I’m always trying to utilize our growing spaces more effectively here at Happy Acres. This winter, I grew various greens in containers in the greenhouse. From October through early March, there’s a lot of available space on the benches and shelves, and I thought this would be one way to take advantage of it.
That project went quite well. I used whatever containers were available, and the added growing space helped keep us supplied in edibles during the colder months. The containers I used weren’t the best fit for the spaces available though, so I decided to custom build something. That’s when I remembered reading about salad boxes last year from a fellow blogger (his blog is now offline). I liked what I saw, and decided they would be great model for what I wanted to make.
So far I’ve made one salad box that is sized to fit on my bench in the greenhouse. The growing space is approximately two feet by two feet, giving me four square feet of growing area. I made the sides out of 2×4’s, so the box is 3-1/2″ deep. That depth is plenty deep for the shallow rooted greens I plan on growing in the box.
The bottom of the box is covered first in screen wire, then in 1/2″ mesh hardware cloth. The screen keeps the potting mix in place, and the hardware cloth helps support the weight. I had enough of these two materials on hand to build the first box, so all I had to buy was an 8 foot length of 2×4 and two metal handles.
My next project will be to build some slightly smaller boxes that will be sized to fit on my shelving in the greenhouse. I’m hoping to add about 8 square feet more of growing space with all these boxes. Since I currently have about 36 square feet of space in the greenhouse beds, that will be a significant increase.
I’ll give some of these boxes a trial run this spring and summer. One big advantage is that they are portable. When the weather gets hot, I can move them to a shaded area. Then in fall I can start putting them to use in the greenhouse.
If you would like to learn more, The University of Maryland extension service has detailed instructions about making boxes or a growing table in this document, plus information on growing media, fertilizing and a list of vegetables that are suitable for growing in these boxes.