Create your own food box in six easy steps

Gone are the days of massive yards with big open spaces for food gardening.  Enter the age of duplexes and town houses. Despite growing space being limited, you can still enjoy the rewards of growing your own food. One way of getting around the space problem is by planting your edibles in containers and hanging baskets.  Lately, wooden boxes have become very popular and they definitely add a bit of old school charm to your food gardening.  Some of the advantages of planting up your edibles are:

  • You can actually lift the boxes and put them on a raised surface, making life easier by not having to bend down constantly.
  • A year round sunny spot can be difficult to attain in walled up areas. Planting your edibles in boxes allows you to move them around as the amount and angles of sunlight changes.
  • Lifting them off the ground will lessen the chance of your edibles being attacked by pests and diseases.
  • You are able to make unique food boxes to cater for specific food styles and dishes.
  • Food boxes make great gifts – enabling you to cater for that special someone’s taste. This can be a great gift idea for this coming festive season.

Think of planting your food box in the same way that you would go about following a recipe for a certain dish.  You are able to swop certain ingredients and experiment with your personal taste in mind.  Always try to use edibles that you know you will regularly use in cooking.  Let’s have a look at the ingredients that I have used in planting my food box.

A lovely selection of ingredients for our food box.

  • Wooden box/planter
  • Potting mix
  • Small trellis
  • Macadamia nutshells
  • Heirloom tomato
  • Lemon thyme
  • Coriander
  • Moss curled parsley
  • Golden creeping oregano
  • Sweet basil
  • Purple basil
  • Chives
  • Marigolds

Only prep you need is to line out the box with weedguard.

STEP 1: PREPARE YOUR FOOD BOX

  • Ensure that your food box has adequate drainage; otherwise drill some holes underneath for extra drainage.
  • Line your box to just below the rim with weed guard – a water permeable fabric that allows the water to drain but prevents the soil from washing away – and staple to the box.

Placing your edibles before planting helps with spacing.

STEP 2: PRE PLANTING

  • Before you start planting, fill the box with a layer of soil that will accommodate the plant with the deepest root system.
  • Arrange your edibles in the box to see if the spacing and combinations will work out.

Plant your trailing edibles such as thyme on the sides of your food box.

STEP 3: START PLANTING

  • Start planting from the bottom up, starting with the biggest plants and finishing the smallest.
  • If the plants are very root bound, loosen the roots by teasing them slightly.
  • Fill up with soil and give the box a light shake to help the soil settle.

Mulching your food box will help save water as well as adding aesthetic appeal.

STEP 4: FINISHING TOUCHES

  • Add some mulch on top to help you save water and give your box a lovely decorative touch.
  • For the tomato, I have added a trellis for extra support.
  • If some of your leafy edibles are a bit big you can give them a haircut and have your first instant harvest. The more you cut back leafy veggies and herbs, the more new growth they will produce.

You will be surprised at the amount of food you will harvest from one box.

STEP 5: WATER

  • Lastly give your box a thorough watering.
  • Only water your box as soon as it has dried out completely.
  • I prefer digging into the soil with a finger or two to feel if it is still moist to determine whether watering is required.

There you have your own food box in only five simple steps.  As I said earlier, play around and be creative. It is time to think outside of the box and maximise the space at your disposal.   Another idea is to involve the whole family, by having each member contribute their favourite edible. In addition, for the teachers out there –this could make a great classroom project. Growing your own healthy and delicious food has never been this easy or this much fun.