Venturing into Vegetable Gardening

I knew the perfect place on the side yard and all I needed to do was get a planter box. Having scoured the web for different ideas, I knew what would work: A 2' (depth) x 6' (width) x 3' (height) redwood planter box. But there were no plans! So I made my own, and am sharing them here.

Fresh Veggies on the way!
Fresh Veggies on the way!
Fresh Veggies on the way!

Update #1: For those interested in my plans for this project please find plans and download instructions here. — Best, Loni Stark

Update #2: Hi everyone, I’ve posted a video with tips on organic fertilizers. Happy gardening! Loni

Update #3: Another video, this time with a few maintenance tips. Thanks again for visiting.

Update #4: Don’t forget about watering, make it easy with this micro-irrigation video!

Update #5 (Jan 2010): Send me your results (loni@starkinsider.com)! Photos, videos. I’ll post then on Stark Insider. Here are some great ones sent in from around the world: Monica, David B in Australia, Julie’s herb garden, Paul B and his cucumbers)

Update #6 (April 2010): One-stop-shop! I’ve put all the posts, photos and videos about vegetable gardening on one page so you can easily navigate all the tips, tricks and even see what others are doing with my plans as well. Happy Gardening! Loni.

Update #7 (May 2010): More photos! Steve sent in some great shots of his completed planter. I’ve posted them here. Don’t forget to email me your project photos: loni@starkinsider.com. Also, follow me on Twitter if you please: @lonikaostark.

Update #8 (February 2011): Spring is coming (in the U.S. at least) and I wanted to let you know we’ve passed 2,000 downloads for the plans that built the vegetable planter you see here. I am amazed! And thank you everyone for all your amazing feedback, photos and stories. Much appreciated. I am so pleased this design is going to good use around the world…  ps – a quick hello to those visiting from New Zealand, and Australia!

DIY Vegetable Planter Box

Perchance it is the recent “green living” trend.

….Maybe it is the particular agricultural chapter I am on in my book, “Guns, Germs and Steel”.

….Possibly it is the fact that after going through my baking repertoire of lemon biscotti and lemon bars, I realize there is not much one can make that uses the abundance of lemons I have in our garden.

Whatever it was, it didn’t take too much further coaxing than a radio ad for 2-for-1 vegetable plants while driving home one day to convince me I wanted to have an organic suburban farm. All of a sudden the image of me happily digging through dirt or presenting a dish at a dinner party and declaring that not only did I make the dish, but also grew the vegetables became an obsession.

Read on for the story, photos and DIY planter box plans…

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  • David

    Hi there, have been looking for some good planter box plans on the net and yours look great! Don't suppose i could have a copy of the plans? Hope the vegies are growing well :)

  • David

    Hi there, have been looking for some good planter box plans on the net and yours look great! Don’t suppose i could have a copy of the plans? Hope the vegies are growing well :)

  • David

    Hi there, have been looking for some good planter box plans on the net and yours look great! Don’t suppose i could have a copy of the plans? Hope the vegies are growing well :)

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Thanks David – I had to design my own after I searched the web too and couldn't find one to the scale and robustness I was looking for. <br />
    <br />
    I will try to dig up the plans this weekend…it's several projects ago and probably buried among my plans for the wine cellar and window seats. <br />
    <br />
    I'll post update either way on Sunday.<br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • Thanks David – I had to design my own after I searched the web too and couldn’t find one to the scale and robustness I was looking for.

    I will try to dig up the plans this weekend…it’s several projects ago and probably buried among my plans for the wine cellar and window seats.

    I’ll post update either way on Sunday.

    Loni

  • Thanks David – I had to design my own after I searched the web too and couldn’t find one to the scale and robustness I was looking for.

    I will try to dig up the plans this weekend…it’s several projects ago and probably buried among my plans for the wine cellar and window seats.

    I’ll post update either way on Sunday.

    Loni

  • Anthony

    Just wanted to say, after scouring the web for over an hour, I have finally found the right planters for my backyard garden! thanks so much for posting this project. PS: the pics really helped! :)

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Thanks Anthony! Glad you like it, I spent quite a bit of time designing this project. <br />
    <br />
    If you have the results of your vegetable garden, love to see them, you can email them in by getting the email from the &quot;Contact Us&quot; page.<br />
    <br />
    You are right, you can reconstruct the planter box from the photos. <br />
    <br />
    One minor things I would have done differently. Look for a fine mesh for the bottom and sides of the planter which will let water drain but not soil. That or cover the box in the winter/during heavy rain season.<br />
    <br />
    Also check out some of the related posts for the add on tomato stakes I added later last year.<br />
    <br />
    I am thinking of creating a cage to fit on the top so birds and other animals don't eat half my crop this year.<br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • Anthony

    Just wanted to say, after scouring the web for over an hour, I have finally found the right planters for my backyard garden! thanks so much for posting this project. PS: the pics really helped! :)

    • Thanks Anthony! Glad you like it, I spent quite a bit of time designing this project.

      If you have the results of your vegetable garden, love to see them, you can email them in by getting the email from the “Contact Us” page.

      You are right, you can reconstruct the planter box from the photos.

      One minor things I would have done differently. Look for a fine mesh for the bottom and sides of the planter which will let water drain but not soil. That or cover the box in the winter/during heavy rain season.

      Also check out some of the related posts for the add on tomato stakes I added later last year.

      I am thinking of creating a cage to fit on the top so birds and other animals don’t eat half my crop this year.

      Loni

  • Anthony

    Just wanted to say, after scouring the web for over an hour, I have finally found the right planters for my backyard garden! thanks so much for posting this project. PS: the pics really helped! :)

    • Thanks Anthony! Glad you like it, I spent quite a bit of time designing this project.

      If you have the results of your vegetable garden, love to see them, you can email them in by getting the email from the “Contact Us” page.

      You are right, you can reconstruct the planter box from the photos.

      One minor things I would have done differently. Look for a fine mesh for the bottom and sides of the planter which will let water drain but not soil. That or cover the box in the winter/during heavy rain season.

      Also check out some of the related posts for the add on tomato stakes I added later last year.

      I am thinking of creating a cage to fit on the top so birds and other animals don’t eat half my crop this year.

      Loni

  • jim

    I am building a planter this weekend and I would LOVE a scanned version of the plans. Thanks so much it looks amazing.<br />
    <br />
    <br />
    Jim <br />
    raleigh, nc

  • jim

    I am building a planter this weekend and I would LOVE a scanned version of the plans. Thanks so much it looks amazing.

    Jim
    raleigh, nc

    • Hi Jim,

      Unfortunately earliest I will be able to look for the plans is this Sunday – will need to dig them up.

      Tomorrow, need to head up to Napa for some wine tasting appointments. Tough, but someone’s gotta do it.

      Loni

  • jim

    I am building a planter this weekend and I would LOVE a scanned version of the plans. Thanks so much it looks amazing.

    Jim
    raleigh, nc

    • Hi Jim,

      Unfortunately earliest I will be able to look for the plans is this Sunday – will need to dig them up.

      Tomorrow, need to head up to Napa for some wine tasting appointments. Tough, but someone’s gotta do it.

      Loni

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Jim, <br />
    <br />
    Unfortunately earliest I will be able to look for the plans is this Sunday – will need to dig them up. <br />
    <br />
    Tomorrow, need to head up to Napa for some wine tasting appointments. Tough, but someone's gotta do it.<br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi All – Including those that emailed info@starkinsider.com, I've found the plans and cleaned them up a bit. <br />
    <br />
    They are available for download from the link at the top of this post. For all existing requests, you will get an email shortly with the PDF password to the plans.<br />
    <br />
    Best,<br />
    Loni

  • Hi All – Including those that emailed info@starkinsider.com, I’ve found the plans and cleaned them up a bit.

