Arbor Day: Tree Box Garden

tomatoes in box

redwood boxes

You never know when inspiration will strike. A few weeks back I was scouring the stone fruit section of our local nursery when my epiphany came— those redwood tree boxes would easily make wonderful veggie garden beds.

Usually, you can find them for around $20 at any nursery. You probably will have to ask for them, they aren’t obviously for sale with a big “for sale” sign. If you are lucky, you may just ask to take them off their hands. If only that same approach worked at Neiman Marcus.  Also, if you are buying trees for your yard, keep those wooden boxes to reuse. (It is Arbor Day today! Any kudos for the tie in?)

garden boxes

At my house, we have this space near our not-so-elegant-but-oh-so-coveted trampoline that was not being used at all. A series of these planters and a gravel path created an unexpected veggie oasis and gave a little structure and style to the space.

If you want to add a bit of color to your garden, you could paint these guys with a non-toxic paint. I’m a fan of the natural look of redwood. As it ages, it weathers to a beautiful Flemish gray that is lovely in the garden.

It may seem obvious, but sometimes I get overly excited to get right in and start planting, so this note is for me more than anyone else: Make sure you place the boxes in their final location before you start adding soil!  These suckers are heavy to move.

redwood box garden

To plant, fill the base of the wooden box with about 3-5 inches of gravel and then fill the rest with some organic potting soil. You want your plants to have as much soil as possible for your plants to flourish and the gravel works as drainage.

For my boxes, I used a mix of plants, with about five seedlings per box. After planting, I sprinkled a bit of cottonseed meal over the top to give them a good fertilizing and a great kick-start. For Arbor Day, don’t just plant a tree, plant a tree box!

tomatoes in box

I planted tomatoes near the edge, so they can trail over the side.