Ask a Question forum: Raised bed boxes

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newgardenergirl
Mar 24, 2017 6:04 AM CST
I found these old wooden boxes and would love to make them into a raised bed garden. Do you think it is best to..
A. Cut out the whole bottom of the box
B. Drill holes in the bottom of the box
C. Leave the bottom of the box closed
D. Something else

Would love any advice on what to put in for layers of soil for vegetable gardening. Please excuse my complete ignorance about this stuff. Thank you!!!
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Mar 24, 2017 7:08 AM CST
Those look awfully small...
I would probably try it without holes....
While they used to build water barrels out of wood, once they were emptied, they needed to soak in a pond or something to get the wood to swell up enough to hold water again.
I seriously doubt those boxes are anything like tight enough to hold water.... And holes would just give additional areas to rot out.
Although.....
The plywood box looks caulked.... You probably won't get much use out of it once you put soil in it.....
[Last edited by stone - Mar 24, 2017 7:10 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1396425 (2)
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 24, 2017 7:29 AM CST
Wow, those are really small. But nothing is too small for something.

I would drill several holes in the bottom and line the bottom with landscape fabric or synthetic carpet no matter what you do.

Now, what to do with them...

Filled with potting soil and watered with some fertilizer, you could plant:

A couple of cherry tomatoes, a coupe of bell or hot pepper plants, some lettuces, a few pak choi if early enough, some radishes around the edges, and even some spinach around the main plants.

Think timing, not space. Fast growing small plants won't bother a slow-growing big plant.

Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
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purpleinopp
Mar 24, 2017 7:47 AM CST
I would use them for something else, they're too cool to ruin by planting, which would cause them to rot into nothingness in a few short years. When wood is in contact with the ground, decomposition will occur.

You could make a cute little shelf unit for your porch or patio by stacking them sideways & sitting potted plants in the openings & on the top.

If you prefer the raised planter idea for them, removing the bottoms will yield the most healthy plants because the roots will be able to go as deeply as needed, reducing concerns about getting too dry, as well as helping them to rot as slowly as possible.

I have some planter boxes with legs that are made of wood, the oldest isn't starting to show signs of rotting yet after 4 yrs, thanks to urethane. A coating of urethane will extend their lives, whichever way you choose to go.
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crazypetunias
Mar 24, 2017 10:33 AM CST
The boxes look great. I would recommend drilling a few small holes in the side close to the bottom. This will allow water to drain out so your plants won't drown without having to worry about weeds growing up through the bottom (we have the worst quack grass here...it can spread roots a foot deep in all directions before popping up - quack grass took over our sandbox even though we covered the bottom with weed barrier Angry )

You can fill the bottom of your boxes with garden scraps, coffee grounds, and egg shells layered with newspaper or straw. Then fill the top 4-6 inches with potting soil. The paper and straw will breakdown over time and help fill the box with good growing medium without the extra cost of potting soil. These boxes are great for mints, or herbs, anything you don't want spreading in the garden. Also, works great for lettuce, spinach, radishes and other small root crops.

Good luck Smiling

Just an FYI to give you an idea - I have a few small planter boxes around my house. I keep peppermint, chives, and thyme in mine. I also have one I fill with annuals.
[Last edited by crazypetunias - Mar 24, 2017 10:39 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Mar 24, 2017 1:06 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @newgardenergirl !

I agree with Tiffany (purpleinopp) about "something else." I think those boxes are awesome and they won't last long for you if you plant directly in them; but as containers for potted plants they would be beautiful!

Whatever you decide to do with them, happy gardening! Smiling
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Tisha
Mar 24, 2017 1:54 PM CST
Our love of old boxes is showing.
polyurethane will slightly change the appearance of the wood.You can even use stain before the urethane, this will prolong the life of the box quite a bit.
1. drill holes FIRST
2. apply stain on unseen spot (bottom) to check you like colour. stain is optional.
3. apply urethane making sure to coat the drill holes inside and out.
coat, not clogg them shut. use a stick or the like to run thru the holes to make sure they`re coated and open.
4. place potted plant in side or
your liner,dirt layers and plants
Happy Gardening Thumbs up

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Calif_Sue
Mar 24, 2017 2:17 PM CST

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I don't think there is enough room for veggies though, maybe a few herbs.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Mar 24, 2017 4:09 PM CST
Maybe a patio tomato, a couple of pepper plants, and a few herbs? Or, a bush-type cucumber in a container could work, hanging over the sides of the box. Or lettuce/other greens, of course. A few radishes and maybe something like "Thumbellina" carrots... Smiling
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 24, 2017 11:36 PM CST
OK, lets say you really want to use the wood boxes as planters. Find a plastic bag that just fits inside. Or cut off the top. Poke holes in the bag to match the drainage holes drilled in the wood. That box is going to last as a planter for many years!

And the part that will rot first is the bottom. Well, just screw another bottom on it!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Mar 25, 2017 1:05 AM CST
Calif_Sue said:I don't think there is enough room for veggies though, maybe a few herbs.


Radishes or lettuces would possibly work.
Keep going!
Name: Kristi
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pod
Mar 25, 2017 5:33 AM CST
Many of the vegetable seed companies offer seed that is suited to container growing. If you search through the selection, there is a wide variety of vegetable seeds that are suited to container growing so that shouldn't be an issue.

Yes, put drainage holes in the bottom of the containers and if I can suggest add some type of legs or a base to raise it up off the ground. That will delay the rot as well as keep bugs from getting into the container through the base.
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Mac
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McCannon
Mar 25, 2017 4:19 PM CST
@newgardenergirl, in response to your original questions, โ€œAโ€ or โ€œBโ€ will work. If you go with โ€œBโ€, make several holes around 1โ€ or so, and if you have some available, cover them with screen to keep the vermin out. Give some consideration to the full size of the vegetables you want to plant. If youโ€™re starting from seed, consider the plant spacing suggestions on the seed packet. Fill the boxes to within a couple inches of the top with any brand name potting soil. Plant seeds or live plants per the instructions on the packet or plant tag. Water as necessary. Donโ€™t overthink the process. Enjoy your gardening experience and whatever crop you decide to grow Thumbs up .
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Tisha
Mar 25, 2017 4:31 PM CST
Let us know what your thinking. We box lovers want to hear what you decide Rolling my eyes.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Mar 25, 2017 11:21 PM CST
I grow Mesclun greens in deck boxes routinely. I keep them draped with row cover until I see the individual plants and recognize them so I know I'm not eating any weeds, LOL! And with them on the deck, I'm more likely to harvest some leaves for my salads each evening.

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