Wine-box Garden: An Instant Veggie Bed for Patios or Just About Anywhere

Tips on how to turn wine boxes into stylish planters for edible greens

Credit: Sharon Hanna

Wine-box garden

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.

wine box garden

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.

Lovely lettuces

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.