Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Build a Square Foot/Container Garden

Gardening is easy, I swear it is. You see, you don't have to get a rototiller and dig up and work on amending soil that used to be grass, or used to be who knows what kind of dumping ground for burned garbage (the place my parents put their garden when we moved in to town).

You can build up, and it is easy, and relatively cheap. Total cost for the box, less than $20, and they last for years.


2" x 10" x 8 Ft. boards. Pine is fine, but you want it untreated. This is for making a 4 ' x 4' or 2' x 6' box. The minimum soil depth should be 4-6", so you can get by with a 6" tall board, but I like the 10" height because it makes some extra room for mixing, they are heavy enough to not need any other staking. Also, even if you are making more than one, don't go with the longer boards. Longer warps, and makes assembly hard. Cost: $7.75 each

8 small brackets (from the decking area) These should be L brackets. They make longer ones you could use one each, but I am cheap, and it was easier to get two small per. Cost: $1.08 each

1" wood screws, a big plastic pack of them. You need at least 32, and likely at least one will be bad. Buy the big box, you'll use them. Cost: Not sure, we had a big box.

A power drill/screw driver. If you have something like my very large cordless Ryobi, make sure you knock down the torque to be right for screws instead of drilling. If you don't have a good drill, why not? Really? Even single girls in apartments need drills.

1. Get the board cut at the store. Home Depot will do one cut for free, per board I think. I've never been charged. This was my 2'x6' box.

Screw the short side of the brackets on to the boards. Since I wanted to get the most out of my 2 foot width, I did the brackets like this. For the 4' x 4' box, I did the assembly more like this. So one on each of the left sides of the boards.

After attaching all of the short sides of the brackets, I then attach the long sides of the brackets. If you're doing this like I did, you can leave the long sides on the ground. If you do a square box, I would recommend just keeping things on the ground. I sat in the middle and just did the whole thing from there.

Ever wonder why you do the short sides then the long sides, it is so you can fit your drill in to the tighter space you are doing the final assembly.

When you have attached one side, flip it up and do the other side. (again, with a square box, leave it on the ground and if you need, just get someone to brace the other side to make the screwing easier.


This is already a photo heavy post, so I'm continuing this tomorrow to talk about placement, what to fill it with, and planting strategies.


PikaPikaChick said...

I love this post! I wanted to convert the sloping part of my existing garden into a container garden area and now I'm much less intimidated!

confused homemaker said...

I couldn't agree more with how inexpensive gardening can be!! Thanks for sharing how you built your container :)

Cribsheet Kay said...

Hey perfect - thank you for the step by step guide! We have a sunny spot where a pine tree used to be (read: nothing grows there now)and I've been dying to put a container there. This looks doable!