Monthly Archives: December 2014

Building a planter for tomatoes

Building a planter for tomatoes

It’s been a while, but I wanted to post about the planter I have just built to grow tomatoes in.

I designed and built this myself and hoped to be able to save a lot of money, but be able to get fresh produce at the end of all this. The total cost of everything that I spent money on is $61.60 (AUD). Here’s a bit of a break down…

Timber – $18.57 – 3 x 3.6m lengths of 150x25mm treated pine @$6.19 each

Hardware -$0 – I already had spare decking screws

Soil and rocks – $11.37 – 2 bags of potting mix and 1 bag of compost soil additive – also some rocks and dirt from the garden

Plants – $31.66 – Heirloom Tomatoes $3.79 x 2, Mini Roma $6.17 x 2, Butter Beans $4.36 x 1, Marigolds $3.02 x 1, Nasturtiums $4.36 x 1.

Grand Total = $61.60

Having said that I did buy established seedlings which is always more expensive, but I wanted to get started straight away. A lot of money could be saved by growing from seed. I also had a lot of screws left over from a previous decking project ( so that could increase costs for others. (I used stainless steel ones with square drive heads)

Anyway to get to the details, I started with 3 lengths of 3.6 – which I cut to 1.8 lengths with a drop saw. I then cut one of the lengths up into smaller sections. This was for the sides and dividers. Each of the smaller lengths were 275mm long (the width of two boards on top of each other, minus the height of the bottom board). I also cut three equal length sections with the remaining timber to use as feet. I didn’t end up doing that, but it would be good if you needed to have better drainage.


The next thing I did was line it all up on the deck to make sure if fit together. A very important step – it’s good to find out problems before you start screwing things together.


Then I needed to drill some pilot holes for the screws holding the ends on. I used the timber I would be putting on the side as a guide, lined it up and then drilled. I also used a larger bit after the first one as a counter sink. I then found it easier to stand it up like a bench with the bottom up in the air. The three screws in each side gave it enough strength to hold it together.

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Once I was happy with the bottom and ends, I attached the two boards on the one side. These then matched up with the ends to keep it all square.

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After that the dividers needed to go in for both strength and to separate the plants. I measured the board in thirds and then drilled and screwed from the bottom first, then from the side.

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I then attached the last two boards in the same way, starting with the two ends first and then the dividers.

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Once they were done, the box was complete. I just put some drainage holes in the bottom with a hole drilling bit away from the dividers.

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It fitted perfectly in the area I wanted it – you can see the full sunlight above. 🙂

I then put some rocks in the bottom to help with drainage, and some rocky soil mixed with potting mix for a base. I later put another bag of potting mix and also organic compost in there as well. All up, I think I used about 100 litres of soil.

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Then the final result.

I planted two plants of heirloom tomatoes (big juicy ones) on the left, with mini romas on the right (they grow in clusters, almost like grapes). In the middle I put in Butter Beans for something different. All of these can be tied to the fence to help with their growth. Once they start to grow, I’ll tie them up with old pantyhose (because it’s flexible) or wire if needed. Around the front and side I planted Nasturtiums and Marigolds because they not only look nice, but help keep pests away from my tomatoes without using pesticides. The more organic the better.


It will still take a few months before I see fruit, but at least they’re in and growing. 🙂



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