DIY Spring planter box

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With Spring now well and truly here, we decided to build a planter box for our new deck to have homegrown produce at our fingertips. We wanted a mix of tomatoes and herbs to take us into these warmer months to come, and also a range of edible flowers to encourage bees. I love that Aaron made the planter box from recycled materials, and we used lots of natural and recycled elements when it came to the planting as well. All of the plants and soil we picked up from our local Bunnings, as well as a few other bits we needed for the project like spray paint. Of course, you can create any shape and size planter to suit your space, but this vertical-style box is perfect for small spaces or apartment living as it takes up minimal space. Especially great if you only have a balcony, just scale it to suit. Or if you had plenty of room at your place, you could have several of these in rows and grow a large variety of crops. We added castor wheels to our planter box so that we were able to easily shift it around our deck without scratching the timber. To see a full video on the project being made, see my Reel on Instagram HERE.

 

Here are all the details on how to do it yourself...


DIY | THE PLANTER BOX 

For the planter box, Aaron made ours from treated tongue and groove which was leftover from a job site. For a project like this, it needs to be treated timber so it lasts the distance in the elements outdoors. To assemble, he cut external mitred corners on each panel so they sat flush when they were joined together. I love a mitre cut and how clean and minimal it looks. He then glued and nailed these together to form the rectangular planter. To finish, he filled the nail holes, sanded and painted with an exterior house paint. If you do not have recycled materials to use, you can buy fence pails from Bunnings as these are made for being outdoors and would be perfect for building a planter box.


DIY | THE WIREFRAMING 

I had asked Aaron to add some wireframing to the planter so that we could grow tomatoes or any vine-growing vegetables like cucumber, beans, peas, capsicums and chillies too. For this, he used an old recycled gate which he primed and painted to match the planter box (and the size of our planter was made to fit this gate). I like that we can easily take this frame on and off if we need, depending on what we have grown at the time. If you were looking for something similar second hand, you can try looking at 'tip shops' which are usually found close to the rubbish dumps. At these inexpensive shops, they have a lot of old materials like this just waiting to be upcycled. An alternative new materials option for this is at Bunnings they sell galvanised pipes and pipe fittings so you can make your own frame. And in the landscaping section, they sell galvanised mesh sheets that you can use to attach to the frame. 

 

TIPS | THE PLANTING  
Before planting Aaron drilled some drain holes in the bottom of the planter, and we added a layer of rocks to help with the drainage. Then we collected some old and used wood chips from the bottom of our chicken coup - this is such good mulch to use as it has a lot of manure mixed in there too which fertilises the soil. We also added sheets of recycled newspaper to prevent weeds from coming up. The next thing we added was a few whole eggs from our chickens, buried deep into the soil to give added minerals and nutrients as they decompose. You can also use things like seaweed and banana peels as another natural and organic booster. Once we were ready to plant we, added in some tomatoes -  a mix of cherry and heirloom, lots of herbs and edible flowers too. I also planted some marigolds in there as well as they are a natural bug repellent for gardens. Because of their strong smell, it is said that they mask the smell of vegetables, which confuse the bugs. They also keep aphids away and the roots of the Marigold produces a chemical that kills nematodes (a type of worm that destroys crops). When the weather warms up a bit, I will also plant some basil in and around the tomatoes as this is a companion plant to tomatoes - which mean the basil and tomatoes are the perfect matches in supporting each other for healthy growth. Bunnings had such a great selection of 'ready to eat' herbs and vegetables, I was really impressed at the range that they had. A lot of rare varieties as well as all the typical favourites there too.  

I hope this helps with a Spring project at your place!

Happy growing x

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