    They are available for download from the link at the top of this post. For all existing requests, you will get an email shortly with the PDF password to the plans.

    Best,
    Loni

  • Hi All – Including those that emailed info@starkinsider.com, I’ve found the plans and cleaned them up a bit.

    They are available for download from the link at the top of this post. For all existing requests, you will get an email shortly with the PDF password to the plans.

    Best,
    Loni

  • Monica

    Hi,<br />
    <br />
    Searched the web and found your site. Loved your vegetable planter and designed mine (using the info on this page) this past weekend – THANK YOU! <br />
    <br />
    This is my first vegetbable planter so I am a bit &quot;green&quot;. I have a few questions for you if you have time to answer them. <br />
    <br />
    – The &quot;Dirt Mix&quot; you used – any particular order of the potting soil, lava rocks and the compost, or did you just mix it all up? Also . . .did you have to replace it this year or did you reuse the same mix from last year?<br />
    <br />
    – I would like to stain/paint mine as well. I used pressure treated wood. Did you stain yours on the inside? (Can't tell from your picture.) Is that safe to paint on the inside?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for your time.<br />
    <br />
    /Monica

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Monica – Congratulations on a successful vegetable planter box. We have gotten many requests and feedback on the planter box and it is great to see another one completed!<br />
    <br />
    1. Dirt Mix – The lava rocks (you can use other rocks as well) are placed as an even layer at the bottom of the box to provide proper drainage. The compost/manure/organic matter and potting soil are mixed together and placed on top of the rocks.<br />
    <br />
    2. Soil replacement – Soil over time gets depleted of different types of nutrients and more proned to specific diseases/insect based on the vegetables you grow. This is something that happens regardless if you have a garden in the ground or in a planter box. To remedy the former, it is often suggested that you remove a portion of the soil each year and replace with manure and other organic fertilizers (egg shells and coffee grounds are suppose to help too). To remedy the latter, crop rotation is a common practice where you grow different types of vegetables in the same location in subsequent years. This may be possible for you, for me it isn't. This is the second year and I am keeping an eye out for diseases and researching on different ways of alleviating this naturally. One way is to purchase disease resistent types.<br />
    <br />
    Some do recommend replacing the soil entirely, but based on the size of this planter, this is not very practical.<br />
    <br />
    3. Staining – I would not recommend you stain the inside of the planter and the chemicals from the stain will leach into the soil. I stained the exterior of the planter box and left the inside unstained. Is there a reason you are looking to paint the inside? I have gotten questions about lining the planter box. I didn't with mine but if you do want to line it, I would look for lining materials probably at your home improvement/garden store.<br />
    <br />
    Hope this suggestions help. <br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • Monica

    Hi,

    Searched the web and found your site. Loved your vegetable planter and designed mine (using the info on this page) this past weekend – THANK YOU!

    This is my first vegetbable planter so I am a bit “green”. I have a few questions for you if you have time to answer them.

    – The “Dirt Mix” you used – any particular order of the potting soil, lava rocks and the compost, or did you just mix it all up? Also . . .did you have to replace it this year or did you reuse the same mix from last year?

    – I would like to stain/paint mine as well. I used pressure treated wood. Did you stain yours on the inside? (Can’t tell from your picture.) Is that safe to paint on the inside?

    Thanks for your time.

    /Monica

    • Hi Monica – Congratulations on a successful vegetable planter box. We have gotten many requests and feedback on the planter box and it is great to see another one completed!

      1. Dirt Mix – The lava rocks (you can use other rocks as well) are placed as an even layer at the bottom of the box to provide proper drainage. The compost/manure/organic matter and potting soil are mixed together and placed on top of the rocks.

      2. Soil replacement – Soil over time gets depleted of different types of nutrients and more proned to specific diseases/insect based on the vegetables you grow. This is something that happens regardless if you have a garden in the ground or in a planter box. To remedy the former, it is often suggested that you remove a portion of the soil each year and replace with manure and other organic fertilizers (egg shells and coffee grounds are suppose to help too). To remedy the latter, crop rotation is a common practice where you grow different types of vegetables in the same location in subsequent years. This may be possible for you, for me it isn’t. This is the second year and I am keeping an eye out for diseases and researching on different ways of alleviating this naturally. One way is to purchase disease resistent types.

      Some do recommend replacing the soil entirely, but based on the size of this planter, this is not very practical.

      3. Staining – I would not recommend you stain the inside of the planter and the chemicals from the stain will leach into the soil. I stained the exterior of the planter box and left the inside unstained. Is there a reason you are looking to paint the inside? I have gotten questions about lining the planter box. I didn’t with mine but if you do want to line it, I would look for lining materials probably at your home improvement/garden store.

      Hope this suggestions help.

      Loni

      • Monica

        Thanks Loni!

        I want to paint mine so that it matches the siding of my house though I will place it up against my house (as you did). I didn’t know if I should paint the inside or not, but after reading your replay I will only do the outside and keep the inside as is.

        Did you experience any insects problems? Did you end up building a cage for yours? If so . . .any pictures/plans :o)?

        Thanks for sharing and for making it possible for others to enjoy this wonderful planter box.

        /Monica

        • Hi Monica – I have not experienced insect problems last year and this year so far. I recommend watering in the morning so that the soil surface dries up quickly. If you do get insects, you will need to deter them in the same manner as you would for in-ground plantings.

          As for the cage, I have not built it yet. When I do, I will post up updated plants and notify everyone who has downloaded the plans. I actually have a couple of additions to this planter box I would like to make including a working surface.

          I did add tomato stakes so that my tomatoes could grow up. You can see the stakes here: http://www.starkinsider.com/2008/05/solar-update-ma.html

          My next project is actually building a trellis for two of our plants on the front porch. I need to build them because the dimensions will need to be customized for area.

          Loni

          • Monica

            Thanks Loni!

            I appreciate all the valuable information. I picked up all kinds of herbs & veggies and can’t wait to get started. Take care.

            Sincerely,

            Monica

    • David

      Monica,
      If you don’t mind me asking…approximatly how much did the materials cost to build your Planter, using Pressure treated wood? My wife and I would really like to set up a large planter and your input would be appreciated.
      Thanks,
      David

      • MONICA

        Hi David,

        I purchased my materials from the local Home Depot and it was about $95 for it all, including screws and L-brackets. I had them pre-cut most of my wood according to Loni’s sizes. This cut down on project time for me.

        I also picked up my soil from a local “landscaping/mulch” supplier. I got 2 scoops of (enough plus a little leftover) of a soil, compost mixture for less than $30.

        Further, I lined the bottom and sides of my planter with black landscaping fabric (for drainage) (approx $15 for a 25ft roll — lots of leftover for other gardening projects).

        Heads up! As I was filling my box, the bottom two support wood pieces (the 2″ x 4″ x 72″) started coming apart. The soil weight was too much. I emptied out the soil and supported the two pieces with (total) and additional six 3.5″ (hex) bolts (screws). If you build it I would recommend you doing long heavy-duty screws from the beginning, and do plenty of them along your 72″ support piece. This is where all the weight comes down and you want plenty of stability.

        All together the entire project cost me under $150 with starter veggies.

        Hope that helps!

        Enjoy!

        /Monica

        • Thanks Monica – Great tip on using black landscaping fabric, I just pointed another reader to your comment this morning who was asking about my “mesh” comment in a previous comment I had made.

          The cost for the planter will vary greatly depending on the type of wood you use to build it. Pressure treated wood or reclaimed wood is a very cost effective choice.

