Build it and they will grow

DIY Project: Vegetable Planter Box (plans, photos)

This planter box, which makes for a perfect weekend project, is not only easy to build, but more importantly, provides several key benefits to would-be green thumbs.

04.27.2012 | View Comments

Dreaming of fresh Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Herbs, Squash…? It must be spring. Time to garden!

This sturdy planter box only takes hours to build, but provides a lifetime of veggie love.

Some of our most popular posts over the last 3-4 years here on Stark Insider have been about Loni’s DIY vegetable planter box. Loni wrote about her motivation:

“Several years ago, I had a desire to grow my own vegetables in my backyard. I didn’t have a lot of room and the only area of my home that had not been landscaped was a narrow corridor along the side of the house. I figured it would be enough for a 6′x 2′ planter box. Unfortunately, when I went searching for such an item online and in the stores, I couldn’t find anything which suited all my requirements. This was when I decided to design and build my own vegetable planter box.”

There’s probably several reasons. One is the farm-to-table movement, which now finds itself moving to the home (yard-to-table). Another is that healthy living is on the uptick, and by surrounding your home, and kitchen with fresh ingredients you’ll no doubt take a step in the right direction when it comes to nutrition.

Then there’s the pragmatic aspect.

This planter box, which makes for a perfect weekend project, is not only easy to build, but more importantly, provides several key benefits to would-be green thumbs. Measuring approximately 6 ft. by 2 ft., this is a planter that fits in tight spaces. As many have written in to tell us, the legs raise the work space to the waist which eases back pain, and makes working the garden a joy. And it’s as solid and durable as can be, as you can likely tell from these photos.

If you find yourself with a few hours on your hands and have an inkling to grow your own, here’s some planning tips:

  • Find a suitable space in your yard that receives ample sunlight
  • Make sure you can access that location with water – preferably with automated micro-irrigation running to hose outlet
  • Create a simple diagram with plant location – you don’t want it too crowded, Loni has ideas on this

So far, so good. Then, it’s time to shift into the build process:

Alex M. of Lemoyne, PA used Loni's plans to build this terrific planter. Many have used these plans to build gardens for schools or local community organizations, which then use the vegetables to serve healthy fare at lunch (I really, really like this idea-although it could take a small army of boxes to feed a large school). Others have written in to tell us they’ve built one for a seniors home; the legs help keep the box at waist height resulting in less strain on the back and legs.

You can customize the dimensions too. This is a narrow version created by Dan who emailed us some hilarious project photos. These are the plants that he filled the planter boxes with just after he completed building them. By now, they should be overflowing with large plants. Mine this year is filled with "bionic" tomato plants. Last season was not a great year for tomato plants. This year seems like the total opposite. I do love the special touch of the lights he put in. In the evening when the boxes are filled with lush plants the lights will add nice visual interest and create interesting shadows.

The final step, weeks later of course, is to enjoy the fruits (uh, veggies!) of your labor, and treat yourself, your friends and family, to fresh dishes. Here’s some recipes to get you started:

The reward!

As usual, when you’re done the project, send in your photos so we can share your story here. Happy gardening from Team Stark!

"It also makes for a comfortable lounger!" - Loni

Episode #4 Vegetable Gardening – Planting Tips with Loni Stark

[How to build a vegetable planter box with DIY plans, materials list]

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