When it comes to growing potatoes with ease, nothing works like homemade potato crates! In fact, it is the only method we use to grow our entire crop, And that includes sweet potatoes, in addition to our regular potatoes.
It’s simple, inexpensive, weed-free, and produces plenty of potatoes with little work. See : How To Grow Your Best Potato Crop Ever
Each time we showcase the process on the blog, we are always asked about how we build our crates.
So today, as we approach another growing season, we thought we would take you through the process.
How To Build Homemade Potato Crates
We have built all of our homemade potato crates from left over scraps of untreated wood. To build, you can easily use untreated pallet wood, barn wood, or even inexpensive pine boards purchased at a local home improvement store.
We have made our crates with everything from scrap pieces of shiplap, to untreated fencing boards, pallets and more. All have worked perfectly well.
The key is to make sure the wood you use is in a natural state. That means no painted or stained boards, and no wood that has been treated with stains or chemicals.
Since you will be growing food in close proximity to the boards, it is important to keep any contaminants from seeping into the soil.
The Building Process…
For ease of instruction, we will show assembly below using basic 2 x 4 and 1 x 4 lumber, which can easily be found at any local lumber store.
The process is the same no matter what wood will be used. The key is to leave the gaps on the side of crates somewhere between 1.5″ and 2″.
This keeps the soil mix into the crates, and allows for air flow as well. The crate is open both on the bottom and the top.
(4) 2 x 4 x 24″
(10) 1 x 4 x 36″
(10) 1 x 4 x 18″
The above materials are for assembling a single potato crate using 2 x 4’s for the legs and 1 x 4’s for the sides. If you will be substituting scrap lumber for the sides, you may need to adjust quantities and spacing a bit depending on the width of your boards.
Create the 4 legs of the crate by cutting a single 2 x 4 into (4) 24″ long pieces. Next, cut 10 pieces of the 1 x 4 into 36″ lengths, and 10 more at 18″ long.
These will be the front, back, and side walls to your crate. Once you have all of the pieces cut, it is time to assemble!
Putting the crates together is quite easy, especially with a second set of hands to help hold. We used a nail gun to quickly attach all of the boards, and then went back and screwed in each board with 2″ wood screws for extra strength.
Screws alone will work just fine, the nail gun simply made quick work of initial assembly.
We do not use glue on the boards to keep and chance of chemicals leaching into our soil.
Begin with by attaching a 1 x 4 x 36″ piece to each side of a 2 x 4. Repeat the process for the other side. Next, connect the front and back pieces with a 1 x 4 x 18″ piece on each side.
Continue attaching the 1 x 4’s around the frame, spacing the boards at 1.5″. To make this process simple, use a scrap 2 x 4 in between boards to provide even spacing.
Work your way up the four legs of the crate, attaching each board as you go. As you get to the top, space the last board to be flush with the top for a clean look.
Now all that’s left is to plant! For more on that process, see our article : How To Grow Your Best Potato Crop Ever
One final note on using wood safe for the garden. If you will be using pallets, look for an HT symbol stamped on the wood.
The HT symbol stands for Heat Treating. This process takes wood to a high temperature to destroy bacteria and insects in the wood, and uses no chemicals.
Here is to building your own homemade potato crates this year! Jim and Mary.
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