          If you print out the materials list, you can go to the lumber yard and ask for quotes with different materials. I used Red Wood (recall this may have been around $180 total for wood but I also had an extra shelf below the raised planter bed). I had considered Cedar, but my Home Depot did not carry it.

          I just posted an entry from David B. in Australia who built a variation using these plans:

          http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/05/vegetable-planter-box-update-david-australia.html

          If any of you have finished project photos, love to see them.

          Best,
          Loni

  • Monica

    Hi,

    Searched the web and found your site. Loved your vegetable planter and designed mine (using the info on this page) this past weekend – THANK YOU!

    This is my first vegetbable planter so I am a bit “green”. I have a few questions for you if you have time to answer them.

    – The “Dirt Mix” you used – any particular order of the potting soil, lava rocks and the compost, or did you just mix it all up? Also . . .did you have to replace it this year or did you reuse the same mix from last year?

    – I would like to stain/paint mine as well. I used pressure treated wood. Did you stain yours on the inside? (Can’t tell from your picture.) Is that safe to paint on the inside?

    Thanks for your time.

    /Monica

    • Hi Monica – Congratulations on a successful vegetable planter box. We have gotten many requests and feedback on the planter box and it is great to see another one completed!

      1. Dirt Mix – The lava rocks (you can use other rocks as well) are placed as an even layer at the bottom of the box to provide proper drainage. The compost/manure/organic matter and potting soil are mixed together and placed on top of the rocks.

      2. Soil replacement – Soil over time gets depleted of different types of nutrients and more proned to specific diseases/insect based on the vegetables you grow. This is something that happens regardless if you have a garden in the ground or in a planter box. To remedy the former, it is often suggested that you remove a portion of the soil each year and replace with manure and other organic fertilizers (egg shells and coffee grounds are suppose to help too). To remedy the latter, crop rotation is a common practice where you grow different types of vegetables in the same location in subsequent years. This may be possible for you, for me it isn’t. This is the second year and I am keeping an eye out for diseases and researching on different ways of alleviating this naturally. One way is to purchase disease resistent types.

      Some do recommend replacing the soil entirely, but based on the size of this planter, this is not very practical.

      3. Staining – I would not recommend you stain the inside of the planter and the chemicals from the stain will leach into the soil. I stained the exterior of the planter box and left the inside unstained. Is there a reason you are looking to paint the inside? I have gotten questions about lining the planter box. I didn’t with mine but if you do want to line it, I would look for lining materials probably at your home improvement/garden store.

      Hope this suggestions help.

      Loni

      • Monica

        Thanks Loni!

        I want to paint mine so that it matches the siding of my house though I will place it up against my house (as you did). I didn’t know if I should paint the inside or not, but after reading your replay I will only do the outside and keep the inside as is.

        Did you experience any insects problems? Did you end up building a cage for yours? If so . . .any pictures/plans :o)?

        Thanks for sharing and for making it possible for others to enjoy this wonderful planter box.

        /Monica

        • Hi Monica – I have not experienced insect problems last year and this year so far. I recommend watering in the morning so that the soil surface dries up quickly. If you do get insects, you will need to deter them in the same manner as you would for in-ground plantings.

          As for the cage, I have not built it yet. When I do, I will post up updated plants and notify everyone who has downloaded the plans. I actually have a couple of additions to this planter box I would like to make including a working surface.

          I did add tomato stakes so that my tomatoes could grow up. You can see the stakes here: http://www.starkinsider.com/2008/05/solar-update-ma.html

          My next project is actually building a trellis for two of our plants on the front porch. I need to build them because the dimensions will need to be customized for area.

          Loni

          • Monica

            Thanks Loni!

            I appreciate all the valuable information. I picked up all kinds of herbs & veggies and can’t wait to get started. Take care.

            Sincerely,

            Monica

    • David

      Monica,
      If you don’t mind me asking…approximatly how much did the materials cost to build your Planter, using Pressure treated wood? My wife and I would really like to set up a large planter and your input would be appreciated.
      Thanks,
      David

      • MONICA

        Hi David,

        I purchased my materials from the local Home Depot and it was about $95 for it all, including screws and L-brackets. I had them pre-cut most of my wood according to Loni’s sizes. This cut down on project time for me.

        I also picked up my soil from a local “landscaping/mulch” supplier. I got 2 scoops of (enough plus a little leftover) of a soil, compost mixture for less than $30.

        Further, I lined the bottom and sides of my planter with black landscaping fabric (for drainage) (approx $15 for a 25ft roll — lots of leftover for other gardening projects).

        Heads up! As I was filling my box, the bottom two support wood pieces (the 2″ x 4″ x 72″) started coming apart. The soil weight was too much. I emptied out the soil and supported the two pieces with (total) and additional six 3.5″ (hex) bolts (screws). If you build it I would recommend you doing long heavy-duty screws from the beginning, and do plenty of them along your 72″ support piece. This is where all the weight comes down and you want plenty of stability.

        All together the entire project cost me under $150 with starter veggies.

        Hope that helps!

        Enjoy!

        /Monica

        • Thanks Monica – Great tip on using black landscaping fabric, I just pointed another reader to your comment this morning who was asking about my “mesh” comment in a previous comment I had made.

          The cost for the planter will vary greatly depending on the type of wood you use to build it. Pressure treated wood or reclaimed wood is a very cost effective choice.

          If you print out the materials list, you can go to the lumber yard and ask for quotes with different materials. I used Red Wood (recall this may have been around $180 total for wood but I also had an extra shelf below the raised planter bed). I had considered Cedar, but my Home Depot did not carry it.

          I just posted an entry from David B. in Australia who built a variation using these plans:

          http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/05/vegetable-planter-box-update-david-australia.html

          If any of you have finished project photos, love to see them.

          Best,
          Loni

          • barry

            Hey Loni,
            Just as a heads up you don’t want to recommend using pressure treated wood for a vegetable box. The chemicals used can leech into the soil and contaminate the vegetables.

        • Thanks Barry for the information. Some have been asking about treated wood. I had the same concern as you about chemicals.

        • Shauna

          Hi Monica,
          That is great for the prices, are you in Canada or US?
          It makes me feel great to know that there is another lady other willing to do DIY projects. I found Loni like you searching on the internet and I saw this and all that I thought what a perfect project for me and my dad. But then I read how you went to the home depot and got all your supplies and the wood precut – what a great IDEA. Now I can do this on my own with some help from the hubby…

          Thanks again Monica, and you Loni for creating this planter for us to make – Happy Earth Day.

          Shauna

  • Monica

    Thanks Loni!<br />
    <br />
    I want to paint mine so that it matches the siding of my house though I will place it up against my house (as you did). I didn't know if I should paint the inside or not, but after reading your replay I will only do the outside and keep the inside as is. <br />
    <br />
    Did you experience any insects problems? Did you end up building a cage for yours? If so . . .any pictures/plans :o)?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for sharing and for making it possible for others to enjoy this wonderful planter box.<br />
    <br />
    /Monica

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Monica – I have not experienced insect problems last year and this year so far. I recommend watering in the morning so that the soil surface dries up quickly. If you do get insects, you will need to deter them in the same manner as you would for in-ground plantings.<br />
    <br />
    As for the cage, I have not built it yet. When I do, I will post up updated plants and notify everyone who has downloaded the plans. I actually have a couple of additions to this planter box I would like to make including a working surface. <br />
    <br />
    I did add tomato stakes so that my tomatoes could grow up. You can see the stakes here: <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2008/05/solar-update-ma.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2008/05/solar-upd…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2008/05/solar-upd…</a></a> <br />
    My next project is actually building a trellis for two of our plants on the front porch. I need to build them because the dimensions will need to be customized for area.<br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • Monica

    Thanks Loni!<br />
    <br />
    I appreciate all the valuable information. I picked up all kinds of herbs &amp; veggies and can't wait to get started. Take care.<br />
    <br />
    Sincerely,<br />
    <br />
    Monica

  • Linda Kuehl

    As I was planting my veggies today in my planter boxes I remembered your planter box blog and I thought I would mention a great way to combine your love of wine and gardening. All those wine corks (real cork not the plastic ones) make great drainage material to put in the bottom of your planters. Great way to recycle too!

