The Quest for the Perfect Planting Bed

Well, I wanted to start some seeds today, but upon consulting with my Old Farmer’s Almanac, it seems wise to wait another two weeks. Our frost-free date here in Chicago is around April 20th, but this spring is forecasted to be on the cool side. My tomatoes, onions and strawberries should all be started about eight weeks before the frost-free date, and I usually push it by starting them an additional two to three weeks early. But since tomatoes don’t like cold weather, I’m going to do it by the book this year. I want to make sure I can harden them off properly before getting them transplanted in beds.

Which leads me to my next dilemma. The planting beds. I mentioned in a previous post that I had my eye on the Gardener’s Supply Company Self Watering Planting Bed, which is nine square feet of planting space – at $170.00. With the next generation of Apartment Farmer on the way, it doesn’t seem prudent to drop that much cash on the garden. So I decided we could easily build our own with lumber – until I checked out the prices of cedar. $32.00 a board!? Not likely!

I was starting to feel discouraged. I don’t want a row of ugly five gallon buckets or mismatched random containers. I was sitting on the couch, staring aimlessly at the wooden trunks across the room…  the wooden trunks! We picked them up at Ikea years ago. We have two of them, one stacked on top of the other. They were unfinished pine when we picked them up and husband stained them a beautiful honey color. We store our board games in them. Now I’m not about to haul these lovely trunks out to the garden, but does Ikea still sell them?

As it turns out, they sell some trunks that are remarkably similar –

Ours don’t have the white panels, but it’s basically the same trunk. It’s a little over two feet long by a little over one foot wide, and a little over a foot deep. And they’re only $15.00 a piece. So for $60.00, I can purchase four. $60.00 wouldn’t even get me one bed building it myself. The dimensions will work as a planter, so I figure I can drill some drainage holes in the bottom and line them with landscaping fabric to aid in drainage (so the soil won’t clog the drainage holes) and extend the life of the container.

I plan to grow four tomatoes, two cucumbers, two zucchinis, and a pumpkin in these. Now I just have to get out to Ikea in the next month and stock up on them! The garden plan is coming together…

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3 thoughts on “The Quest for the Perfect Planting Bed

  1. Another cool idea from the Apartment Farm! I’d like to try something like this for my little deck garden. I checked out the IKEA website (which as usual, I had trouble navigating). Do you know the specific name of this product? I tried checking under toy boxes, toy chests, shoe storage, but nothing like this showed up. Any advice?

    • It’s called the APA Storage Box. Price is $14.99 each and the item number is 200.780.31. It’s not available for online ordering, but you can check to see if they have it the store closest to you. Hope this helps!

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