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Lining & holes for planter/boxes

Discussion in 'Container Gardening' started by ewicc, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. ewicc

    ewicc Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi there,

    I have built some wooden planters for my partner, I now need to know what is the best material to use to line the wooden boxes, do I need to put some holes in the bottom to allow for drainage of water, put sand or stone/pebbles at the bottom before putting in the soil?
    Also how many and what size hole(s) do I need to put at the bottom of the boxes?
    If it makes any difference 3 boxes will be used for growing herbs and alike. The 4th one is a raised one which will be in a shady area/lower light and shady/low light plants will be planted in that one.
    Thanks in advance guys :)
     
  2. misterQ

    misterQ Super Gardener

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    Here is a self-contained pallet wood planter I built in 2015 (picture from same year).

    [​IMG]


    It is still in good condition and I have just sown this year's carrot crop into it.

    I have made a couple of other pallet wood planters and have found that the best liner to use is heavy duty landscape fabric, sometimes called weed membrane - the wooven kind that looks like tarpaulin.

    This porus fabric is made from polypropylene with added UV inhibitors. The two "safe" plastics you should only use in the garden are polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE).

    Unlined, the planters would last about three years. Whereas lined planters are lasting 5+ years.

    The next best liners are compost bags: just cut them apart and staple them into place with overlapping joins. Be sure to puncture holes in the liner base for drainage.

    The worst is light/medium weight spunbond weed membrane. The cheap versions contain no UV inhibitors (despite claiming otherwise) and will degrade within two years. The fabric will then fall to bits and get mixed in with your compost.

    When I constructed my planters, I made sure to put the thickest planks of pallet wood at the base and I also made sure that I left about 5-10mm gaps between planks for drainage. I then lined the interior, including the base, of the planters.

    If you did not do this then you will need to drill holes into the wood for drainage. Do so in a staggered pattern so that the wood will not be weakened along the grain.

    Make inserts out of small sections of hose pipe if you want to absolutely minimise water contact with the wooden base.

    If the drainage holes are small and many (like in my planter above) then no drainage layer of crocks, gravel, sand or pebbles is needed.
     
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    • beecee

      beecee Apprentice Gardener

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      I've just come across this thread. I just took delivery of a large planter. It stands on its own four feet, and has a shelf underneath for watering cans etc etc.

      It is about 130 cms x 44 x 20 cms (soil depth), and the base is slatted boards, to allow for drainage. I will be getting / making a liner. It looks like I have to make small holes in the liner, but then some water will drip on to the contents of the shelf...

      Is there any way around that?
       
    • misterQ

      misterQ Super Gardener

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      @beecee

      I am trying to visualise the planter in my mind.

      Please excuse the crude toothpick models but here are two solutions:


      (1) Lower shelf "roof" to divert drips away.
      [​IMG]


      The lower shelf roof can just be a sheet of plastic cut from a bag and reinforced with a bamboo or wire framework to hold its rectangular shape.


      (2) A drip hose in reverse (ie use for drainage)
      [​IMG]

      The drip hose in reverse solution requires that the inside of the planter be waterproof (ie lined). Then the excess water would be forced to drain through the hose and diverted down the back legs of the planter.

      The drip hose is just an ordinary hose with holes drilled into it (use a heated nail or something). Obviously, check that the water actually does drain away before adding the compost. Place crocks or a half cut small plastic bottle over the holes if you're worried that the hose will get clogged up with compost.
       
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