  • Linda Kuehl

    As I was planting my veggies today in my planter boxes I remembered your planter box blog and I thought I would mention a great way to combine your love of wine and gardening. All those wine corks (real cork not the plastic ones) make great drainage material to put in the bottom of your planters. Great way to recycle too!

  • Linda Kuehl

    As I was planting my veggies today in my planter boxes I remembered your planter box blog and I thought I would mention a great way to combine your love of wine and gardening. All those wine corks (real cork not the plastic ones) make great drainage material to put in the bottom of your planters. Great way to recycle too!

  • David

    Monica,<br />
    If you don't mind me asking…approximatly how much did the materials cost to build your Planter, using Pressure treated wood? My wife and I would really like to set up a large planter and your input would be appreciated.<br />
    Thanks,<br />
    David

  • MONICA

    Hi David,<br />
    <br />
    I purchased my materials from the local Home Depot and it was about $95 for it all, including screws and L-brackets. I had them pre-cut most of my wood according to Loni's sizes. This cut down on project time for me. <br />
    <br />
    I also picked up my soil from a local &quot;landscaping/mulch&quot; supplier. I got 2 scoops of (enough plus a little leftover) of a soil, compost mixture for less than $30.<br />
    <br />
    Further, I lined the bottom and sides of my planter with black landscaping fabric (for drainage) (approx $15 for a 25ft roll — lots of leftover for other gardening projects).<br />
    <br />
    Heads up! As I was filling my box, the bottom two support wood pieces (the 2&quot; x 4&quot; x 72&quot;) started coming apart. The soil weight was too much. I emptied out the soil and supported the two pieces with (total) and additional six 3.5&quot; (hex) bolts (screws). If you build it I would recommend you doing long heavy-duty screws from the beginning, and do plenty of them along your 72&quot; support piece. This is where all the weight comes down and you want plenty of stability.<br />
    <br />
    All together the entire project cost me under $150 with starter veggies.<br />
    <br />
    Hope that helps!<br />
    <br />
    Enjoy!<br />
    <br />
    /Monica

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Thanks Monica – Great tip on using black landscaping fabric, I just pointed another reader to your comment this morning who was asking about my &quot;mesh&quot; comment in a previous comment I had made.<br />
    <br />
    The cost for the planter will vary greatly depending on the type of wood you use to build it. Pressure treated wood or reclaimed wood is a very cost effective choice. <br />
    <br />
    If you print out the materials list, you can go to the lumber yard and ask for quotes with different materials. I used Red Wood (recall this may have been around $180 total for wood but I also had an extra shelf below the raised planter bed). I had considered Cedar, but my Home Depot did not carry it.<br />
    <br />
    I just posted an entry from David B. in Australia who built a variation using these plans: <br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/05/vegetable-planter-box-update-david-australia.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/05/vegetable…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/05/vegetable…</a></a> <br />
    If any of you have finished project photos, love to see them.<br />
    <br />
    Best,<br />
    Loni

  • Mindy

    Hi:<br />
    <br />
    I have been searching for a design that would suit my needs and I've finally found it! Could you please e-mail your plans so that I can get to work right away?<br />
    <br />
    Thank you!

  • Mindy

    Hi:

    I have been searching for a design that would suit my needs and I’ve finally found it! Could you please e-mail your plans so that I can get to work right away?

    Thank you!

  • Mindy

    Hi:

    I have been searching for a design that would suit my needs and I’ve finally found it! Could you please e-mail your plans so that I can get to work right away?

    Thank you!

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Mindy – Thanks. Just go to this page:<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-vegetable-planter-box-plans&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-veget…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-veget…</a></a> <br />
    There is a form and once you complete it, SSC will send you an email with the password.<br />
    <br />
    Best,<br />
    Loni

  • mike neuhaus

    This looks just like what I am looking for.Could you please send me a scanned version of the plans.<br />
    <br />
    Thank You for your time.Mike

  • mike neuhaus

    This looks just like what I am looking for.Could you please send me a scanned version of the plans.

    Thank You for your time.Mike

  • mike neuhaus

    This looks just like what I am looking for.Could you please send me a scanned version of the plans.

    Thank You for your time.Mike

  • Don

    Hi Loni,<br />
    <br />
    I'm impressed with your design and the work you did. It's a very good looking job, and shames me for what I settled for!<br />
    <br />
    I import parts from China, and they come in plywood crates that are 30 inches wide by 44 inches long by 27 inches deep. I framed in a false floor, reducing the depth to only 11 inches, which I thought would be enough for carrots and other roots – and not too heavy with soil for my deck!<br />
    <br />
    Anyhow, now I'm a bit worried about any leeching of chemicals from the plywood into the soil. I did line the boxes with some vapour barrier type plastic – but it is not a perfect seal. My intent at the time was to keep constant moisture from the plywood.<br />
    <br />
    Searching the web I see that the glues in plywood are formaldehyde based.<br />
    <br />
    Your choice of redwood is much better, and I would feel more comfortable with that. Did you learn anything about the risks of plywood when you did your research?<br />
    <br />
    Thanks for any comments.<br />
    <br />
    Don

  • Don

    Hi Loni,

    I’m impressed with your design and the work you did. It’s a very good looking job, and shames me for what I settled for!

    I import parts from China, and they come in plywood crates that are 30 inches wide by 44 inches long by 27 inches deep. I framed in a false floor, reducing the depth to only 11 inches, which I thought would be enough for carrots and other roots – and not too heavy with soil for my deck!

    Anyhow, now I’m a bit worried about any leeching of chemicals from the plywood into the soil. I did line the boxes with some vapour barrier type plastic – but it is not a perfect seal. My intent at the time was to keep constant moisture from the plywood.

    Searching the web I see that the glues in plywood are formaldehyde based.

    Your choice of redwood is much better, and I would feel more comfortable with that. Did you learn anything about the risks of plywood when you did your research?

    Thanks for any comments.

    Don

  • Don

    Hi Loni,

    I’m impressed with your design and the work you did. It’s a very good looking job, and shames me for what I settled for!

    I import parts from China, and they come in plywood crates that are 30 inches wide by 44 inches long by 27 inches deep. I framed in a false floor, reducing the depth to only 11 inches, which I thought would be enough for carrots and other roots – and not too heavy with soil for my deck!

    Anyhow, now I’m a bit worried about any leeching of chemicals from the plywood into the soil. I did line the boxes with some vapour barrier type plastic – but it is not a perfect seal. My intent at the time was to keep constant moisture from the plywood.

    Searching the web I see that the glues in plywood are formaldehyde based.

    Your choice of redwood is much better, and I would feel more comfortable with that. Did you learn anything about the risks of plywood when you did your research?

    Thanks for any comments.

