Why spend money on a wooden planter box when you can make your own instead? Crafting your own wooden planter box does not have to be expensive or exhausting. In fact, you can source old crates from local farmers and repurpose them just like Aussie herbalist and naturopathic nutritionist Reece Carter does at his own home. And if you’re that enthusiastic, you can give it your own style and personality.
In this edited excerpt from his book The Garden Apothecary, Reece shares simple ways to turn old wooden boxes and crates into planter boxes. As they come in all sizes, from teeny-tiny through to large enough to bathe in, you can choose what fits your needs. Just one important tip to remember: look for untreated pine to ensure you’ve won’t get nasties leaching into your soil.
You will need
- A planter box
- Some builders plastic
- A staple gun (or short nails/tacks and a hammer)
- A knife
- Gravel, pea straw or lucerne hay
- Potting mix organic compost mulch
- Seeds or seedlings
Step 1: Measure the box
Measure the box, then cut across-shaped piece of builders plastic to line the inside. The plastic should be large enough to cover the base of the planter and run up all four sides.
Step 2: Cover the base
Secure the plastic in place along the base of the box with a staple gun, or with a hammer and short nails or tacks. At the opening of the box, secure the builders plastic in place just below where you intend to fill your planter with potting mix.
Step 3: Poke some holes
With a knife, remove any excess plastic that rises out of the box. Fold any plastic above the staples back down over them and secure it in place. Pierce holes every couple of centimetres along the plastic lining the base of the planter to allow water to drain.
Step 4: Get in position
Get your planter into position! Smaller boxes can be placed in hangers and attached to window sills and balcony railings; larger boxes will need a little more space. Raise them up slightly on a few bricks or spare pieces of timber to allow water to flow out and away from the wood.
Step 5: Start filling
Now you can begin to fill! Depending on the depth of your crate planter, you may want to line the bottom with gravel, pea straw or lucerne hay to improve drainage. Once that’s in, it’s just a matter of adding the potting mix and organic compost. As a general rule, I like to use about a half-and-half mix of the two, but check out the next chapter to determine exactly what your herbs of choice need, and whether they’ll want mulch over them to keep the roots cool.
Images shown in this edited excerpt are provided by the author, Reece Carter, from his book The Garden Apothecary. The book is published by HarperCollins. Visit www.reece.com.au to know more about home gardening and the many benefits of homegrown herbs.