A few weeks ago, we were standing around our yard looking at different things and pretending we might one day become low-key small-time farmers when my husband said we should just build a few planter boxes and be done with it.
I was surprised: Building planter boxes would take all our idle chatter to the next level of actually growing food. But I was intrigued: Could we … do that?
It turns out we can! And with little previous knowledge and skills to boot. We decided to plant three foods we really like: beets, peas, and corn. But where? Our yard has a giant hill in the front, and the dogs turn it into a mud pool in the back, so there aren’t a lot of prime gardening locations.
Plus our soil is not ideal, and we don’t own our home, so we couldn’t just rip up the yard and go for it.
After milling around some more, we chose a spot right in front of our house. It gets a lot of light and isn’t too muddy when it rains. And, to be totally honest, it’s easy to look out of our front windows and monitor the progress of anything growing. We already have two cement planters where we grow pollinator-friendly flowers each year right there, so vegetables were a likely progression. I think.
Once we decided on a spot, we hemmed and hawed for a few more days and discussed where we would get wood for the project. Obviously we could go to our nearby hardware store, but it would be expensive. We also are super into using reclaimed and salvaged materials whenever we can.
Of course, we, like many people across the country, have suddenly found ourselves spending a lot more time at home. We watched our neighbor rip up his deck one day, and my husband asked if we could have the leftover wood. He said yes, so we carried it over. Suddenly, we had our wood source problem solved — and a whole lot of extra time on our hands. And thus our DIY planters were born!
Here’s the step-by-step process, plus an update on our progress!