    Don

  • Loni Kao Stark

    For those interested, I just did a video update on organic fertilizers here: <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable-gardening-planter-box-diy-video-tip-organic-fertilizers.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable…</a></a> <br />
    Hi Don – I am not an expert on the chemicals used in the plywood process. I would be personally wary about using plywood or any wood that has gone through chemical processing in the making of boxes that will be used to grow edible plants. <br />
    <br />
    However, checking on the Internet, it seems many other websites have suggested that plywood is ok for these types of projects. It is great you have found an alternative use for plywood that may have instead ended up in a landfill. <br />
    <br />
    Sorry I am not able to give more concrete answer on the matter. I was building this planter box to last for decades so decided to use redwood (couldn't find cedar in the quantity I needed it in) because I liked the look of it. I didn't consider pressure-treated or plywood so did not perform extensive research on this matter. <br />
    <br />
    Have a great weekend all!<br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • Jennifer Kerns

    My sone been wanting one for his birthday but i was thinking more of a 4ft X 6ft with 2ft deep how would i doo that?

  • For those interested, I just did a video update on organic fertilizers here: http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable-gardening-planter-box-diy-video-tip-organic-fertilizers.html

    Hi Don – I am not an expert on the chemicals used in the plywood process. I would be personally wary about using plywood or any wood that has gone through chemical processing in the making of boxes that will be used to grow edible plants.

    However, checking on the Internet, it seems many other websites have suggested that plywood is ok for these types of projects. It is great you have found an alternative use for plywood that may have instead ended up in a landfill.

    Sorry I am not able to give more concrete answer on the matter. I was building this planter box to last for decades so decided to use redwood (couldn’t find cedar in the quantity I needed it in) because I liked the look of it. I didn’t consider pressure-treated or plywood so did not perform extensive research on this matter.

    Have a great weekend all!

    Loni

  • For those interested, I just did a video update on organic fertilizers here: http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable-gardening-planter-box-diy-video-tip-organic-fertilizers.html

    Hi Don – I am not an expert on the chemicals used in the plywood process. I would be personally wary about using plywood or any wood that has gone through chemical processing in the making of boxes that will be used to grow edible plants.

    However, checking on the Internet, it seems many other websites have suggested that plywood is ok for these types of projects. It is great you have found an alternative use for plywood that may have instead ended up in a landfill.

    Sorry I am not able to give more concrete answer on the matter. I was building this planter box to last for decades so decided to use redwood (couldn’t find cedar in the quantity I needed it in) because I liked the look of it. I didn’t consider pressure-treated or plywood so did not perform extensive research on this matter.

    Have a great weekend all!

    Loni

  • Jennifer Kerns

    My sone been wanting one for his birthday but i was thinking more of a 4ft X 6ft with 2ft deep how would i doo that?

    • Hi Jennifer, I would still follow the basic plans but you will need longer pieces of wood for the width of the planter so adjust the 6 pieces of wood accordingly. Then you will need to also have the slates of wood on the bottom of the planter box to be longer as well.

      The biggest concern would be support for the extra weight of the soil if you are planning to have legs and elevate the planter box. If it is on-the-ground, then no worries. For the former case, you will need to think about the supports. Instead of 2×4, you may want to look at using 4×4 for the horizontal supports that are just above the legs that run the entire length of the planter box. You should also look at thicker pieces of wood for the bottom slats of wood instead of using fence planks. I would also suggest may an extra support beam as well.

      Finally, I would definitely add additional support legs to the planter box, so instead of 4 legs, use 6 or 8 legs instead.

      Also make sure to use heavy duty, extra long screws and lots of them.

      Good luck!

      Loni

  • Jennifer Kerns

    My sone been wanting one for his birthday but i was thinking more of a 4ft X 6ft with 2ft deep how would i doo that?

    • Hi Jennifer, I would still follow the basic plans but you will need longer pieces of wood for the width of the planter so adjust the 6 pieces of wood accordingly. Then you will need to also have the slates of wood on the bottom of the planter box to be longer as well.

      The biggest concern would be support for the extra weight of the soil if you are planning to have legs and elevate the planter box. If it is on-the-ground, then no worries. For the former case, you will need to think about the supports. Instead of 2×4, you may want to look at using 4×4 for the horizontal supports that are just above the legs that run the entire length of the planter box. You should also look at thicker pieces of wood for the bottom slats of wood instead of using fence planks. I would also suggest may an extra support beam as well.

      Finally, I would definitely add additional support legs to the planter box, so instead of 4 legs, use 6 or 8 legs instead.

      Also make sure to use heavy duty, extra long screws and lots of them.

      Good luck!

      Loni

  • Bill

    That is really nice work. There is a method called Square Foot Gardening you might want to check out. I've read the book (no plug intended) and it's opened my eyes to possibilities. One is that most plants will grow in 6 inches of soil. That means you can make the box much lighter. Check it out. <a href="http://www.squarefootgardening.com/&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.squarefootgardening.com/</a>&quot; target="_blank">http://www.squarefootgardening.com/</a></a&gt; The guy also has a foundation to help spread the idea to under developed areas. Good Gardening..<br />
    <br />
    bill

  • Bill

    That is really nice work. There is a method called Square Foot Gardening you might want to check out. I’ve read the book (no plug intended) and it’s opened my eyes to possibilities. One is that most plants will grow in 6 inches of soil. That means you can make the box much lighter. Check it out. http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ The guy also has a foundation to help spread the idea to under developed areas. Good Gardening..

    bill

  • Bill

    That is really nice work. There is a method called Square Foot Gardening you might want to check out. I’ve read the book (no plug intended) and it’s opened my eyes to possibilities. One is that most plants will grow in 6 inches of soil. That means you can make the box much lighter. Check it out. http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ The guy also has a foundation to help spread the idea to under developed areas. Good Gardening..

    bill

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Jennifer, I would still follow the basic plans but you will need longer pieces of wood for the width of the planter so adjust the 6 pieces of wood accordingly. Then you will need to also have the slates of wood on the bottom of the planter box to be longer as well.<br />
    <br />
    The biggest concern would be support for the extra weight of the soil if you are planning to have legs and elevate the planter box. If it is on-the-ground, then no worries. For the former case, you will need to think about the supports. Instead of 2×4, you may want to look at using 4×4 for the horizontal supports that are just above the legs that run the entire length of the planter box. You should also look at thicker pieces of wood for the bottom slats of wood instead of using fence planks. I would also suggest may an extra support beam as well.<br />
    <br />
    Finally, I would definitely add additional support legs to the planter box, so instead of 4 legs, use 6 or 8 legs instead.<br />
    <br />
    Also make sure to use heavy duty, extra long screws and lots of them.<br />
    <br />
    Good luck!<br />
    <br />
    Loni

  • pbsterling

    Here is my version of the box:<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3655/3587145804_439821b4f9_b.jpg&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3655/3587145804_43…</a>" target="_blank">http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3655/3587145804_43…</a></a> <br />
    Thanks Loni

  • pbsterling

    Here is my version of the box:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3655/3587145804_439821b4f9_b.jpg

    Thanks Loni

  • pbsterling

    Here is my version of the box:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3655/3587145804_439821b4f9_b.jpg

    Thanks Loni

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Your planter box looks fantastic. I like how you extended the length of the design. It establishes a nice border between the hard scape and grass.<br />
    <br />
    I just finished a video episode talking about micro irrigation. Something folks may want to consider if you travel a lot and want to ensure your vegetable garden never gets thirsty.<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable-gardening-tips-video-raindrip-loni-episode-2-micro-irrigation.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/vegetable…</a></a>

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Paul – I just posted up the photo of your planter box here:<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/pauls-vegetable-planter-box.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/pauls-veg…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/pauls-veg…</a></a> <br />
    For those that are interested in other planter box/container gardening ideas, found some great examples yesterday at Murrieta's Well Winery. Posted photos here:<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/container-gardening-inspirations-murrietas-winery.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/container…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/06/container…</a></a>

  • John

    Sharp looking box, and one that I'll be following this weekend. A few comments on some of the topics above: you definitely do not want to use pressure treated wood if you're going to be eating things from this box. Pressure treated wood is an inexpensive wood for general outdoor projects, but not for something where you'll be eating from it. The chemicals will indeed leach into the soil. You'll find a lot of planter boxes (where you're putting flowers and plants for show, not consumption) online that recommend pressure treated wood. If you're going to eat from this box, we have to bite the bullet and buy a more expensive wood like redwood or cedar. Next, when dealing with redwood (or cedar), it's generally recommended to use double-dipped galvanized, stainless steel, or aluminum hardware. That will lessen the wood/metal interacting and discoloring in the wood. Thanks to everyone for posting their plans … it's given me both inspiration and ideas.

