Thursday, 23 April 2015

Wine Box Planters

Check out my totally free, totally handsome, new/old planters! I got the idea from Alys Fowler's excellent 'The Thrifty Gardener' a few years ago. I don't actually have the book to reference because, thriftily enough, I checked it out from the library, but they are quite simple to make. I literally spent zero money making them, and now have nice big planters for herbs and lettuce. I happened to have all the materials on hand, but even if you didn't they would be a massive investment. They won't last forever, but then again, what does...
Here's how:

First, you'll obviously need some wine boxes. I had a few from a bar I used to work at (was a bartender once upon a time!) and we also inherited a few that were left behind in the cellar of our house - I think the previous owner was a serious wine guy. Most pubs and shops these days only have cardboard, but if you ask at wine bars and wine merchants, they might be willing to give you a few. The more upmarket places are more likely to have proper wooden boxes.
They do require a bit of prep, but it's worth it to get the most use out of them. You may need to deal with staples and nails - the ones I couldn't pull out, I just hammered in. I didn't sand them, but I did clear some of the larger splinters. Next, they need oiling. Alys recommends Danish oil, which I happened to have on hand from refinishing our kitchen sides and table recently. Another alternative is boiled linseed oil, which I think smells a lot nicer but it can take a long time to dry. It's also cheaper. Either way, make sure you deal with the rags appropriately - apparently oil rags have a propensity for self-combustion! I did 3 generous coats of Danish oil.

As they are going to be planters after all, they also need drainage holes. We decided to be generous with these. This was in between coats - I had a hard time getting oil into the holes to seal it, but I'm not terribly worried about it.

Wait until they are good and dry, then you've got a planter! Again, drainage is important in any event, but especially because you want the wood to last as long as possible, so do make sure to do a good drainage layer.

I've planted chives, sorrel, dill, mint and I've sown some lettuce seeds. Our back garden is challenging because it gets very little direct sunlight, and lots and lots of slugs, so I've layered them vertically on an etagere in the only spot that gets sun. Because it's hard to garden back there, we have all the more reason to be thrifty - it would be gutting to spend a lot only to have everything devoured by slugs overnight!

That's all! Cheap and cheerful, but I'm rather pleased with them. Thinking of making a few smaller ones!
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