Published on May 4th, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg


5 DIY Gardening Projects

square foot gardenThis year, I’ve undertaken a new endeavor: I’ve started a vegetable garden. It’s an ongoing process — no harvest yet, of course — but I’m already looking forward to fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and beans that will be transported about 15 feet from garden to kitchen.

In the process, I’ve come across a number of intriguing DIY projects for growing your own food. Here are five that can help make gardening easier and, maybe, more productive.

The raised bed planter: This project is at the heart of the method I’m using for my garden — Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening system. I used leftover bricks for mine, but there are lots of different materials you could (re)use to build a garden space (and avoid the digging!). GO’s Kelli Best-Oliver contributed one great plan for this.

What’s your favorite DIY gardening project (other than planting, of course). Share it in the comments.

Looking for ideas on what to grow in your garden? Check out MNN’s guide on how to grow carrots.

Image credit: serenejournal at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

  • MeanJoeGreen

    You blog for the Sundance Channel now–can’t Robert Redford buy you a rain barrel πŸ™‚
    After we last met for coffee–i researched square foot gardening as a result of your enthusiasm, and just finished my garden this weekend. Coincidentally–I re-used bricks and planted tomatoes, cukes, beans, and cantelopes as well (and carrots)! Great minds think alike–and so do ours πŸ™‚ !
    Great post Jeff

  • Got carrots in, too, Joe… so were definitely on the same page. Going to buy tomato plants at the Tower Grove farmers’ market when it opens… but the rest are in…

  • Thanks for all the projects, I have recently got the gardening bug and these small projects are great.

    Just a tip to share with UK residents, rather than purchasing a compost bin at retails prices, check the website, I did inadvertantly and found that I could get a compost bin for Β£8 with free delivery and free kitchen caddy through a council subsidised scheme.

  • I used the topsy turvy tomato grower and an Earthbox last year but I found my tomatoes seemed to do better in an Earthbox. I live in an apartment so I have to use containers to garden. Perhaps you could make something like an Earthbox?

    I plan on getting more of these this year to expand my gardening. I may try the DIY worm compost bin as I’ve been looking at a way to compost and reduce my waste.

  • We just completed a 2 yr recylcling project repurposing a garage floor. over 22 tons of concrete, Everything but 3 items were repurposed, yard sale or thrifting purchases.

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  • I’m starting my first vegetable garden this year, I hope I’ll learn a lot (not expecting to grow much vegetables though) πŸ™‚

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  • 4 you first timers dont worry.Plant the seed it will grow.

  • More people need to become more comfortable growing their own food even if it is just herbs that are hard to kill. Basil is a perfect herb with many uses, beautiful and can grow in just water. It can take over a kitchen, provide beautiful greeney and purify the air until the day it becomes pesto!

  • I love this article and the photo too!

  • Yes, I love the photo too!

  • Great projects! I’m looking for plans to build a balcony-sized coldframe..any ideas? I’m in Canada and wonder if I’ll need insulation..what do you think?

  • @Erin — Don’t know of anything offhand, but you might want to check Instructables and Mike Lieberman’s Urban Organic Gardener blog.

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  • I love a raised bed planter! So organized πŸ™‚

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