  • John

    Sharp looking box, and one that I’ll be following this weekend. A few comments on some of the topics above: you definitely do not want to use pressure treated wood if you’re going to be eating things from this box. Pressure treated wood is an inexpensive wood for general outdoor projects, but not for something where you’ll be eating from it. The chemicals will indeed leach into the soil. You’ll find a lot of planter boxes (where you’re putting flowers and plants for show, not consumption) online that recommend pressure treated wood. If you’re going to eat from this box, we have to bite the bullet and buy a more expensive wood like redwood or cedar. Next, when dealing with redwood (or cedar), it’s generally recommended to use double-dipped galvanized, stainless steel, or aluminum hardware. That will lessen the wood/metal interacting and discoloring in the wood. Thanks to everyone for posting their plans … it’s given me both inspiration and ideas.

  • John

    Sharp looking box, and one that I’ll be following this weekend. A few comments on some of the topics above: you definitely do not want to use pressure treated wood if you’re going to be eating things from this box. Pressure treated wood is an inexpensive wood for general outdoor projects, but not for something where you’ll be eating from it. The chemicals will indeed leach into the soil. You’ll find a lot of planter boxes (where you’re putting flowers and plants for show, not consumption) online that recommend pressure treated wood. If you’re going to eat from this box, we have to bite the bullet and buy a more expensive wood like redwood or cedar. Next, when dealing with redwood (or cedar), it’s generally recommended to use double-dipped galvanized, stainless steel, or aluminum hardware. That will lessen the wood/metal interacting and discoloring in the wood. Thanks to everyone for posting their plans … it’s given me both inspiration and ideas.

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hope everyone is starting to enjoy their vegetables. I picked my first crop of tomatoes last week and made this dish: <br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/08/live-simply-tomato-feta-salad-recipe.html&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/08/live-simp…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/08/live-simp…</a></a> <br />
    It was delicious and definitely recommended. Tastes so good with tomatoes fresh from the vegetable planter garden.

  • Hope everyone is starting to enjoy their vegetables. I picked my first crop of tomatoes last week and made this dish:

    http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/08/live-simply-tomato-feta-salad-recipe.html

    It was delicious and definitely recommended. Tastes so good with tomatoes fresh from the vegetable planter garden.

  • Hope everyone is starting to enjoy their vegetables. I picked my first crop of tomatoes last week and made this dish:

    http://www.starkinsider.com/2009/08/live-simply-tomato-feta-salad-recipe.html

    It was delicious and definitely recommended. Tastes so good with tomatoes fresh from the vegetable planter garden.

  • Gregory

    Hi there, i have been wanting to build a vegetable box for quite some time now and i really like the look of yours. i was wondering if you could send me something with more detail so i can build one.

  • Gregory

    Hi there, i have been wanting to build a vegetable box for quite some time now and i really like the look of yours. i was wondering if you could send me something with more detail so i can build one.

  • Gregory

    Hi there, i have been wanting to build a vegetable box for quite some time now and i really like the look of yours. i was wondering if you could send me something with more detail so i can build one.

  • Clinton Stark

    Gregory, yes, more detail on the plans are posted by Loni here: <a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-vegetable-planter-box-plans&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-veget…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-veget…</a></a> Good luck and happy gardening!

  • Gregory, yes, more detail on the plans are posted by Loni here:

    http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-veget

    Good luck and happy gardening!

  • Gregory, yes, more detail on the plans are posted by Loni here:

    http://www.starkinsider.com/loni-starks-veget

    Good luck and happy gardening!

  • Tim

    Thanks for the great plan! I'm having a really hard time finding the L brackets that you have for the legs, any more specifics on what to ask for at home depot?

  • Tim

    Thanks for the great plan! I'm having a really hard time finding the L brackets that you have for the legs, any more specifics on what to ask for at home depot?

    • Hi Tim – At Home Depot or any other home improvement store, there is usually a section of metal brackets, I would just go and browse for any flat pieces of metal that have a right (90 degree) angle in it. I know some readers have used a T bracket instead of an L bracket.

      The purpose of it is just to give more stability to the legs so it is not only dependent on the long screw going into from the bottom of the planter box.

      You may try just bringing in the plans and asking for someone to help. I usually just browse down the aisles and look for something to inspire me.

      For example, a couple of years back I used a long copper tube as the curtain rod for some outdoor curtains. The true purpose of the copper tube was for plumbing and I would never have come across it without just looking around. Copper is great for this purpose because it doesn't rust.

      Thanks for writing in and good luck!

      Loni

  • Tim

    Thanks for the great plan! I'm having a really hard time finding the L brackets that you have for the legs, any more specifics on what to ask for at home depot?

    • Hi Tim – At Home Depot or any other home improvement store, there is usually a section of metal brackets, I would just go and browse for any flat pieces of metal that have a right (90 degree) angle in it. I know some readers have used a T bracket instead of an L bracket.

      The purpose of it is just to give more stability to the legs so it is not only dependent on the long screw going into from the bottom of the planter box.

      You may try just bringing in the plans and asking for someone to help. I usually just browse down the aisles and look for something to inspire me.

      For example, a couple of years back I used a long copper tube as the curtain rod for some outdoor curtains. The true purpose of the copper tube was for plumbing and I would never have come across it without just looking around. Copper is great for this purpose because it doesn't rust.

      Thanks for writing in and good luck!

      Loni

  • lonikaostark

    Hi Tim – At Home Depot or any other home improvement store, there is usually a section of metal brackets, I would just go and browse for any flat pieces of metal that have a right (90 degree) angle in it. I know some readers have used a T bracket instead of an L bracket. The purpose of it is just to give more stability to the legs so it is not only dependent on the long screw going into from the bottom of the planter box. You may try just bringing in the plans and asking for someone to help. I usually just browse down the aisles and look for something to inspire me. For example, a couple of years back I used a long copper tube as the curtain rod for some outdoor curtains. The true purpose of the copper tube was for plumbing and I would never have come across it without just looking around. Copper is great for this purpose because it doesn't rust. Thanks for writing in and good luck! Loni

  • Tracy

    I would love to have the plans on the planter box. We want to make several of them…… Thanks :-)

  • Tracy

    I would love to have the plans on the planter box. We want to make several of them……

    Thanks :-)

  • Tracy

    I would love to have the plans on the planter box. We want to make several of them……

    Thanks :-)

  • lonikaostark

    Hi Tracy, At the top of the post, there are instructions on how to download the PDF of the plans and request for the password. Best, Loni

  • Hi Tracy, At the top of the post, there are instructions on how to download the PDF of the plans and request for the password.

    Best,
    Loni

  • Hi Tracy, At the top of the post, there are instructions on how to download the PDF of the plans and request for the password.

