If you want to grow small quantities of flowers or vegetables, then garden boxes are the perfect tools to invest in. If you want to save a few dollars and like getting your hands a little dirty then making a box from scratch could be a good idea.
Making your garden box allows you to control the depth you want, which you can determine by the type of plant you want to use the box for. The fact that it’s easier to collect the raw materials needed for the creation of the boxes is another nice benefit.
Step 1: Collect the Wood
Wood is the primary material you need for the boxes, so you should try to get as many free pallets as possible. If you don’t have a few pallets lying around then there are a couple of places you can visit. Try going to small and independently owned hardware stores. Ask around and they might just have a few pallets lying around that they have no use for. You could easily end up getting a couple of pallets off them for free or for very little charge. Other stores you can try include garden stores and nurseries. It might also be worth asking workers at small construction sites if they happen to have a few pallets they want to get rid of.
Remember to pay attention to the wood you’re asking for to ensure you get the right size and condition. Check the width and height as well and only take what will work for your garden box. If all else fails then you can also look online. There are numerous sites that sell pallets at a fee, but if you want to find free ones then Craigslist.com might be the answer.
Step 2: Collect other Materials
Apart from wood, you’ll also need other building materials like nails, a claw type hammer, a hacksaw screwdriver, and pliers. Buy these and make sure to get the right types. For instance, nails should be at least 2 inches long and a fine-toothed saw will be better than a hack saw. A crowbar can also be used in place of a screwdriver. Preparing the surface where you’ll work is also essential. Set up a workbench that you’ll use when cutting your wood.
Step 3: Wood Preparation
Separate the different pieces of the pallets so that you can assemble them again properly. Check for other materials like staples and remove all that you can.
Once you have confirmed the safety of the wood, you can separate them into different groups depending on their size to make it easier for you to choose the appropriate size for the different sections of the boxes. You can also use plastic or galvanized steel for the corners when joining the walls together.
Step 4: Creating the Garden Boxes
Line up the planks, making sure to choose a few uniformly sized pieces at a time. If you have any wood that is not shaped smoothly, you can leave them aside to be used on the corners of the garden boxes. Use a small piece of wood to connect the side pieces together. Make sure you hammer both sides of the planks. Make four separate joined pieces for the box walls. Remember, the lengths of those pieces should be determined by the size of the box you want.
Step 5: Assembling the Boxes
Join your four boards together and remember to hammer them in a way that ensures the nails line up with the wood, especially on the thin sides. Make sure you straighten the boards to get the walls of the box. The bottom of the box can be sealed with with more wood. A simple way for the box to have legs is by having the wood panels at the corners be longer than the height of the rest of the box. If they are all even in length then you are good to go.
If you wish to have the soil from the box reach the ground then the bottom should remain for the most part empty. In this case, consider having one piece of wood in the middle, across two walls to make the box more stable during transfer to the garden.
Using the garden boxes
When choosing the depth of the box, you should make sure the plant you want to grow will have enough room for the roots to reach into the soil to get the nutrients they need. Deeper garden boxes also tend to hold in more water, which means that you’ll spend less time watering the plants. However, the deeper boxes also require more soil so keep that in mind as well. It’s advisable to start with one bed to see if you can make them correctly.
Another essential fact to remember is location. Find a place that will receive sunlight for most of the day but that is still close enough to your water source. Plants need the sun to remain healthy, and you’ll also need to water them frequently, especially in the beginning. When choosing a type of soil, try to find a good draining soil that will still retain most of the moisture to supply the plants with water even if you don’t water them daily. Choosing the soil is easy because you can mix different types to get the composition you desire. Preparing your yard for the permanent placement of the box is also important. Make sure you remove all the weed and grass before loosening the soil until you get at least 6 inches of depth.
Garden boxes have a lot of benefits that you can enjoy ranging from fewer pests and reduced soil compaction, which can all lead to better productivity. However, you must consider the behavior of the plants before planting them. Find out whether they are climbing plants, bushy plants, or trailing plants. The growing behavior will affect the neighboring plants, so choosing the plants wisely. Without this, your plants could end up competing for nutrients and space, which could end up hindering their growth. Proper grouping allows you to use other measures like cages for the bushy plants, ladders for the climbing plants, and stakes for the trailing plants to maintain order and proper distribution of nutrients to each group.
Consider the climate
You should also consider the weather elements when planting in your garden box. Different plants do well under certain weather conditions. For instance, broccoli and lettuce have a better tolerance to cold conditions while tomatoes and basil like warmer conditions. You should, therefore, plant crops that are more sensitive to cold between March and May because, during that time, there is no frost. You may also want to consider avoiding planting in summer because of the extra heat.