If having a full-size regular garden is out of the question, there are ways you can still plant your favorite veggies in a small garden. One great option is to grow it in a vegetable garden box, sometimes referred to as a raised garden box or raised garden bed.
How to make a vegetable garden box is what this guide is all about as you might have seen from the heading. One takeaway from this guide is that you don’t have to spend a ton of cash to make one.
Before going to work though, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of undertaking this project.
Why Build a Vegetable Garden Box
1. Apartment complex residents without access to a backyard, these boxes offer a pathway for growing vegetables. You can build or install them on your passage.
2. Raised garden boxes are easier to maintain. Being elevated, they require less kneeling or bending to water or weed the plants. In some cases, the boxes come legs effectively raising them to a level that precludes bending down to tend the plants. One can do the weeding, pruning, watering, etc. while standing.
3. They offer an excellent alternative for growing vegetables in sites with poor soil or terrain such as slopes or hillsides.
On hillsides, for instance, the difficulty of adjusting soil depth to match the hill’s slope is mitigated or almost entirely eliminated when the boxes are mounted on elevated legs.
4. With boxes, there is room for customization of your vegetable garden. You can make them as functional and as beautiful as you want. It all depends on what you desire.
5. It is less stressful than digging up a patch of soil on the ground. And in the long run, it is cost-effective.
Things to consider before Making a Vegetable Garden Box
1. You have to decide the kind of garden box you want. The most popular ones are made of wood. You could also use bricks and recycled metal boxes to construct one. Your choice would depend on allocated budget and what material, between plastic or wood, is available and you are comfortable working with.
2. Your budget is very important in determining how the final project turns out. So make sure you have enough cash to get all the supplies and tools needed before starting out.
3. The size of your garden or the space to install the box is another vital variable to consider. Obviously, if you have a small space, you can only make one that can fit into it. Space also determines how many boxes you can make.
4. You must also decide if you want to keep it flush on the ground or on raised legs. Wooden boxes supported by legs would require more materials to account for the bottom panel required to hold the soil in place.
So these are some of the things you have to think about before starting out.
How To Make A Vegetable Garden Box: 3 Types
This guide would focus more on how to make a wooden vegetable garden box that is placed flush on the ground. The later sections would look briefly at garden boxes made from old metal boxes and bricks.
- 4×4 pieces of wood to act as corner posts. 6 would be okay.
- 2×4 wood panels for the side walls. You need 4 them with two sides having equal lengths. For a square box, the lengths of all 4 panels would be the same.
- Nails or screws
- ½ inch hardware/barrier cloth
- Weed cloth
- Hammer or screw drills
1. Dig 4 holes on the garden floor for the four 4×4 corner posts. You can also decide to just place the posts on the ground without digging holes. It all depends on your preference. If you thinking of moving the box around from time to time, it’s advisable to forget about digging holes for the corner posts.
Ensure the four corner posts are arranged to match the dimensions of the 2×4 wood panels that make up the sides of the box.
2. Now, start nailing or screwing the 2×4 wood panels to the posts using a hammer or a drilling screw respectively. You should end up with a rectangular or square box depending on your measurements.
3. Use your hardware cloth to line the sides and bottom of your box. Nail or screw the cloth to the sides of the box.
The hardware cloth lining is important. It acts as a barrier to help keep out varmint and pests.
4. Next up, place your weed cloth on the hardware cloth lining the box. Staple or nail the weed cloth to the lining.
The weed cloth provides an extra layer of protection against pests. More importantly, it prevents weeds from growing into the box from below.
5. You can now add your preferred soil. Soil is usually sold in cubic feet.
Some can be ordered from a Home Depot store close to you. You can even place your order online and have it delivered to your address.
Fill your box with the soil. Intermittently stamp on it to pack it down firmly. Fill the box until it is about 2 inches from the top.
6. Your box is ready. Go ahead and plant your vegetables and have fun watching your garden thrive.
Using Brick Boxes
As stated earlier, you can also use bricks to make a vegetable garden box. With bricks, you have to buy enough garden bricks to build the size you want.
Before building the box, make sure the ground where you want to place it is level. Then, you lay out the bricks according to your dimensions. the structure could either be a square or rectangle.
Building the structure is simply about creating layers of bricks until you hit the desired height. The brick must fit snugly together for a solid structure.
After the square or rectangular structure is completed, simply line the inside with a thick weed liner to cover the whole box. The edge of the liner should come over the top of the brick garden box. Proceed to add your soil as described above remembering to stop about 2″ from the top.
Metal Vegetable Garden Box
If you have an old metal box in storage, you could easily recycle it into a garden box for your vegetables. Even a discarded filing cabinet would be awesome.
Before you start converting it, ensure the box has a solid bottom or back panel and it is generally still in a good shape.
If you are using a filing cabinet, you need to remove all the drawers from the cabinet first. Also, remove the drawer tracks if you can manage it.
Use sandpaper to remove paint and other unwanted stuff inside the box. Then tip the metal box so the back panel (in the case of a file cabinet) or bottom now becomes the base of your garden box.
If you have a spray paint that can stick to smooth surfaces, you can use it to make your look better. This is optional though.
To prevent damage to the metal box, a lining material such as a weed liner should be used to line the box.
Since this is a metal box, some sort of drainage system for excess water is needed. Drilling holes on the bottom of the box is the easiest method. Another option, if you can’t drill holes is to build the drainage system at the bottom of the box using several inches of filler material.
You could start with a layer of river rock as the base material, followed by 3-inch layers of gravel and sand respectively. That is three layers comprising river rock, gravel, and sand.
Finally, fill it with your soil making sure to leave it about 2″ short of the top. Your recycled metal garden box is good to go.
Some Points to note
1. Where you place the box is crucial. Select a location where your plants can get between 5 to eight hours of sunlight daily.
2. The soil in a raised box dries out more quickly and invariably gets warmer faster. So you have to bear in mind that your plants would require more frequent watering. This is even more critical in hot, dry weather conditions.
3. For wood and brick boxes placed on the ground, lining the bottom and sides with ½ square mesh is a good alternative to the hardware and weed cloths used above. The mesh would keep pests and vermins away from your plant.
To kill the grass underneath, place cardboard or old newspapers on the ground installing the mesh.
4. To approximate how much soil or compost you’ll need for your box, simply follow this simple calculation:
Calculate the total area of the box in square foot. For instance, a 6 feet long by 3 feet wide box is 18 square feet (Length x Width).
Then multiply the height of the box by the area or square feet above. For instance, if the box is 1 foot deep from the bottom to the top of the box, multiple 1 by 18. That gives you 18 cubic feet of soil to fill it to the top.
With this simple calculation, you’d have less chance of buying too much or too little soil for the box.
Vegetable garden boxes are an easy way to grow vegetables even if you don’t have enough space or the available soil is not good enough. This is an easy, and fun project that can be customized in a variety of ways.
The size of your box is largely dependent on the available space. You could choose to make multiple boxes if space can contain them and you don’t mind the amount of work you’ll have to put to nurture your plant.
But you’ll have to leave a few yards of space between the boxes to ensure you don’t have a hard time reaching each box for weeding, watering, and other daily garden chores.
Finally, it doesn’t cost much to make one. The wood to be used is the biggest budget variable. Obviously, you want a sturdy wood that’d stand up to the test of time. You could ask the hardware store to recommend the best wood that matches your budget.