    Best,
    Loni

  • mAlissa

    My husband and I are using your plans to build a planter box and had a few questions before we complete it this weekend. We are on a smaller budget so we purchased regular pine wood from Home Depot and got some water sealant/stain to coat over the wod when done. We are now wondering what we should do for drainage. We were planning on getting some black lining to put inside the box but do we still need drainage holes or would lava rocks be good enough for drainage?

    mAlissa

    • Hi mAlissa, A couple of thoughts/recommendations:

      – for stain, make sure you only stain/seal the exterior of the planter box. Do not coat any areas thaty will touch the soil
      – If you are using an impermeable black lining, then do put some drainage holes. In the winter, rain can accumulate quickly. If you don't use a lining, then the bottom of the planter box already has slits that will let the water drain.

      Have fun this weekend and if you have pics of the completed project, love to see them.

      Loni

  • mAlissa

    My husband and I are using your plans to build a planter box and had a few questions before we complete it this weekend. We are on a smaller budget so we purchased regular pine wood from Home Depot and got some water sealant/stain to coat over the wod when done. We are now wondering what we should do for drainage. We were planning on getting some black lining to put inside the box but do we still need drainage holes or would lava rocks be good enough for drainage?

    mAlissa

    • Hi mAlissa, A couple of thoughts/recommendations:

      – for stain, make sure you only stain/seal the exterior of the planter box. Do not coat any areas thaty will touch the soil
      – If you are using an impermeable black lining, then do put some drainage holes. In the winter, rain can accumulate quickly. If you don't use a lining, then the bottom of the planter box already has slits that will let the water drain.

      Have fun this weekend and if you have pics of the completed project, love to see them.

      Loni

  • clm

    Very pretty, and always glad to see more people growing veggies at home… but if you were concerned about sustainability, why did you use redwood? Hmm… thousand year old tree vs. tomato plant… I love tomatoes, but… though I agree that pressure treated is out of the question for safety reasons. Hopefully you used eco-certified lumber, and hope more so that you and your family get years of use out of that beauty! Very nice job… and consider lining it with something, as even redwood will rot eventually (as my dad discovered- did our bathroom in it- was nice for 10 years, and gross for another 10 till they could remodel with tile… said he'd have done it in tile to begin with if he'd known what a pain it would be to fix!).

  • Ric

    My family and I just made our planter this weekend using some plans I made up and it looks remarkably like yours. Mine is sitting on the ground instead of up on legs, I am pondering now on whether to get it off the ground or not. I wanted to know what your opinion was on using a polyurethane sealer (no stain) on the inside. Will it break down with the watering?

    • Hi Ric – I just responded to a comment last night asking me why I did put legs on mine.

      I think it depends on your situation and what you want to plant. I've had readers write in loving the height of the planter box because it is easier to work the soil without bending down and one reader built one for her brother who is in a wheel chair and couldn't reach down to garden. However, Helen, another reader commented that because I grew tomatoes in my planter box, I had to climb up in order to prune them so perhaps a lower planter box height would have alleviated this problem.

      Just factors to consider.

      As for the polyurethane sealer, I personally would feel uneasy about using it as I would be concerned about chemicals against my vegetable plant roots. I know others have used plant lining material from their garden supply store.

      Good luck,
      Loni

  • I would love the detailed plans for building this box! GREAT JOB!!!! AND beautiful blogsite for sharing.

  • Angela

    Hi Loni,

    Great to see all the details on how to build a planter box, I am hoping to build my own planter box for vegetable garden…

    However I have notice one thing, do you not have to allow drainage holes at the bottom of the box? I thought rainage holes are always required regardless of how big or small the box is.

    Thanks heaps

    • Hi Angela,

      When you nail/screw in the bottom slates of wood for the planter box, you will note in the instructions that you leave a thin space between each piece of wood. These spaces act as the drainage holes.

      Hope this makes sense.

      Best,
      Loni

  • Josh V.

    I love your simple design. Spent a bunch of time online searching for a plan like this. Its something that is doable without specialty tools and equipment.

    Thanks for the download, however, pages 2,3 are coming up as there..but nothing on them. Its weird. Have you heard of this problem?

    • DA

      Hi Loni, I’m having the same problem as Josh V. pages 2 and 3 are coming up blank…

      • Hi Josh and DA –

        Just tried this out and I see all the pages of the PDF fine.

        I would try again and perhaps save the PDF to your local drive. Also make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader.

        There’s been about 800 downloads of the plans to date and only heard of a couple incidents like this and they generally get resolved by the user.

        Good luck!

        Loni

        • DA

          Hi Loni and Josh V,

          I was able to view pages 2 and 3 when I open on my PC… not on my Apple.

          Thanks,
          Dimple

  • DA

    Hi Loni, I’m having the same problem as Josh V. pages 2 and 3 are coming up blank…

    • Hi Josh and DA –

      Just tried this out and I see all the pages of the PDF fine.

      I would try again and perhaps save the PDF to your local drive. Also make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader.

      There’s been about 800 downloads of the plans to date and only heard of a couple incidents like this and they generally get resolved by the user.

      Good luck!

      Loni

      • DA

        Hi Loni and Josh V,

        I was able to view pages 2 and 3 when I open on my PC… not on my Apple.

        Thanks,
        Dimple

  • Thanks Barry for the information. Some have been asking about treated wood. I had the same concern as you about chemicals.

  • Adrian

    Wow, this is awesome. I am going to start gatherine the supplies to do this. Thanks. Quick question, is it ok if the garden is in light shade or does it have to be in direct sunlight?

    • Hi Adrian, The sunlight needed is dependent on what you plan to grow in the planter. For tomatoes, suggestion is full sunlight. If you are looking at herbs, partial sunlight is generally better.

      Just follow the recommendations from your nursery.

      The vegetable planter box supports vegetables, herbs, flowers etc. all very well.

      Happy gardening!

      Loni

  • Adrian

    Wow, this is awesome. I am going to start gatherine the supplies to do this. Thanks. Quick question, is it ok if the garden is in light shade or does it have to be in direct sunlight?

    • Hi Adrian, The sunlight needed is dependent on what you plan to grow in the planter. For tomatoes, suggestion is full sunlight. If you are looking at herbs, partial sunlight is generally better.

      Just follow the recommendations from your nursery.

      The vegetable planter box supports vegetables, herbs, flowers etc. all very well.

      Happy gardening!

      Loni

  • SusyQ

    What is the purpose of putting landscape fabric along the sides and bottom?

    • Hi Susy, Others may also chime in here but I think there are two reasons people have been putting landscape fabric:

      1. To provide an added level of protection of the wood.
      2. To minimize the soil run off from the planter box after rain or heavy watering.

      Enjoy!

      Loni

  • SusyQ

    What is the purpose of putting landscape fabric along the sides and bottom?

    • Hi Susy, Others may also chime in here but I think there are two reasons people have been putting landscape fabric:

      1. To provide an added level of protection of the wood.
      2. To minimize the soil run off from the planter box after rain or heavy watering.

      Enjoy!

      Loni

  • Marc Lissoway

    I have just spent the weekend building a vegatable garden box for my wife, it is 3 feet wide and 4 feet long and 2 feet deep. I have some concerns. First sealing the interior, to save money I use pine lumber, I used V Grove lumber but was wondering if I should use heavy plastic to line the interior, is it safe? do I need it? The box will be outside, so I’m also concerned about a heavy rain makeing it a mud box, should I make a drain in the bottom? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Marc

    • Hi Marc,

      Sounds like you have a really nice planter!

