While the concept of creating a planter out of a crate is nothing new, it can be tough to find a comprehensive tutorial that addresses the waterproofing aspect. After a few failed attempts (Danish Oil did not work for me) this planter has stood the test of time and inclement weather.
While you can grow whatever is seasonally appropriate and best suited to your conditions, I chose to grow mint in part because the root system doesn't require a deep container to be stable (other plants have been easily uprooted by the wind on my deck), and because it will quickly spread to fill its container.
• To start I drilled holes in the crate, spaced about 1" apart, to allow for drainage, with a standard drill bit.
• Once the holes were drilled, I waterproofed the crate by spraying it with an even coat of Thompson's Waterseal $6, making sure to coat both the inside and outside. I allowed it to dry then repeated the process, after the final coat I left it to dry overnight.
• After the crate was dry I laid down one even layer of river rock to assist in drainage, proper drainage will help prevent root rot as well as keep your container from becoming waterlogged. I then filled the container to about 1.5" from the top with potting soil.
• I chose to use Bonnie plants which come with biodegradable pots that make repotting easy and are environmentally friendly. You soak the plants and pots in water then plant them as usual without removing the pot.
Three months later my crate is still going strong! The clear coat allows for some natural graying of the wood, which gives it a nice patina, but the box is sturdy as ever and the mint is thriving.
Images: Kim Lucian