Wine-box Garden: An Instant Veggie Bed for Patios or Just About Anywhere
Image by Sharon Hanna
Large-leafed Genovese basil looks pretty nice in this port box.
Use old wine boxes to house your vegetables
This lively mix gave several cuttings. The spotted lettuce is 'Forellenschluss' , which means "speckled like a trout's back."
There's no need to drill holes or do anything fancy, as the wood drains easily between the seams of the box.
I put mostly good rich soil in the bottom, and add half an inch or so of seed-starter mix to the top, then sow thinly, sprinkling with a little more seed-starter mix.
Germination is usually in a week or so. All of these got started in an unheated greenhouse but are now growing outdoors quite happily.
A caveat: sometimes birds like to nibble on tiny seedlings, so you might have to keep your eye on your wine boxes; also the occasional bird (or squirrel) has been known to dig a little in the box.
Sown about three weeks ago, this is a mixture from Cook's Garden seeds, evidently containing such lovely lettuces as ‘Hyper Red Rumple Waved’, ‘Orcarde’, ‘Redina’, ‘Red Velvet’ and ‘Ashley’, none of which I have previously heard of.
The seed was planted atop four inches or so of good soil, then a layer of seed-starter mix from West Creek Farms.
It has been amended with kelp meal, worm castings and all kinds of other good stuff; so far this hasn't had any additional fertilizer. After cutting, though, it's a good idea to give your lettuce box a feed with diluted organic kelp or fish emulsion.
Seek out free wine boxes
How do you get the wine boxes, you ask? I am lucky to have worked for a wine store a few years back so I was able to score this box, as well as a few bottles of the much-esteemed wine, none of which have been opened yet. We shall see.
In any case, private wine stores are a good place to ask for the boxes - for free, or for a few dollars.
Often they are slightly damaged so they'd just be thrown away....do ask when you go into a private wine store in your neighbourhood.
Not sure about LDB stores, but it wouldn't hurt to see what they do with any boxes they might get - usually they'd only get very expensive wine in a wooden box.