      Regarding lining the interior with plastic, I know some have lined their planter with landscape fabric. I didn’t in mine and it seems to be doing ok, but as you noted this was redwood. Pine is softer wood. You may want to read through some of the other comments people have been posting here on this subject.

      For drainage, I used a layer of lava rocks, a few inches deep at bottom. This also seems to be doing the job, keeping it well drained. The veggies appear to be happy!

      Others might have more advice here…

      Best,
      Loni

  • Hi everyone –

    A quick update to let you know I’ve posted a new video. Time to get planting if you haven’t already, at least in North America. I share tips & tricks for planting, plus fertilizers and more.

    I can’t wait to enjoy fresh tomatoes, herbs, bell peppers and more!

    http://www.starkinsider.com/2010/04/urban-vegetable-gardening-planting-tips-and-tricks.html

    Happy Gardening!

    Loni

  • Mike

    Hey Loni,

    i love your planter, this is exactly what ive been looking for. i was wondering if the planter would eventually rot from the inside and if there is a way i could prolong its life. i have an apartment with a pretty decent balcony the planter would be more of a permanent installation.

    Thanks

  • Sveinbjörg

    Hi Loni!

    I was looking for diy planter box instructions on the net, and found your page, just wanted to tell you that I love your site and your work. Thanks so much for being there and publishing your wonders!

    Love and respect, sb

  • stuart robinson

    do i line my box with enything ?

  • Cliff

    Loni,
    Thanks for sharing and spending time with the community on your project. It is probably close to working to two jobs reading/answering emails etc… While today I just made a small above ground planter box for a very narrow area it will serve that space well. I came across your blog, and like what you posted, downloaded your plan with an aspiring approval from the better half!

    Ok, Cliff get to the point…

    While thinking about building your design, I contemplate how to make the legs strong enough to add wheels and roll across the yard (if needed), for sunshine, and or just needing to move it. This I will work out later, and have a few pieces of hardware to look at Lowes/Home Depot first. Or, weld a nice strong frame.

    Ok, Cliff get to the point…

    A family member gave me an EarthBox as a gift, and I love it. Although the prices have come down since, I opted to make my own!
    Original design:
    http://www.earthbox.com/

    DIY (I made a few)
    http://www.seattleoil.com/Flyers/Earthbox.pdf

    I am thinking that I could incorporate this design into a LARGE PLANTER EARTHBOX! No need tending to watering! An aluminum grate, a few plastic supports, or brick, or something on the bottom, and a cylindrical swimming pool skimmer cups to wick the water up to the roots. Fill with water until it spills out the water level hole, and voila! Fill with water and forget it for a week or two!

    The next idea… separate from above… after reading some of the other comments on your blog, using plastic liners, wood rot etc… I wanted to come up with a drainage system so that a plastic liner could be used. No need to drip through the bottom slots all over your supplies underneath. Check out the link below, see the French Drain picture, something like this, but you can imagine the possibilities.

    http://www.allinonefoundationrepair.com/French%20Drain.htm

    Make your planter, line with plastic.
    Make PVC pipe, drill random holes, connect to a fitting mounted to the outside of the box.
    Place drilled PVC drain pipe down center of box inside plastic liner, wrap drainage pipe with landscape fabric, cover with lava rocks. Fill with soil, follow your video instructions. Thank you for the video by the way.

    Alternately, I am thinking that slopes on the bottom could be formed using sand, and a thin piece of plywood, or stiff plastic sheet (Plexiglas?). Imagine forming a slight V on the bottom with sand, use a plastic rain gutter, or make of wood to create a channel. By the way, the sand idea is used for making an outdoor pond in a wooden box. Sand is placed in the corners of and bottom perimeter to prevent the weight of the water stretching the liner and ultimately a leak. The same principal could be used in your designs for people using plastic liners.

    Then, line the box with plastic liner, put PVC drain covered with landscape fabric into channel with sloped V, cover with lava rocks (or maybe it is not needed now with drainage? Fill with soil, plant.

    For the finally… connect some type of drainage hose/pipe to the fitting leading to the outside of box. Outside drain house/pipe could be routed to another part of the yard. This will prevent drainage all over your supplies underneath. Some type of aerator to prevent pressure in the drainage hose/pipe may be needed. You see it on kitchen sinks.

    All of this is just a think tank for myself, and execution will be the test. Just thought I would share my ramblings.

    Cliff
    Long Beach, CA

    P.S. Should I have posted this on your comment section?

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Cliff – I always enjoy reading comments best on StarkSilverCreek so that its shared with the rest of our readers. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment.

    You’ve shared some great resources for those that may considering purchasing one instead of building a planter box. I built this one so that I could specify the exact dimensions.

    Some of the ideas such as wheels on the box are things other readers have successfully added to this basic planter box design. Others have painted theirs different colors or made them ground level. You can see photos and ideas from other readers here: http://www.starkinsider.com/gardening

    Also, if you and others have photos of your completed boxes, I always love seeing them. I am finally getting a good number of tomatoes off my tomato plants. The weather in the Bay Area has been cooler than usual this summer so the harvest is later than usual.

    Have a great weekend!
    Loni

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Stuart – Some have lined theirs with black landscaping fabric. May be something to consider.

  • Loni Kao Stark

    sb – Thanks!

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Marc – It is good to use rot resistant wood and also make sure your plants get plenty of water, but not too much that water pools against our planter walls. Some have used black landscaping fabric.

    In the winter you may want to consider putting a waterproof tarp around the box.

  • Cliff

    I will keep it short this time. ;-) Have you considered using styrofoam packing peanuts for the drainage aspect in your pots/planter? Just thinking of keeping the weight down on the larger planter, and large pots. I have used in several plantings, and seems to work well. I wanted to mention it for you, and your readers to consider. Keeps costs and weight down.

    Google Search:
    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS310US310&q=plant+pot+drainage+styrofoam

    Cliff
    P.S. Watched your video on fig tree planting! Added that to the list of “To Do”.

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Cliff –

    There are quite a number of gardening sites that advise if you “already” have Styrofoam packing peanuts lying around, they are a way to provide drainage in garden containers. There are no recommendations that one should go an specifically purchase Styrofoam for this purpose. Thanks for sharing the search link.

    One thing I can’t seem to find a definitive answer to is whether Styrofoam, as it decomposes, produces toxic substances which can get into your edible produce. The Wikipedia entry on the topic of Polystyrene (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystyrene) talks about release of toxic substances as the substance decomposes. I could not find anything conclusive by an authority saying one should use it in your garden.

    Just something to consider.

    Thanks for your comment on the fig tree video! I don’t think I will be getting any figs this year as the tree is too young. I will be looking forward to figs…love fresh figs. For those interested in the video, it is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY7nHJatBHo

    Loni

  • joe_the_planter

    What is the total weight of you planter box? -with Rocks and soil and optimal saturation with water?

  • Christopher Ray

    Hey Loni, this are great plans. Thanks for sharing! You referenced a materials list on the plans w/ instructions to search this site, but I can’t seem to find them. Are they on here and I’m missing it?

  • Clarkist

    I got the plans, but coul

  • Clarkist

    I got your plans, but am wondering if there is a supply list. I looked on the website, but couldn’t find them.

    • You can get the supply list by going to page 3 of this multi-page post. The list of materials can be found there.

      Good luck!

  • Jo

    Hi Loni
    Thanks for the great plans. Noticed that you stained your box on the outside, was wonerding if that is safe for the veggies, being reading lots about toxins seeping through etc.. should i be using a particular type of stain?

    Ta Jo

  • Nithya

    Hi, before I download the pdf, can you tell the approximate cost to get all the materials to build the box.