Growing plants in wooden box vs. plastic planters

Growing plants in simple wooden box - Photo by Daria

Choosing the right planter for Central Florida challenge 

Growing any kind of plants in Central Florida proved to be more challenging than any place else. But since gardening gives me so much pleasure I wouldn't give up, no matter what. Instead, I keep looking for better ways and plants that can deal with the wide range of temperatures, from freezing in teens during fall and winter, to steaming heat and enormous amounts of sun during the long summer. That reminds me, I should start putting together a list of plants that do good in this part of the country. The ones that do good for me, anyway.  

​I almost forgot to mention, where I live, there's no soil whatsoever. Zero, Nada! Only white sand, like on one of the famous Florida beaches. Therefore, growing anything in the ground is another story. And pretty much every time something started growing there - the neighborhood bunnies got a taste for it.  

Growing plants in simple wooden box - Photo by Daria

Image credits: Daria

So, for almost ten years now, I've been testing just about every kind, shape and size of the growing container. i have the most success with large planters (the larger the better) which aren't be black. In black containers the soil dries out even faster.

The only other moderately-sized containers that I've been successfully using for years, are EarthBox​ brand self watering boxes. I have three of them and they proved to be a great place for growing tomato and pepper plants, basil, mints, plantain. lettuce greens, a date palm grown from pit, several citrus trees grown from seeds, a rose and even a grape vine.

Especially if you have a very limited space, these sturdy boxes are probably your perfect solution.​

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Almost ten years later I discovered a simple, DIY wooden box

A while ago I got my first wooden box for growing plants. I lovingly named it my-wooden-box-garden. it took me a while to decide what exactly I want to plant in it. Four days later, however, after filling it up with soil and planting the first plants and seeds, I am totally amazed with the difference the wood makes. 

The seeds sprouted two days and a half after they were planted and I can honestly say I've never seen anything like that before in my life.

Four days after planting my seedlings keep going strong and they look like this:​

Seedlings in a wooden box

Image credits: Daria

They are still tiny, but growing strong. I feel like I can almost see them growing!

Seedlings you see (image above and below) came from the following seeds: red romaine lettuce, b​eet, celeriac and savoy cabbage.


Seedlings, four days after the seeds were planted in a wooden box. Photo by Daria

Image credits: Daria


As a comparison, the last time I planted some basil, parsley and pepper seeds into a plastic flower box (not one of those tiny ones) - it took a month before I was able to see anything green on the surface of the soil. And I do make sure my newly planted seeds have plenty of moisture and are placed in a shaded area.


Plastic box planter

Image credits: Daria


Wood versus plastic for growing containers


TRAIT

WOOD

PLASTIC

Moisture

holds the soil moist much longer

the water kind of runs through the soil while the plants seem to still be thirsty

Watering

less often

more often

Longevity

cannot yet say how long it will last but I know for sure it will not just fall apart after a season or two

after a couple of seasons most plastic planters start crumbling or even fall apart when I touch them

Design

can be painted or decorated to match the surrounding area

a lot of plastic containers look very nice and the variety offered is big enough to find a perfect fit for almost any environment

Drainage

excellent

depends on the number and size of the drainage holes



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