Introduction: Milk Crate Planter Envelope

This is my first instructable that I have done. I have been inspired by many other instructables including jeremytubbs instructable "Air-Pot" Urban Container Gardening. My instructable follows his instructable in principle, but what I'm adding really is an envelope over the crate which makes it more decorative and allows the plastic crate to sit on the soil, and not the wood. This system doesn't interfere with the crates stacking features either.

The reason I created this is two fold, I have collected multiple crates from a defunct dairy and they have served me for many years as storage bins, shelves and step stools. Now that my workshop is complete with cupboards I have no need for them any longer.

The other reason is I want to take advantage of a small space in my yard which is sheltered, and gets full sun. Unfortunately this space is in front of a gate that I occasionally need to open to drive a load of firewood , soil, or whatever in. This makes an in ground planting impractical, since I would be driving over my plants.

Step 1: Here Is a Standard Milk Crate

You can purchase these at Walmart, or even Staples. Many of the ones I have, came from a defunct dairy, and from garage sales The standard outside dimensions at 13-1/8" square by 11-1/4" high. The inside dimension is 12-1/4" square, which incidentally is perfect for "Square Foot" gardening, which is an intensive way to boost the amount of produce you can make in a season.

Step 2: Cut Up Your Material

The wood that I used is untreated 1/2" 1x4 rough-cut Red cedar. I obtained them from my local Home Hardware store from their off cut bin in lengths of 18". I loaded a enough pieces to make about 14 of the planters and it cost me less than $50! The cost per planter is less than $5.

Vary the dimensions of your own project according to the size of your lumber. Basically you are creating a cover that has a bit of clearance to slip over the crate. My inside dimensions are 13-1/2" square and 10" deep. I used :

8 - 4" x 14" Sides

4 - 2" x 14" Sides

4 - 2" x 16 -1/4" Top Mitered

8 - 2" x 9" Corner Pieces

Step 3: Start Putting It Together

After cutting all the parts, I was ready to start assembly.. To make the job easier and faster, I cobbled together a simple jig out of scrap wood to assist me lining up the sides as I Staple them together.

Step 4: Making Corner Assemblies

To minimize waste I made my corner pieces 9" long (1/2 of the 18" boards ) The finished job probably would have looked better if Id made them longer, but since I am making more than a dozen of them I wanted to keep my wood use to the minimum.

Notice I am using a 2" thick scrap board to make it easier to position the corner boards while I staple.

Step 5: Assemble the Sides

Stack up the squares to form an open ended box, and staple the corner pieces to the sides. Note that only its only the corners that hold the rings together. To aid assembly and to ensure that the corner pieces are flush with the top, assemble your planter upside down.

Step 6: Add the Top Lip

Assemble the 4 - 2' x 15-1/2" mitered parts to the top edge of the planter. Because this enclosure is just a sleeve that slides over your crate, this top part not only is to conceal the top edge of the crate, it's lip also holds the whole assembly from slipping down on the crate. By having the corner pieces flush with the top, the lip is thereby reinforced. Staple in place.

Step 7: Insert Landscape Cloth

After test fitting your crate, cut your landscaping fabric to size. I found the easiest way to do this was to set the crate on the fabric and wrap it around the outside and cut off the excess.

Take your Cut to size fabric and install it to the inside of the crate, and fill with your potting mix.

Step 8: Ready to Plant

Slide your box over your crate, making sure you have left enough landscape fabric so it can fold over the outside of your crate. Plant your Flowers, or in my case your peppers. The great thing about this project is there are so many possibilities for arranging the boxes, they can be stacked 4 high. put in a stepped formation, be moved in and out of the frost, or rotated so that the other side gets sun!

I totally enjoyed doing this project and submitting my first Instructable !