Monday, March 8, 2010

A Bit of Dirt: Balcony Planter Boxes on the Cheap

It's not quite spring here in Carmichael, California but it's beginning to feel like it. So far there has been three days warm enough for me to wear shorts. And by "warm enough" I mean temperatures almost in the 60s. A few sunny days is enough to kill my winter blues and make me instead stress about gardening.

This weekend I made a planter box for our sometimes sunny balcony. The balcony doesn't get enough sun to grow things like tomatoes but I think somewhat shade tolerant veggies should do okay.

I have some peas that I mistakenly thought would be a good idea for start here and transplant to the plot, so I have two of them already in the planter box as an experiment to see if I can get them to grow. It's probably a fool-worthy endeavor. Mostly the boxes will be use for spinach, arugula and lettuce.

The box was simple to make, and we'll see how it holds up over time. All in all it was about $20 for the two of them, one medium and one large. I used a simpson bracket, screws and bolts and the plastic planter box.

A Rough How To

Materials needed:
Plastic planter box
2 Simpson brackets (shaped like a squared-off U) for each box
Nuts + Bolts to fit bracket, not too long. 4 for each box, but this may vary if you get a different bracket
Pencil or Pen

Use the holes in the bracket to mark where on the box you want the screw holes. Use a utility knife to cut holes. It doesn't have to be perfect. Insert the screws from inside the planter box. When you are digging in it later you don't want to have a surprise injury from a screw that you forgot was in there! Tighten bolts, Hang on your balcony railing. Make you your box has drainage, and a few rocks covering any drainage hole so you don't lose dirt with the water.

I apologize if I didn't use enough building terminology. It's only because I have no idea what I'm talking about.