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Built my own wooden container today

Posted by winstella none (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 21:23

Built a 4ft long x 2ft wide x ~1.5ft deep wooden planter today for my concrete backyard because I was tired of never having enough containers. Added basil, rosemary, red lettuce and sowed a variety of other lettuce seeds today.

Total project cost little less than $20 using cedar wood.

I just started gardening about a month ago and this is my first time working with a drill too haha. Very satisfying, and pretty easy.

Question: I live in Los Angeles, it's quite warm here. What other plants should I add in? Any that I should avoid with my current mix??

ALSO, potting mix to fill it cost much more than the container itself. Just found out that the city of LA gives compost and mulch away for free... Do you think I can fill a container with compost alone for tomatoes and such?

This post was edited by winstella on Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 21:27


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Well done.

Some thoughts:
- be careful of staining your concrete
- it looks like water can seep through? That's important.
- can you move it if you have to? Another recent planter builder put big sturdy casters on the bottom of his.
- how long before the water/elements rot it? What's the life expectancy of this container?
- basil and rosemary are not good in the same container. Different watering, spacing and soil requirements. You should research which herbs work well grown together.
- straight compost is not a good idea at all for containers.

I would recommend you read the long educational threads created by Al Tapla on this forum. Good luck!


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Yes, I think the concrete will definitely stain... oh well, what can I do? I wish there were no concrete to begin with!

water should definitely be able to seep through, I put the bottom pieces of wood slightly far apart, but I should have thought about swelling of the wood once it gets wet. I will probably put it slightly further apart for future containers.

I will be moving within a year and so, should I decide to take this with me, I will have to transfer the plants, dig out the dirt into garbage bags, then lift the container. The container itself is not that heavy. I should've put some wheels on it :)

Cedar wood, from what I read, should last me for 10-20 years but the color will fade unless I stain it.


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

As I mentioned in the other forum, your box (and choice wood) looks pretty good. I put 2' by 2" in each inside corners and screw the board to them. That will make the box more sturdy than just nailing the boards to gether.

The other thing, IMO, is that your box is too deep. If you have used 8" wide boards 2 of them stacked up would have been enough. For most garden annuals 10 -12" soil will be enough. So 2 pieces of 8" wide will have about 15" depth that you can leave the top 2-3" empty for mulching.

I don;t know about staining the concrete . I think it can always be cleaned by high pressure hose and metal brush. I would not worry about swelling of the wood at all, b,c every piece will get wet and swell/expand at the same rate.


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

seysonn: I wanted to reply to you on the other forum but wasn't sure if you would actually go back and check it hehe.

I did support the corners with 2x2", you just can't see them clearly because I did not make them as tall as the container itself.. I didn't want it to show much :)

My container is aproximately 18 inches tall, fill with about 16 inches of soil.. unfortunately Home Depot only had one type of cedar in stock and it was these long, 6" wide boards so it was either 18" or 12" :)

Question about mulching... do people usually use live green cuttings, or can I used dried out brown leaves?


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Neither. Find some bark nuggets if you want to mulch containers. You want good size chunks - quarter to half dollar. Lay an inch or two on top.


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Very good Winstella. Your box is perfect. That is exactly that I envisioned.

About mulch , I agree with Oxboy555. The advantage of pine bark is the will keep the tope clean, no splash off of it , no mold growth and it will allow aeration as well.

Make sure you get BARK mulch , not some of those colored mulches that are made of sap wood.


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Oh ok. Where can I buy it? Haven't seen mulch @ the nursery but the place is huge


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Nvm found it at the very back corner of Home Depot. Thanks!


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

I hope your cedar lasts longer than my pine boxes. It rotted away on the inside within 2 seasons...


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RE: Built my own wooden container today

Cedar is supposed to tolerate the constant wetness... You can also stain to make it even better, I think.


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