Hey there! 🙂 So the weather here in Nor Cal is finally warming up after having a ton of rain this spring (not complaining – we really needed it) so I can now get out and start doing some serious gardening,
One thing I’ve always wanted to do is put all the old grape boxes I have collected and stored in our shop to good use. My hubs and I are both from grape growing families, so I’ve had no shortage of old grape boxes (again, not complaining – I know old boxes of any sort can be hard to come by). The problem with these boxes is that if you just fill them up with soil to use as planters, the wood will rot out in only a season or two because of the wet soil from watering the plants. I’ve tried lining the boxes with plastic, which protects the boxes, but there is no drainage for the plants. And no matter how carefully I water, I always end up over-watering, which results in a bunch of dead plants. I needed to come up with a way to add drainage to the planter box without it actually seeping onto any part of the box.
When Monrovia contacted me about doing a sponsored post, I was so excited because I absolutely love their plants! I’ve used Monrovia plants in my garden for years because they are always healthy, hardy, and beautiful! So when I accepted their offer, I wanted to do something really special for them. The first thing I thought about was using one of my grape boxes as a planter and get some of their flowers to plant inside it. The second thing I thought about was the planter box would look great for a few months, then the bottom would rot out and I’d have to replant the flowers or risk losing them if I tried to move the box. I figured there had to be a way to line the grape box with plastic to protect it, but have a way to drain the water away from the box so I wouldn’t rot out so quickly. That’s when I came up with this idea! 🙂
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Wood box
- Large garbage bag (the heavier the better)
- Plastic drinking straw (get the wide “smoothie style” straws for best results
- Paper coffee filter
- Plumbing tape
- Gravel (not shown in picture)
- Potting soil (not shown in picture)
- Heavy clippers (not shown in picture)
- Monrovia flowers or plants of your choice. The flowers I got are Masterpiece Candytuft (white), Dahlinova Dahlia (pink), Cartwheel Gerbera Daisy (yellow), and two Cascadias Petunias (purple).
Here’s what you do:
Cut the bottom of the coffee filter as pictured above. Save the bottom part and compost the top part for your garden.
Wrap the coffee filter piece around one end of the plastic straw and secure with the electrical tape. The coffee filter keeps the smaller dirt particles from going through the straw as the water drains out of the box. That way the water drains out “clean.” It also keeps the straw from getting clogged with dirt.
Cut a small hole in one corner of the garbage bag.
Stick the end of the plastic straw that has the coffee filter on it about an inch or so into the garbage bag through the hole you just cut. Secure the plastic straw on the outside of the garbage bag with electrical tape.
This is how the end of the plastic straw should look in the inside of the garbage bag.
Use the heavy clippers to cut a hole in the back side of the wood box next to the bottom. Make the hole big enough to stick the plastic straw through it without crimping it. If heavy clippers won’t work for you, use a small Dremel or whatever you need to use to cut a hole in the wood box.
Place the plastic bag into the wood box and stick the plastic straw through the hole you just cut, making sure the plastic does not fold over the plastic straw on the inside of the box. It should look something like the picture above. You can trim the plastic straw on the outside of the planter box if you need to.
Fill the bottom of the box with a couple of inches of the gravel, taking care to make sure the plastic straw on the inside of the box is covered with the gravel. Cover the gravel with a couple of inches of potting soil.
Arrange the Monrovia plants inside the box as you like, then fill in the box around the roots with potting soil.
Water your plants. You may not get any drainage through the plastic straw initially until the potting soil absorbs all the water. I purposely over-watered my planter box to test it, and as you can see from the picture below, it works great!
If you want extra drainage, you can add more than one plastic straw to your planter box – just follow the steps above for each plastic straw.
Enjoy your clean draining planter box for many seasons to come! 🙂
To get some beautiful Monrovia plants for your own planter box or garden, you can shop online for them or find a local garden center that carries them.
I hope you enjoyed this DIY clean draining planter box tutorial, and I hope it inspired you to go out and get some Monrovia plants to plant in one you make yourself! 🙂
ohhhhh I see a crate, flowers and an old window!!! You got my full attention!!!! LOVE THIS!!!!
Thanks so much Christine! 🙂
Okay, I’m thrilled about this!! Now I can actually use my old field crates. Thanks Michelle!
You’re very welcome Lisa! 🙂
I promise I read the blog before asking this question….which I’m sure will make me say “Duh!” when you tell me the answer. Why the coffee filter? Thanks. This is lovely!
The coffee filter is to keep the smaller dirt particles from going through the straw as the water drains out of the box. That way the water drains out “clean” and it does not get everything below it all dirty. It also keeps the straw from getting clogged with dirt.
I meant to add this info when I was writing the post, then totally forgot! I’m going to add it now! 🙂 Thanks for the heads up by asking about it!
very pretty Michelle! I’ve been thinking of doing a few similar to this for my little herb garden. Thank you for the inspiration. I came over from the scoop 😉
Thanks so much Vanessa! 🙂
Now that is pure genius girl. Maybe you’d better patent your idea. So doggoned smart to know how to do that, love it. Now if I could just come across one crate or fruit box. Maybe should call one of peach growers in Palisade, CO , see if they’ll let me have couple boxes. In my dreams.
Your flowers in box look so pretty, box gives them great air to show off. don’t know how you thought of awesome solution but bravo to you. Should be very proud of yourself.
Happy holiday weekend.
Thanks so much JaneEllen! 🙂 You have a great holiday weekend as well!
great idea, think I saw your post on hometalk as well — and I will definitely use.
Thanks so much Vickie! 🙂
Great idea! Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home.
You’re welcome Jennifer! 🙂 Thank you for hosting!
Michelle, this is a great idea!! The grape box turned planter is awesome!! I would like to invite you to link up to our party, Sweet Inspiration happening now. Hope to see you there!
Thanks so much Keri! 🙂
Cecilia MyThriftStoreAddiction says
Your planter is gorgeous and what a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!
You’re welcome Cecilia! 🙂 Thanks for hosting!
Olivia- Reinvented Collection says
This is such a clever idea! Your porch decor is beautiful with all the weathered wood and flowers.
Your blog is featured today on Thursday Favorite Things. Thank you for sharing with all us.
Hi Olivia! Thanks so much for choosing this as one of your features this week! 🙂
What a genius idea. I’ve wanted to use some of my old crates to plant flowers but didn’t want to ruin them. Now following your tutorial I can. Thanks for the inspiration.
Thanks so much Sharon! 🙂
Susie Munnerlyn says
Have you thought about sealing the outside with a clear sealer of some kind, and if so, what would you recommend? Also, what about sealing the inside with a sealer or paint? I’m trying to think of ways to further preserve the planters without compromising their natural beauty. I would like for them to last for many, many years.
Hi Susie, your best bet for a wood sealant that is also safe for your plants and garden is linseed oil. You can use straight linseed oil, or you can use one of the recipes you can find online of different oils with paraffin wax to get a better seal.