Home made wooden grow boxes

Peaceful_Warrior(7B GA)January 9, 2012

I'm looking to make custom wooden grow boxes.

My usages are indoor growing of veggies...lettuce, Kale & spinach.

I've done a little research & have some questions.

1) I can use the wood (pine/cedar/etc.) & not line it with anything?

2) I'm looking to build about 4 feet long & 7 inches wide. How often/many drain holes would you recommend?

3) Drainage. What can I use for my indoor drainage pans(or water catchers)?

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Peaceful_Warrior, my curiosity is aroused.

  1. Will there be adequate light for sustaining vegetables? I am thinking that nutritionally, the vegetables might be be deficient in say, Vitamin D. I am not stating a fact. I just am doubtful.
  2. Wood, moisture and humidity are a bad combination -mold and termites. I doubt that there is a foolproof method to protect a wooden planter.
  3. Drainage is a ticklish problem. The crops you mention use a lot of water; but again, I am talking about full outdoor exposure.
  4. Automotive or water heater drip pans should work if you are frugal with the watering.
    I recommend that you pattern your planters after the "Earthbox" design.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Peaceful_Warrior(7B GA)

Ronalawn, I will be growing under 6500k lights. It seems that people here have had success growing under these lights. I will look at the auto drain pans.

Earthbox is a simplified hydroponics-like system. I'm looking to do container gardening using Al's (tapala) mix with proper drainage.

I saw an old post where Al (tapala) grows his Bonsai trees in them. I'm done with plastic containers of any sort, so wood is the only option for me.

Can someone who has a rectangular planter box chime in on how many drain holes per space they have? I've searched the net for how to do this & am not getting very far.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 4:55PM
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You may need to use treated wood so that they last you some time (potentially up to 10 years), however, I would probably line the inside with something so that you don't get some kind of chemical leach from the treated wood. I'm sure its doable. Ideally you'd find a thin plastic container and then shape the wood around that. You could then just place the plastic container inside of your wooden pot and call it a day. If you're looking for a pot to only last you a year or two (maybe three) and not have it treated, I believe red wood, white oak would do OK in an outdoor environment (if you line it, it should last much longer).

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:23AM
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I am not sure if this is a good idea - have you considered using man-made boards/composite? I do not know about exact content but believe it is recycled wood+recycled plastic +?
I think it would be much more resistant to rot. I believe this is more expensive than wood decking. (Are you trying to avoid any kind of plastic - at least this would be recycled?)
I have made planters from wood, but even cedar will rot. Did not want to line with any plastic, but I was considering to use pool liner. Maybe painting inside with some kind of marine (water resistant) product?
For drainage I usually inserted a strip of 1/4" wire mesh down the middle of the box, & used recycled bakery pans underneath(10x29")-so I made boxes to fit the draining pan...Rina

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 11:48AM
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I make wood boxes for my outdoor plants/bonsais. I do not have a picture handy but they are about 2ft long and about 10 to 18 inches wide. Anything bigger I will not be able to move it around. I use 1x3 cedar planks to the boxes with heavier corner supports made with the same 1x3 cedar. I leave 1/4 inch gaps in the bottom planks and cover the bottom with window screen. Drains quite freely. I also attach little foots with cedar very 8 inch or so to keep the box off the floor. No paint, no liner, no treatment of any kind. I use good decking screws that coated to last outdoors. These boxes last 4-6 years outside in rain/snow/sun. Usually the edges will start rotting first and the screws have nothing to hold onto. I just dismantle the box cut of few inches from the ends and make new smaller box. The new box will last may be another one or two at most before it is mush. One of garden buddies dips the ends in boiling oil and soaks it for a few minutes. Never tried that but says the ends hold much better.

Pine will not last as long - may be two seasons at most. Black locust will last a lot longer but it is more expensive and hard to find. I have one small box of black locust and it is 10 years and still going. Redwood should be good too.

So my suggestion will be to go ahead and make it. You need some thicker wood for the bottom frame to hold it better for your bigger boxes. If the bottom has no gaps then I would put a 1 inch hole every 6 inches and cover it with a screen to hold the soil back.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 3:20PM
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