Making and Planting a Windowbox

Use containers to bring harvestable crops to your kitchen windowsill. If you can't find the perfect size container, build your own. It need not be expensive or time consuming and needs no special handyman skills.
Culinary Window Box Garden

Culinary Window Box Garden

Maximize your growing space by planting herbs in window boxes and other containers.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Maximize your growing space by planting herbs in window boxes and other containers.

Tip for Success

If you think the wood might split, drill holes using a bit one size smaller than the screw. Partially screw in a number of screws, accurately align, and then screw home in quick succession.

Avoid Splitting Wood

Avoid Splitting Wood

To avoid splitting wood when drilling, make a starter hole with a bit slightly small than the screw you plan to use. This will prepare the wood to receive the larger screw and prevent wood from splitting.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 1

Choose a piece of board that is long enough for cutting into two sides, two ends, and a base. Here we used board 6 inches wide x 1 inch deep. Mark out the two sides, two ends, and the base.

Measuring and Marking Wood Board With Tape Measure and Pencil

Measuring and Marking Wood Board With Tape Measure and Pencil

Before cutting wood for use in window box project, measure twice and be sure you're giving yourself enough wood for the sides and base of finishing window box.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 2

Double check your measurements — the ends must be the timber width squared (here, 6 x 6 inches) and the base 2 inches shorter than the sides. To create a neat cut, support both ends of the timber when sawing.

Sawing Wood

Sawing Wood

Always measure twice before cutting. Support both ends of the wood when sawing to make a clean cut.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 3

Using 2-inch self-tapping screws, attach one side piece to an end (two screws should be sufficient), taking care not to mix up the sides and base. If using an electric drill, be careful not to use too high a torque or speed.

Fastening the Window Box Sides

Fastening the Window Box Sides

A self-tapping screw will allow you to fasten the sides of your window box easily. When using a drill be mindful not to have the settings on a too high of a speed to prevent wood from splitting.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 4

To ensure the base is the right length, place the box on its side and position the base section on the edge of the side piece. There should be 1 inch of side showing at the other end. If not, mark with a pencil, cut to fit and realign.

Step 4: Attach Window Box Pieces Together

Step 4: Attach Window Box Pieces Together

To ensure the base is the right length, place the box on its side and position the base section on the edge of the side piece. There should be 1 inch of side showing at the other end. If not, mark with a pencil, cut to fit and realign.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 5

Fasten the first side to the other end piece, again with two screws. Turn over, side-face down (as shown here), and attach the remaining side to each end—you may need to gently move the ends so that they line up precisely.

Screwing in Screws With Power Tool

Screwing in Screws With Power Tool

Fasten the first side to the adjoining end piece with two screws and turn over, face down before attaching the other side to each end. Gently adjust the ends to that they're precisely lined up.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 6

Insert the base section into the almost completed planter. Some jiggling may be needed, but if it does not fit, adjust the base as in Step 4. Carefully drill and fix the sides to the base with screws at 6- to 8-inch spacing.

Attach Base to Windowbox Planter

Attach Base to Windowbox Planter

To attach the base of a window box planter, drill holes in the lumber before attaching the base to the window box.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 7

Cut two battens to size to fit your box. These will not be visible, but do need to be about 1/2 inch thick. Invert the box and attach with screws or nails, taking care that they do not protrude into the inside of the windowbox.

Attach Battens to Windowbox for Support

Attach Battens to Windowbox for Support

Cut two battens to size to fit your box. These will not be visible, but do need to be about 1/2 inch thick. Invert the box and attach with screws or nails, taking care that they do not protrude into the inside of the windowbox.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 8

Good drainage is essential for healthy herbs. With the box still inverted, drill a 1/2-inch hole in the base every 4 inches or so, making sure that you don’t drill into your work surface.

Drilling Holes in Wood

Drilling Holes in Wood

Drainage holes are essential for healthy herbs planted in a window box or container.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 9

Check that you have sufficient copper anti-slug tape to go all the way around your planter along with a 3/4-inch overlap. Peel off the adhesive backing in stages and fix to the lower part of the box by gently pressing the tape.

Step 9

Step 9

Check that you have sufficient copper anti-slug tape to go all the way around your planter along with a 3/4-inch overlap. Peel off the adhesive backing in stages and fix to the lower part of the box by gently pressing the tape.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 10

For a more permanent slug barrier, nail the tape to the box using 1/2-inch roofing nails at 2 to 4 inch intervals making sure that the tape join is securely nailed. This is fiddly so watch your fingers.

Secure the Copper Tape Slug Barrier

Secure the Copper Tape Slug Barrier

Secure the copper tape to the window box with roofing nails to prevent slugs from invading your garden container.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 11

Fill your planter with a top-quality compost and plant with a range of well-spaced young herbs. Fill gaps with salad leaves like lettuce or chard, taking care to ensure that no foliage creates a bridge over the copper barrier for slugs.

Kitchen Garden Window Box With Lettuces

Kitchen Garden Window Box With Lettuces

Use nutrient-rich soil in window box when planting herbs and vegetables for daily use.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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