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Conversion of repurposing apple crate into the vegetable garden

Apple Crates Vegetable Garden

If gardening is your passion, then once in a lifetime you are emotionally attached to your vegetable garden. Sometimes we have to shift our house for some family reasons then in that scenario, you had some special attachment with your backyard garden. So don’t worry, in this article I will give you a solution to this problem where ever you move you can able to shift your own garden there. It is only possible if you establish your garden by using empty apple crates.

Benefits of using apple crates for vegetable cultivation

Here are the following benefits of using apple crates for the rearing of home fresh vegetables.

Economical: It is economical to use apple crates for vegetable cultivation

Environment-friendly: Apple crates are environment-friendly if they are not painted because they are made up of wood.

Moveable: They are easily moveable by installed moveable tire beneath them so you can easily shift them from place to place.

Space Effective: You can use them when you don’t have enough space for developing a backyard or terrace garden.

Decoration: By growing veggies into apple crates you can use them for decoration of the balcony and terrace of your hose.

Steps for converting apple crates into the vegetable garden

Here are some easy simple steps by following them you can convert your apple crates into a beautiful vegetable garden.

Selection of crate:

Different sizes and depth of apple crates are available in the market or home store but for vegetable growth, an ideal crate should have a depth of at least 18 inches. 12 to 18 inches’ crates are good for growing eggplants, pepper and squashes. Always keep in mind shallow crates dry out more quickly as those of deep soil reservoir. If a crate with less than 12 inches of soil is placed in full sun, you’ll need to keep a close eye on it to make sure it’s not drying out. Always prefer sturdy wooden crates because they can be recycled and available in good condition. Avoid painted and chemically treated crates for growing edible vegetables.

If the crates made up of slattered sides, then make sure that use those crates which have 2 inches’ difference between two boards, otherwise at the time of the lining of crates it will move outward and also not look attractive.

Rustic Brown Wood Crate


Lead paint warning:

While painted boxes look attractive, before you use an old apple crate as a vegetable planter, first you have to check whether the paint contains led or not. This can be done with a simple testing kit, which can be found at a hardware store and home center.

It is not good to grow edible vegetables in lead-painted apple crate because these plants absorb heavy metal so quickly and lead as an element does not break down ever. Over the year even a low level of exposure to lead in the soil can lead to neurological damage and slow down the rate of growth in humans. Children are more vulnerable when they come to exposure to lead.

Best wooden for apple crates:

Wooden apple crates last for years if they are made up of the right kind of wood and care properly. Cedar and redwood are naturally resistant to insect damage and rotting. Cypres and teak also resistant to these elements but never use pressure-treated lumber because they had a high amount of arsenic which quickly absorb by plant and had a damaging effect on human health.

Barnwood Gray Wood Nesting Crates, Set of 3


Advantages of lining:

The main advantage of using a plastic liner is that it ensures the retention of water and soil into the apple crate and also protects the wooden crate from rotting. Plastic liners might not be used for growing vegetables under full sunshine, wherever there might be a risk of leaching into the soil.

Burlap looks nice between the gaps but it just lasts only for a season before the next season it needs to be replaced.

Plastic Sheeting, Drop Cloth


Filling the crates with soil:

You cannot use ordinary garden soil for growing vegetables into the apple crates. The soil should be enriched with all the micro and macronutrients to ensure the proper growth of the vegetable plants. So fill the crates with fresh potting soil and also enrich with the appropriate quantity of compost to meet the requirement of the plants.

You can do one more drainage check at this point to ensure that the line crates drain properly or not. Pour some water into the crate if it drains water then it is ok otherwise you need to make more punch into the liner.

Natural Organic Premium Growing Mix


Grow plants into the crates:

Gently place plant starts within the potting soil and fill in around the sides with a lot of soil. If growing plant through seeds, moisten the soil and plant seeds at the depth and spacing suggested by the package. Tracheophyte starts or seeds well and positions the instrumentality within the right lightweight exposure for the plants.

Prevention of rotting:

Wooden boxes having damped soil and continuously exposed to water had a high risk of rotting and after some years their life will definitely rundown. Lining the boxes with plastic, using basket or planters within the crates also elevating them from the ground with risers and not allowing the soil to ever get too soggy will help you to extend the life of your crate.

Tips for using apple crates as a vegetable garden:

There are the following tips for growing vegetables in an apple garden.

  • Elevate your apple crate on pot feet or small block of scrap wood if they will be sitting on a wooden surface. This will prevent the trapped moisture from affecting the underlying surface and also create space for the crate to drain excess water.
  • At the end of each growing season, vacant your crates, brush out all the soil and stock them in a dry place for the winter. Giving the wood a chance to dry out will significantly enhance the life of your apple crate.
  • To enhance the life of apple crate use wood sealer on a yearly basis.
  • Smaller apple crates will dry out faster, so monitor them repeatedly and water the plants when necessary. In many climates, daily watering will be essential with any wooden apple crates, and if the small apple crate place direct under sunshine may need to be watered twice a day.
  • Large apple crates can be very weighty. To relieve them, first, fill the bottom of the container with a fill material such as leftover plastic bottles or a thick layer of leaves or twigs, then fill it with the potting soil over the top. Most plants want no more than about 9 to 12 inches of potting soil to grow well, and your containers will be much lighter to move around if the excess space is filled a lighter material.
  • Do not fill your crates with ordinary garden soil. Plants in crates grow much better with a commercial potting soil, or by making your own potting soil consisting of equal parts of vermiculite or perlite, peat moss, and compost. Ordinary garden soil does not have the porosity necessary for apple crates plants to grow well, and it contains microorganisms that will rot your wooden planters equitably rapidly.

I thought by reading this article you have enough knowledge to establish a vegetable garden by using empty apple crates.

Cleaning the crate:

After the selection of appropriate crate for vegetable cultivation then next step is to clean them. If you are converting the recycled crate into the vegetable garden, then first clean inside and outside of the crate with a stiff brush to make it ready for vegetable cultivation.

Check the drainage:

The vegetable plant needs good drainage to grow in the container, if the drainage is not appropriate it will cause a waterlogging condition and most of the plant roots get rotted in these conditions moreover it also cause suffocation for the plant because roots cannot respire properly. Side by side excess moisture also leads to fungal diseases. Apple crates having slatted bottom usually drain quickly but in the next step, I will tell you how to cope with the situation. Crates which made up of more tightly space boards may need drainage holes added.

To check the appropriate drainage first fill the apple crate with water and watch how quickly it drains out the water. If the water runs out easily then it is good for growing vegetables, if the water drains out slowly then you need to make multiple holes by using the drill for the proper drainage of water.

Line the apple crate:

Depending on what form of the wood box you have got and the way you would wish to use it, you will possibly have got to add a liner before planting. Apple crates with giant gaps between the boards want a liner to prevent soil and water from running straight out from the crates. Solid boxes do not want a liner to stop soil loss, however, they will get pleasure from a plastic liner (with holes at the bottom for drainage) to act as wetness block to stop rotting of vegetable roots.

For lining purposes always use heavy-duty plastic and for proper drainage make holes in the plastic by punching the plastic. Landscape material, gunny mix with heavy-duty plastic and blurp to line the complete interior of the crate. Cut the plastic to an appropriate size staple and nail it according to the size of the apple crate.


What started as a personal experience to improve my overall health by growing my own food has turned into a mission to share my experience and my own research. Growing your own food and eating healthier food is something that everyone has to try.

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