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Buy or build your own garden box?

Are you thinking of getting a garden box or building one yourself? Here's what it takes to make a box that will work with your Planty Garden.
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Putting my garden box together

What makes a good garden box?

The main things to keep in mind when building or buying a garden box are:
  • size - you should be able to section it off into square patches of 30x30 cm
  • depth - about 20 cm deep
  • material - non-toxic and save
  • durability - will last for several years at least
  • grid - for marking off your square patches
  • trellis - for tall or climbing plants (optional)
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Also, think about your own situation and wishes: do you have endless space for your Planty Garden or just a tiny garden in the city? Or do you want to grow vegetables on your balcony?

Let's go through it together:

The right dimensions

Most important? The size and dimensions. To make a Planty Garden, you'll divide your garden box into square patches of 30x30 cm.

The standard inner dimensions of our boxes are 120x120 cm. We also use 60x120 cm a lot too.

If you make your own garden box in another size or shape, make sure that you can easily access each square patch. Just so you can reach your plants without standing in the middle of your box 😉
Bij deze vormen moestuinbakken kan je goed bij al je planten
These garden box designs give you easy access to your plants
An adult can reach up to about 60 cm.

So, a 120x180 cm garden box is fine as long as you can get to it from all sides. But if you place it against a fence, you won't be able to. Better make it 60x180 cm instead.

A garden box must be about 20 cm deep

Since you're going to fill your garden box with our special soil mix, it doesn't need to be very deep.

Our MM-Mix gives your plants exactly what they need, so the roots don't have to go far to find what they're looking for. A garden box deeper than that is just adding material you don't really need.

Which material do you use for a garden box?

You're growing your own vegetables because you want fresh, chemical-free produce. So, use pure, safe materials.

Impregnated wood for one is not an option. The toxins used to treat the wood seep into your soil mix and are absorbed by your plants. Which you then eat 🤢

Wood

I made my first garden boxes from scaffolding left over when our house was built. Scaffolding is made from cheap pine or spruce and doesn't last very long. So I had to replace my first boxes pretty quickly.

Later on, I replaced them with boxes made of thick Douglas Fir planks.

In recent years, good-quality wood has become hard to find and therefore super expensive. Because it is scarce, trees are given less and less time to grow into sturdy trees. As a result, they are felt down earlier - especially in countries where the environment is not well cared for. So the wood you buy in the DIY store will not last long. All the while paying top dollar for it.
Makkelijke Moestuin Original moestuinbak van douglashout
Douglas Fir planks are a great option as far as wood goes

Bamboo and recycled plastic

That's 1 of the reasons we no longer sell wooden boxes but opt for ultra-sturdy materials: rock-hard durable bamboo or thick planks of recycled plastic. Both are practically indestructible.

That may seem overkill, but this makes a Planty Garden an actual investment in the future. And not a temporary project that you do just for fun and then discard pretty quickly.

The MM-Bamboos are made of thick planks of sustainably sourced bamboo, which stay beautiful for at least 20 years and then slowly break down.

The planks are rock hard and super heavy. And did you know that bamboo forests absorb much more co2 than regular forests? You can read more about that here.

The MM-Heroes last forever. They're made from equally thick planks of recycled plastic. Plastic that's difficult to recycle, and usually ends up in incinerators.
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Left: MM-Hero made from recycled plastic. Right: MM-Bamboo made from sustainably sourced planks

Other materials

You can upcycle leftover stones or sustainable wood from other projects. My mom cobbled together a garden box from extra bricks once:
De eerste moestuinbak van mijn moeder van bakstenen
My mom's first garden box
Cinder blocks, beams, concrete edging, or braided willow twigs are all fine too. Although the latter do not last that long.

Which brings me to the next point:

A strong, durable garden box lasts longer

Your garden box should last at least a few years. Nothing is more frustrating than a box full of delicious vegetables that falls apart halfway through the season. You can bet a 15 Euro store-bought garden container made from cheap materials won't last more than a year or two.

These kinds of disposable products are awkward to use. Since they break down so quickly, they're also bad for the environment. And usually for the people who made them too.
MM-Hero's: moestuinbakken van gerecycled plastic.
MM-Heroes are made from recycled plastic
It's way more satisfying to work with a solid, sustainable garden box year after year. If you buy a garden box from us, then you know for sure that you're on the right track.

We have a saying here in our part of the Netherlands: 'It costs a few cents but then you have something.' Meaning: in the long run, you're better off.

A grid to mark your vegetable patches

A big part of the Planty Gardening approach is growing in square vegetable patches. Each one is 30x30 cm. It's essential to the whole growing system:
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A grid clearly separates this purslane patch from the other patches
So, we clearly mark each patch. And we use a grid for that. It's made of white plastic strips attached to each other with Chicago screws.

The grids keep your Planty Garden tidy and organized. They rest loosely on top of the soil mix and are flexible so you can move them easily. Keeping them clean couldn't be simpler. They're indestructible too.

Wooden slats, bamboo sticks, or old blinds are less convenient but also work. I wouldn't recommend twine: it breaks down quickly and you can't see it that well.

At the end of the day, it's about keeping your vegetables clearly divided and your Planty Garden looking good.

A trellis for climbing vegetables

You only need a trellis for climbing vegetables or really tall plants. If you have room for one, go for it. Then you can grow climbing zucchini and snack cucumbers - or even pumpkins. If you've got the space for it, I'd recommend it.

Our tall-growers and climbing plants produce a lot and get really big. So they need something to hold onto.
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Our sturdy trellis - the MM-Klimrek - can withstand strong winds
Our trellis - the MM-Klimrek- is made of scaffolding pipes with a net attached. You can also make your own from pipes and netting.

Just make sure the trellis is really sturdy. If it blows over when it's full of plants, it's a major bummer. I know all about that 😉

That's why we made our trellis so strong. You can do some chin-ups on it if you want.

A vegetable garden table

A garden box with a bottom can be placed on a table. For people who can't or don't want to bend down, a garden at the height of a table is ideal.

If you just add a bottom, you can attach wheels to make it easier to move around. That's handy for terrace or rooftop Planty Garden.
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Our MM-Hero garden table has room for 8 vegetable patches
Make sure that excess water can drain away through small holes in the bottom. Put a layer of anti-weed cloth along it to prevent the soil mix from washing away through the holes.

And beware: the bottom remains constantly wet due to the moist mix. Therefore, it will not last long when it's made of wood. (That's why we use stainless steel: so the complete box lasts a long time).

What's next?

So, that's everything you need to know about the right kind of garden box for your Planty Garden.

The next step is the MM-mix, our special soil mix:

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