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How to Build a Rubbermaid Grow Box

By Robin Coe ; Updated September 21, 2017

Grow boxes simplify small-space gardening. A grow box decreases the amount of labor necessary to maintain plants, as well as problems that may occur with your plants. However, commercial grow boxes can be somewhat expensive. Cut costs by building your own grow box with Rubbermaid storage bins. Rubbermaid storage bins come in various sizes to accommodate a small or large indoor garden, and are made with a durable plastic that makes it perfect for a grow box.

Cut the rim of the Rubbermaid lid off with a utility knife. Check to see if the lid fits inside the Rubbermaid bin by pushing it inside the bin. It should be able to slide down about 2/3 of the way inside. Cut more off the edge of the lid if it doesn't fit.

Lay a kitchen canister in the center of the the Rubbermaid bin lid. Trace around the canister to outline the shape on the lid. Use your utility knife to cut the pattern out.

Lay one end of PVC pipe on one of the corners of the lid, and trace the pattern. Cut the pattern out of the lid with your utility knife.

Poke holes into the surface of the Rubbermaid bin lid with your awl. Slide the lid into the bin so that it is 2/3 of the way inside. The area below the lid will serve as the water reservoir for your grow box.

Poke holes in the side and bottom of the kitchen canister with the awl. Slide the kitchen canister and PVC pipe into the hole you made for each one on the lid.

Cut out a ½-inch triangle on the outside of the Rubbermaid bin ½ inch below the point where the lid sits in the bin. This will serve as an overflow drain so that you know when enough water has been added to the reservoir.

Fill the kitchen canister and the area over the lid with soil. The kitchen canister serves as a wick for the water to get to the rest of the soil. Add a 2-inch strip of fertilizer down the center of your box. Cover the strip with 1-inch of soil.

Add water to the PVC pipe until it begins to come out of the overfill hole.

Add plant seedlings to your new grow box.


Things You Will Need

  • Rubbermaid storage box
  • Utility knife
  • Small Rubbermaid kitchen canister
  • Marker
  • PVC pipe
  • Awl
  • Potting soil
  • 20-20-20 fertilizer

About the 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.