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Wooden Crate Planter Boxes

My new veggie garden sits up on a small terrace just above our patio. The space right below is flat, level and gets lots of sun—the perfect spot for a small container garden. I decided that old wooden crates would be the ideal size for growing greens and their weathered look would blend in with the mossy terrace wall. I started scanning Craigslist and antique stores for crates, but all of the ones I found were $30 or more per crate, which was way more than I wanted to spend.

Then last Friday I stopped by an estate sale. I almost fainted with happiness when I stepped into the backyard and spotted, amidst a massive jumble of decrepit fishing equipment, a stack of wooden crates and a totally cool old barrel. I snagged six crates and the barrel for $35.00. Score!

The barrel formerly held biscuit flour and there is no sign that it ever contained funky chemicals or anything else. I’m going to plant it with ‘Dakota’ shelling peas, which get about two feet tall and I’m going to plant an old galvanized mop bucket that I found last fall at an estate sale with flowers.

The crates are pretty much ready to plant with lettuces, arugula, and spinach. I just need to line their bottoms so soil doesn’t sneak out through the slats.

Planting up my little container salad garden is my big project for the weekend, in between speaking engagements. On Saturday, I’ll be talking about salad gardening at Molbak’s Nursery in Woodinville, Washington at noon. And on Sunday, I’ll be talking about integrating ornamentals and edibles at Joy Creek Nursery in Scappoose, Oregon at 1:00. Hope to see you there!

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23 Responses to “Wooden Crate Planter Boxes”

  1. 1
    brittney Says:

    WOW Willie!! What a score. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to see them planted up with thriving greens. Love your blog and look forward to you book.

  2. 2
    Anne Says:

    Oh man, those are cool Willi—I love the old type! I look forward to seeing what you do with them. :)

  3. 3
    Alison Says:

    Those wooden crates are going to look cool, and even better, they will work! Love the old galvanized mop bucket too! What an excellenet score!

  4. 4
    Pam Says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing your container garden, too! You have given me some good ideas! Joy Creek is such a lovely nursery. I have ordered from them with nice results.

  5. 5
    meemsnyc Says:

    What an awesome score! I love the crates and the barrel, plants will look wonderful growing in those!

  6. 6
    Dennis Says:

    Great ideas, thank you for sharing with us!

  7. 7
    Connie Says:

    Great finds! Love your ideas about planting in them. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. 8
    laguna dirt Says:

    hi willi, just found your blog. love it! you might enjoy my blog on outdoor living ideas, especially my latest post on soil-free, low water veggie gardens!
    http://www.lagunadirt.blogspot.com.

  9. 9
    ricki Says:

    Joy Creek is right next door, but even so I can’t make it to your presentation (sob). But now that I have found your blog I will follow along, hoping to see the crate garden in high season.

  10. 10
    Leslie Says:

    I am so happy for you! And inspired. I’ve been looking for a score on planter boxes as well. After scouring Craigslist et al yet again, I almost caved and paid full price. I’m glad I didn’t! Your post proves to me that the finds are out there, I just have to keep diggin’. Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. 11
    Amy Says:

    I love your idea! I just got some old wooden crates like these at a garage sale last week. I hadn’t thought about planting in them – I was going to use them for root veggie storage in the winter. Great idea, though! I’m curious to know about how drainage will work?

  12. 12
    Jenn Says:

    So sad I missed you at Joycreek, but love the blog! What a SCORE on the crates! Sweet idea!!! I will have to keep a lookout for interesting planter boxes.

  13. 13
    Heavy Petal Says:

    TOTAL SCORE! Love these, especially that last whisky box. I have a mop-bucket planter, too! :)

  14. 14
    Janet B Says:

    Love your blog! Great ideas and what could be more perfect??? Growing, cooking and eating food.I can’t wait to keep up with your posts

  15. 15
    Eunice Says:

    Never thought of doing this. Thanks for the tip! Now, I know what I can do with these crates and containers dumped in my storage room.

  16. 16
    bianca of terri planty Says:

    these are all super rad. looking forward to seeing some growth peek out!

  17. 17
    Estelle Says:

    So jealous! I love those crates… Can’t wait to see what you do with them.

  18. 18
    Aimee Says:

    Fantastic score!!! It’s so great when things like that turn up – and such a good deal. They’re amazing just as they are – once they are filled with flowers and veggies they’re going to be incredible – hope you’ll post pictures of them in a few months.

    Love the flowers in the mop bucket idea. I’ve got a few small crates as well, although not as lovely as yours – but you’ve inspired me – lettuce would be perfect for them as they are on the shallow side, and it’s time to get some salad greens growing!

  19. 19
    Chris Alkire Says:

    Awesome crates, what a coup!Please keep us updated on how they look. Do you have experience growing potatoes in burlap sacks?

  20. 20
    Diana Says:

    These are awesome planters. Aren’t estate sales great?!

  21. 21
    Eve Says:

    What a great idea! We’ve been trying to find good containers that also look nice for our deck garden. We’d hoped to get a big wooden crate from a farm but so far no one wants to part with ‘em (guess they need them for the coming crops, after all) and had planned to use a big metal watering trough but cooled on that idea after learning that the new ones have way too much zinc to allow for healthy plant growth so you’d have to line them with plastic.

    But this seems more accessible!

  22. 22
    heidi Says:

    so jealous! I have been looking for great shipping crates like that too – great find! those are going to look great

  23. 23
    chris saleeba Says:

    Willi these are super cool! I love finding new ways to repurpose old containers. Have you thought about lining them with something like the Smartpot liners similar to the ones Fresh Digs uses for the reclaimed locker basket? This will help with preserving the wood and to increase their lifespan.

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