I tend to use a lot of "boxes" in my plantings around the house. I pick them up wherever I can find them cheap - usually auctions or in the trash.
Old wooden boxes work perfectly for years until them start to disintegrate.
You might remember a peek at one of my planter boxes in my front porch post:
You might remember seeing a few of these boxes in my Herbary Post:
These boxes don't start off by being planted the first year though. They start by being full to bursting with kitchen trash. Typically the bottoms are either rotted out, or I take them out so that the worms can come up into the box and turn banana peels, apple cores and fall leaves into rich potting soil. Once the boxes have sat for 1-2 seasons composting, I will plant them out. These boxes are typically where I start seeds because it is so much easier to monitor weeds compared to the large in-ground garden.
How to Start a Compost Box
The concept is simple, but here are a few step-by-step tips to get you started!
1. Find a box! Old wooden boxes are best and can be found for a song.
2. Remove the bottom of the box so that the compost makes contact with soil.
3. Add a layer of leaves or garden cuttings and then start adding kitchen waste.
4. Anything that goes in your compost pile works here. No dairy, fats or meat.
5. Layer generous layers of dry leaves with kitchen scraps to keep animals away.
6. Finish box with a big mound of fall leaves and let it sit all winter.
7. In spring, direct seed into the leaf litter or add a small layer of seed starter.
8. Plants will grow roots down into the finished compost and into the soil below.
9. Boxes will last for years until they fall apart. Once they do, remove the box
and continue planting in that beautiful rich soil you have built!
Often, surprises show up in these boxes, as they are a cold composting system.
You can see a surprise acorn squash above and tomato below.
While you are cleaning up the yard this fall, keep your eyes peeled for an old, ugly box.
It might be the perfect thing to jumpstart your garden next year!