Suggestions wanted on this type of container

DonB5750(7a)April 14, 2014

I've acquired (or tricked into taking) about 25 Banana boxes from a grocery store. These are rather thick and sturdy, about 4 ply...with a waxy type finish on them. They would hold I'm guessing about 10 gallons. They come with lids that have a 12x12" square hold in top of lid and the boxes have two large holes near bottom on each side. I was wondering what you guys thought of maybe using some of these to grow tomatoes and peppers filled with a 5-1-1 mix and some sort of pvc pipe for drainage and watering. I was thinking since they had the waxy finish, they might last longer outside and was also thinking of covering them with plastic trash bags placed inside and taped around them and maybe lifting the lids up higher than where they would normally sit and duct tape lids to the box up higher to hold more soil. Anyone have any thoughts on this? if they just lasted a season, seems that would be ok to me. I've got about 84 heirlooms to put somewhere and i'm not about to try 'red-clay gardening again' or spend money I don't have on building that many raised beds or earth-tainers. These would be placed on a runner of old carpet turned upside down or weed barrier with mulch.

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gardenper(8)

When I saw that lid, I was thinking about how those Earthbox type planters have just a small opening for the plant to stick out from. That smaller square opening reminded me about that because while your box is full of soil, only that part is exposed to the sun (and even less if you grow it out of a trash bag in the box)

Since they are sturdy and you seem to have 25 of them that you are trying to use up, I would duct tape 2 of the boxes together (with one of the boxes losing its bottom). That will give you a box with higher height. You can still use the box top on that set of 2 .

The top of the 2nd box can also be used as a planter, by putting landscape fabric or some other material that will hold in the soil but allow it to drain.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 12:27PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

What an interesting idea.

Don't use a plastic bag inside. You will have to punch holes in it to drain anyway, and the moisture will simply be trapped between the bag and the box, making the bag pointless.

IMO the box might just last a season due to the coating. Please come back at season end and let us know how it went.

Dennis

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:24PM
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DonB5750(7a)

Some real good thoughts there guys. Thanks so much. I was thinking myself about that plastic. Somehow I think I'd rather have cardboard against the soil rather than plastic. My whole idea of the trash bags inside and out was just for more protection for the box from the weather.....they are waxy but still, with watering, rain and sun....just thought that would help. Maybe if i just cut out strips of the trash bags and then sealed it with duct tape or stapled it real good. And I can get many more of these too so two boxes together is a great idea. Just need a little help with watering issues....i'd like to somehow water from the bottom if I could

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 3:42PM
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gardenper(8)

I would consider them as expendable pots. Though they are stronger than typical cardboard boxes, I still would see how they last through the season first. It's very possible they also look the same as regular cardboard box would at the end of the season.

But since they are quite easy to get, because bananas are something that is available year-round, you can pretty much start stockpiling them even as soon as you start using them.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 6:38PM
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DonB5750(7a)

Might sound silly, but if I pursue this, should I use white plastic or black....or does it even matter. We don't have Texas heat here in Western NC but July and August have a few scorcher days...guess I could just watch out for it and shade it some.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 7:50PM
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DonB5750(7a)

Might sound silly, but if I pursue this, should I use white plastic or black....or does it even matter. We don't have Texas heat here in Western NC but July and August have a few scorcher days...guess I could just watch out for it and shade it some.

This post was edited by DonB5750 on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 21:33

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 8:02PM
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calbayarea(9 SF Bay/Fremont)

DonB: Instead of using something inside the box you might think of using something outside the box, such as chicken wire or some similar type of product. It shouldn't be two much trouble to wrap the box with it and that would hold everything together well. Not sure how much chicken wire costs but if it's to much then it would defeat the purpose of using free boxes.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 2:25AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Again, a bag - inside or out - is pointless.

Face it - the box will get wet. Nothing you can do will change that. Either it makes it to the end of the season or it doesn't.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 4:56PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I don't think it will work. It will just be too much moisture for the box to handle over that many months. maybe you could put the boxes on craigslist as free moving boxes and get someone else to take them away?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:01PM
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DonB5750(7a)

Thanks for your help and concern. I give up.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:12PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I know they are sturdy and everything, COSTCO has a lot of those. But I would not plant tomato or pepper in it for the following reasons:

--- they will fall apart (especially the bottom) after a while. I know, I have had stored bulbs in them outside.

----- Also they are not deep enough, assuming that they will last 6 months.Which I doubt it.

But I think you can plant things like radish, lettuce in them, that have short life. Even in that case you need to set them on something that the bottom gets air. AND definitely, I would line them with good thick plastic and punch holes at the bottom.
YMMV

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:14AM
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gardenper(8)

Don't give up yet! In fact, there were many gardeners who did something that others said couldn't be done, or at least, should be done a certain way only.

Case in point is the soil mix -- everyone has their opinion of what to put in to a soil mix, but in general, they were all satisfied with the results of their different mixes.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:46AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Hey, here's an idea. Flip the lid over and nest the bottom inside it. That gives you a double-thickness box that should surely last a season.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:21PM
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