Monday, 3 February 2014

How to make a mini-watersaver garden from an old wooden crate.

You may have read the recent posts here and here about growing vegetables in Styrofoam boxes as I was seeking advice as to whether it was safe to do so. We have decided against it and, of course, it is up to each individual to make up their own mind after researching the subject. So yesterday I had a go at making a mini-watersaver garden out of an old wooden crate based on the steps we followed when installing our large watersaver garden last year.


Now I am just a newbie gardener and not an expert so this is a bit of an experiment but we set up the Styrofoam self watering box this way and it was working well before we dismantled it so thought we would see if we had the same success with a wooden box.

 If you use a wooden box or pallet first check that it has the HT (Heat Treated) stamp on it and not DBMB which is chemically treated. I mentioned this when writing about pallets here. I wanted to make this myself but it is easier and quicker with two people especially when putting the plastic in.

Firstly the ground was levelled and then the corrugated base (Corflute) was inserted into the box on top of the soil followed by builder's plastic to hold the water. We had two hard plastic pieces of hose elbowed together (I think that is the right term) that had been used in the Styrofoam box so these were put at one end and a second one was put in the other end as it was a spare.
These were topped with a little gravel and cypress chips.
The weed mat had worked well in the Styrofoam box so we used that again to cover the cypress chips and to separate the chips from the soil.

 At this stage my hubby had to take over with the heavy work and he mixed up some potting mix and composted soil and added about 21 cm (8 1/2 inches) which is the same height as our watersaver garden. The soil is a little higher than the top of the box but it will settle and then I will trim off the plastic. All that was left to do then was to fill up the reservoir beneath the soil ....

 ....until it started to run out through the slits which had been made in the plastic. Three slits needed to be made level with the cypress chips but we forgot so my husband cut three rough slits with scissors while I was inside trying to find the box cutters so we could make nice neat slits. :-) No matter, the result is the same whether they are rough or neat.
It will look better when the plastic is trimmed and hopefully will work well. I will be planting seedlings into it in a few days and will also cover the top of the hose with some netting to stop the mozzies from getting into it.
We will be making more of these in the future. There is an old tank down the back which needs to be cut in half so that two gardens can be made out of that. Anything to save water! Water rates are very expensive in this neck of the woods.
Have you had a go at making one of these gardens? I'd love to know how you set yours up if you have and how often do you have to add water? We haven't added water to our large watersaver garden since we put it in last September!


  1. So, what are you planting in this one Chel? Hopefully this better weather continues and we can get back to gardening properly.

    1. Nice cool weather here, Barb. I have some lettuce seedlings ready to plant in the new garden. They will go in tomorrow when we are allowed to water.

  2. I have a couple of old fridges and was wondering if I could make one out of them? Guess I would just need a hole cut into the side for drainage, but not sure if that would be enough? What do you and the gardening CEO suggest Nanna Chel? :)

    1. Tania, the boss says it should work. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Maybe I can use up some more rubbish he has lying around here. :-)

  3. That looks promising. Good luck with your lettuce seedlings. I'm guessing it's not too hot to transplant them? We finally had some rain; hope you got some too down there.

  4. Our weather is back to normal now, Damaria. We just a few periods of extreme heat during summer but otherwise it has been fairly mild unlike down in our southern states where the heat has been prolonged. Our state is now well and truly in cyclone season up north and there have been three cyclones in a week and they often bring rain.


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