How to Make a Cheap Grow Box


A grow box makes it easy to control the amount of nutrients and water getting to your potted plants. Problems related to over- or under-watering your plants are minimized or eliminated since you never water the soil directly; instead a tube leads to a water reserve beneath the soil. Many commercial grow boxes are available for sale, however, you can make your own grow box while also recycling common package containers that come through your household.

Step 1

Using a utility knife, cut the rim off of your Rubbermaid box lid. If it doesn't fit into your box, cut off more of the lid.

Step 2

Select a small container with a lip around the upper edge to create a soil wick. Used yogurt containers or similar containers work well. The soil wick will help plants obtain water from the water reservoir.

Step 3

Lay the yogurt container in the center of the Rubbermaid lid, then trace the shape onto the lid. Use your utility knife to cut the pattern out of the lid. Use your awl to poke holes across the surface of the rest of the lid. Also poke holes over the bottom and sides of the yogurt container.

Step 4

Cut off the tops of the water bottles and slide them inside of one other to form a tube. Continue to slide enough water bottles together so the height of your tube is just a little shorter than the height of your Rubbermaid box.

Step 5

Trace the shape of one end of your water bottle tube into one corner of the Rubbermaid lid. Cut the shape from the lid.

Step 6

Slide your Rubbermaid lid into the Rubbermaid box until it can't go any further. There should be enough space below the lid for the water reservoir. Use the awl and utility knife to poke an overfill hole on the outside of the box at about ½ inch below the level of the lid you put inside.

Step 7

Slide the yogurt container (open side up) into the section you cut out for it on the Rubbermaid lid. Put the water bottle tube into the tube space you cut out on the lid, as well. Push the water bottle tube at least ½ inch below the surface of the lid.

Step 8

Fill your box with potting soil. Dig a 2-inch-wide trench in the center and add 10-10-10 fertilizer. Cover the fertilizer with 1 inch of soil. Add water to the tube until it begins to come out of the overfill hole on the side of the box. Your box is now ready for plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Rubbermaid box with lid (any size)
  • Used yogurt container
  • Awl
  • 2 or more water bottles
  • Potting soil
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer


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Keywords: make an earth box, rubbermaid grow box, using and earth box

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.