Portable Planter Box Project

Recently I put together a little project from some wood I had stored in the garage. It was an idea I had to help me with a presentation I'll be giving at a local garden show. Essentially I needed a way to demonstrate how a few plants could be planted in combination with each other. I didn't have access to a projector for the demonstration so I couldn't do a slide show. What I decided to do is to put together a portable planter box that I could stock with a few plants to bring along. It couldn't be big or it would be a problem to move around. Here's what I did to make this 24"x12.25" portable planter box! How to make a Portable Planter Box For materials: 2 6' cedar fence boards short deck screws. soil mix newspaper plants (of course!) Equipment Drill Electric Screw driver (Ryobi impact…

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How to Build a Raised Multi-Leveled Garden Planter Box

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…

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5 Situations that Call for Raised Beds

If you've followed Growing The Home Garden for any length of time you probably know that I'm a proponent of raised bed gardening.  Raised beds can be made of all sorts of materials and have all kinds of advantages for growing a garden.  Raised beds are great solution for many tricky situations in the garden. Here are a few ways that raised beds can help a garden that may have some issues! 5 Situations that Call for Raised Beds Poor soil.  Very few gardeners are lucky enough to have perfect soil for gardening.  You may have hard clay, very sandy soil, or even no soil!  Raised beds help in each of these situations by allowing the gardener to have control over the soil conditions.  The soil can be just right from the very beginning.  It can be filled with a combinations of soil, compost, and other materials to be exactly…

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Should You Use Raised Beds?

I've talked a lot about raised beds over the years here and there's no doubt that I'm a fan but are raised beds perfect for everybody?  Does everyone need a raised bed? Should you used raised beds in your garden? The answer is it isn't always necessary.  Anyone could utilize raised beds to have a great garden, but you don't have to have raised beds for an effective and productive garden.  Use this post as a checklist on whether you should use a raised bed or not. Here are some factors to help you evaluate if you should use raised beds. The Native Soil. If your soil is not an ideal soil for growing crops then you may want to use raised beds.  Soils can vary considerably from location to location and even within an acre the soils can be significantly different.  Parts of our yard are sloped with the…

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Raised Beds Aren’t Just for Vegetables

I mostly use raised beds for my vegetables but the truth is almost any plant can do great in a raised bed. Herbs, flowers, and ornamentals can all thrive in raised beds.  What makes a raised bed an awesome growing method is the soil that it uses.  You can mix the perfect soil mixture for any plant you want to grow whether it be ornamental or edible! Rosemary Herbs in a raised bed will want a well drained soil that isn't too rich.  Often herbs do much better when planted in a nutrient deficient soil so you don't have to build a rich compost-like soil for them.  For herbs a well drained mix is very important.  Soggy soil can lead to rotting and the eventual demise for some herbs.  They can handle conditions that are drier. In fact the flavor that herbs produce can be enhanced in dry conditions. When…

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5 Steps to Planning a Raised Bed Garden

I've written several times before about raised beds.  I'm a fan, a huge fan of raised beds. With a raised bed you can control the soil, control the moisture, and garden virtually anywhere.  It makes sense that raised beds are a great option for every homeowner (here's why: 8 Benefits to Gardening in Raised Beds).  The question though that new gardeners will ask themselves is how am I going to do this?  How should I plan and design my raised bed garden?  Those are important questions that we'll look at here in this post. 5 Steps to Planning a Raised Bed Garden Step 1: Pick a Great Location for Your Raised Bed Garden Decide on a good location, it's essential.  Vegetables need the proper amount of light to thrive.  Most vegetables need full sun but you can get away with part sun or grow leafy vegetables in somewhat shady locations.…

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It’s Not Just a Box

It's not just a box.  Really it isn't.  It's so much more than that.  You built it in your backyard, sideyard, or even front yard.  You filled it with soil.  You tended that box and nurtured every single tiny seed you planted in it.  That box is your garden.  That box with the untreated wood your neighbor told you would rot one day isn't just a box.  It's food for your family.  It's education for your children.  It's nature in action and it is your raised bed. After we bought our house and I built my first raised beds in the backyard I thought I should explain what I was doing to my neighbor.  I didn't want him to think I was just some crazy person who simply liked making wooden boxes. He stopped by once to ask me something so I explained that they were for my new raised…

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Raised Bed Garden Questions and Answers

Since I posted the other day on my Metal Sided Raised Bed I've received several questions about raised beds in general as well as questions about the metal raised bed itself. For today's post I'll answer those questions as many other people may be wondering the same thing - or may not have but may be curious to find out! General Raised Bed Questions 1. Is the ground supposed to be prepared first beneath the raised bed? Are you supposed to remove all the grass first and then put down your ground cover and then soil, and so on? Or do you just throw the black plastic and lumber on the ground and go for it? Ground preparation under a raised bed could be a whole topic for a post but here are some general thoughts.  You don't want grass growing up through your raised bed.  I've had that happen and Bermuda grass…

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Making a Raised Bed from Metal Roofing Materials

Recently I put together my newest raised bed.  I was inspired by some pictures I've seen lately where metal roofing materials were used for the sides.  It was a very cool look that I wanted to see if I could replicate for my garden.  I went to the store and gathered 9 2x4's, 3 steel roofing panels, and a box of deck screws.  The total material cost for this raised bed is around $100 but you could greatly diminish that if you could find old metal roofing from a barn or a shed.  The metal roofing panels were $15 each which adds up to almost half the project. I built the side frames for the raised beds first.  The 8' sides used full length 2x4s with 3 21 1/4 inch vertical pieces as supports on the sides and the middle.  The 4' sides only used 2 supports per side which made…

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Reusing Materials for a Cold Frame

Over the weekend I spent about 30 minutes piecing together a cold frame to do some hardwood cuttings.  The process for building a cold frame is very similar to building a raised bed.  I used some old pressure treated lumber that used to belong to a deck, an old storm door without the glass, and a couple 4"x4" scrap pieces to make some secure corners.  Pressure treated wood, depending on its age, may contain arsenic but newer pressure treated wood used copper based treatments to preserve it.  Since this bed is for cuttings and not vegetables there's no reason to worry about the arsenic.  (I suspect the wood I'm using was treated with the copper treatment.) I cut the wood to fit the storm door then used some 2" deck screws to secure it to the corner posts.  A flat surface is very helpful - mine wasn't!  Underneath the bed…

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