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DIY: Planting Your Garden Box

Did you read my post on building a redwood planter box? If so, you're already halfway done. You still need to anchor the box, level it, fill it with soil, and plant it. Read on for my list of suggestions on how to do it.

  • Move your box to the area you want to permanently place it. Since the area in my yard was on a slight incline, I had to dig the box in further on one side than on the other. In any case, you're going to want to dig a perimeter trench for the box, and then place it in the trench.
  • Use a level to make sure that your box is sitting evenly.
  • You can stand on the four corners and jump up and down a bit to make sure it's anchored well, too.
  • Now, break the soil that you dug out of the trenches and use it to stuff into the sides of the box to fill in any holes.
  • Then, use a pitchfork or shovel to dig up and turn over the grass and soil inside the box.
  • For the rest of the directions, just


  • Spread a layer of black and white (not colored) newspaper over the clods of dirt. This will suppress weed growth, and the newspaper will naturally decompose and enrich the soil.
  • If you have any compost that's pretty thoroughly decomposed, use it to cover the newspaper.

  • Next, cover the newspaper and compost with gardening soil. We hauled in four bags of Local Hero blend soil from American Soil in Richmond, which specializes in different soil mixtures for gardening and landscaping. If you're not sure how much soil you'll need, here's an easy way to estimate.

  • Smooth and level the soil.

  • Now you're ready to plant! I used a mixture of seeds and seedlings, and planted everything from a row of carrots to a a row of zinnias. I planted trellising plants, such as squashes and cucumbers, against the edge of the box. This way I can anchor a trellis outside of the box, which will give me more room for growing plants.

  • Enjoy!
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