How to Make a Small Grow Box


A small grow box allows you to grow plants in containers in a limited space. Whether you want to grow herbs, greens or a single vegetable plant, a grow box provides the proper moisture and fertilization for the plants to thrive. Use the box outside on a deck or patio, or move it inside near a sunny window. A small enough box is easily moved around to follow the sun throughout the day if necessary. Properly constructed grow boxes require only periodic watering for the plants to flourish.

Step 1

Lay your planter or window box upside down on the fluorescent light cover. Trace around it with a permanent marker. Cut out the traced shape from the light cover with a utility knife or jigsaw. This is your screen.

Step 2

Lay a large butter tub or similar size plastic container in the center of the screen. Trace around it then cut out this circle with the jigsaw.

Step 3

Drill out a 1-inch hole in one corner of the screen. Drill 1/2-inch holes 2 inches apart in rows over the rest of the screens surface.

Step 4

Drill 1/2-inch holes 2 inches apart and in rows around the sides and bottom of the butter tub. This is your wicking chamber, which brings water into the soil of the grow box.

Step 5

Place the wicking chamber into the planter so the open side of the chamber is facing up. Slide the screen into the planter so it is sitting on top of the wicking chamber with the precut hole lined up over it. Slide a 2-foot length of 1-inch diameter PVC pipe into the hole that is precut in the screen for it.

Step 6

Fill the wicking chamber with soil-less potting mix. Water it until it is just moist then finish filling up the rest of the grow box with soil until it is even with the rim.

Step 7

Sprinkle a 2-inch wide strip of general purpose granular fertilizer along one side of the planter. Remember which side is fertilized as you will not be planting directly into the fertilizer strip.

Step 8

Place a piece of plastic mulch over the top of the soil, cutting a hole for the PVC fill tube to come through. Anchor it to the rim of the grow box using binder clips.

Step 9

Cut an X in the mulch with the utility knife to plant your transplants through. Fill the water chamber at least once a week through the PVC fill tube. Add water until the tube fills up and no more can be added.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use potting soil because it does not absorb water properly. Purchase only soil-less potting mix or combine equal parts compost and peat moss to make your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Small planter or window box
  • Fluorescent light cover
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Jigsaw
  • Butter tub
  • Drill
  • PVC pipe
  • Soil-less mix
  • Fertilizer
  • Plastic mulch
  • Binder clips


  • Seattle Peak Oil Awareness: Making A Self Watering Container
Keywords: vegetable container, garden pot, grow box

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.