flashed back to the movie “Great Escape” where the prisoners moved sand in their pockets so the guards would not notice. Haha

Seriously, thanks so much!
 
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ColonelDan

ColonelDan

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Florida Son, thank you for the kind words.

How did I accumulate so much sand you ask? I took many empty containers to the beach one early morning and filled them all up. Containers were mainly empty coffee jugs and 5 gallon buckets. I shoveled the sand in and lugged them 1 or 2 at a time back to my SUV. It took awhile because I had so many filled and the 5 gallon buckets were very heavy. You can do it if you’re persistent. 8-)
 
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dewcon4414

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I have a 2” pvc pipe 20” long ... one end with a rubber cap. I use a 1 1/4” cap that drops down it like a piston. On the side inside I epoxied the end of a wal-mart plastic cloth measuring tape. Dig a hole bury the tube. I can test targets up to I’d say a half dollar.
 

ARC

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Dan...

LOVE IT !... great idea... best idea I have seen.

And you know what... i have a taller one like that..

Err let me ask... does the sand come out etc ? or wetting it slightly ?

Little doors in order ?

Sheesh man... just set the coil on the top is great.

Also...

What about ring / coin on its side ? upright rather test.
 
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billb

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Thank you for sharing the depth test lab with us excellent idea
 
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ColonelDan

ColonelDan

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Dan...

LOVE IT !... great idea... best idea I have seen.

And you know what... i have a taller one like that..

Err let me ask... does the sand come out etc ? or wetting it slightly ?

Little doors in order ?

AARC, Good thought! Surprisingly, little sand comes out as I packed it pretty well when I put it in the bucket. Now as for doors, that's a good idea but the material composition of these particular buckets isn't that flexible else I would have cut the holes on three sides only and left a door "hinged" at the top. I considered plugs of some sort and might still do that.

Sheesh man... just set the coil on the top is great.

Also...

What about ring / coin on its side ? upright rather test.

For targets on their side, I can simply shove them in from the top at the desired angle. Additionally, I have a separate set of test sticks where the targets (not as many as shown here) are affixed in a perpendicular manner on the stick. That's why I cut the holes 1 inch x 2 inches so they can fit into the holes that way.

Thanks for the kind words and thoughtful suggestions!
CD
 
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bklein

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Could cut opposing notches in the sticks so you could twist them any angle...
 

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