The summer heat is coming and with the heat comes a whole new set of rules for gardening. The warm season vegetables grow great while the cool season plants bolt quickly. What if you want to keep your cool season plantings growing longer into the summer? Is there a way to do that? The answer is yes there is, move to the shade! Many cool season vegetables can still be grown in the summer as succession plantings if given enough shade. They won’t last as long as the plants grown in spring but you can still grow and harvest many delicious greens. For my purposes the front porch is a great option. It faces north and receives very little direct sunlight during the day. The light it does receive is mostly in the morning on the east side of the house. While I could have just planted everything in pots I had another idea: build a multi-level raised garden box planter! This raised plant stand makes gardening with shallow rooted plants easy and convenient. I built this garden project in one afternoon with materials provided by Lowe’s and Lowe’s Creative Ideas. Below you’ll find the materials list and instructions on how to build your own multi-level planter box. I would rate the difficulty of this project as a low-medium level and you may need a second set of hands for some of it.
How to Build a Raised Garden Box Planter
First I determined how tall I wanted the planter to be. I set the height to 4 feet tall and cut one piece from each of the deck boards. This left enough on the remainder of the deck boards to make the angled supports. I took the remaining 2 deck pieces and cut a 30 degree angle off of each one where they would be resting on the floor. Then I laid out the vertical supports on a table and placed a scrap piece of lumber at the bottom to represent the floor.
Next I took the deck board arranged it underneath the vertical piece so I could adjust the angle. Once I had it set I made a pencil outline and cut along the lines. When it was cut I did the same on the vertical board so that the to pieces would line up nicely.
Once in place I screwed in several screws to hold the pieces tightly together. While doing this make sure that you have the boards positioned so that the angled boards are on the inside so they can hold the planter boxes later.
I needed to attach the sides together so I measured and cut three pieces of cedar fence board to 36 inches. I positioned on at the top of the side pieces, one somewhere toward the middle, and one a little less than an inch from the bottom. I didn’t want the bottom brace to be flush with the floor so I used a board to hold it in place while I screwed it in.
The planters were all built with the cedar fence planks. When the sides of the stand were up I measured the inside area and cut the wood for the sides of the planters. For each box you need 4 long pieces, 2 short pieces cut to the desired width of your box (I went 5.5″ for one box and 11″ for the other), pieces cut for the bottom of each box.
Assemble the sides of each box first. I highly recommend pre-drilling all the holes or you will split the wood when you screw the sides together. Then measure the inside length of the boxes to determine the length of the bottom. I needed one board for my top smaller box and two for my larger bottom box. Dry fit then attach the bottoms to the boxes.
Then screw the boxes to the desired heights on the planter stand portion of the project. You could easily add a third level to this if you need or want it. I marked and measured both sides from the top of each angled leg to determine the placement for my planter boxes. Try to make the top box overlap the bottom box just slightly so some of the overflow water will water the bottom box.
To fill the boxes get the landscape fabric and line the bottom of each box with a double layer. This will help keep the soil inside from falling through the cracks. Put your planter stand where you want it to be before you fill with soil as it will get very heavy once you add the soil! Then fill each box with your soil. I chose an organic soil from Harvest to put in my planters. I try to always look for the organic option!
Last I planted the planters with some seeds. I sowed lettuce, parsley, basil, and also planted a few kale plants I started a few weeks ago. This planter should be usable year round for growing vegetables and is a great solution to those who need a convenient deck or patio planter system.
If you have questions about the planters construction please feel free to leave a comment! Don’t forget to follow Growing The Home Garden on Facebook.