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wagon planter

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Now that summer’s here, there’s no better time to get your home garden into shape. While your yard may have served as storage space in the chillier months, now that graduations, barbecues, and garden parties are on the horizon, it’s time to make your yard look beautiful, and there’s no easier way than by creating a wagon planter. Using just a few tools you probably have on hand already, you can transform an old wagon into a show-stopping centerpiece for your garden where you can grow delicious fresh herbs year after year. Here’s how:

How to Make a Wagon Planter

wagon planter

Drill holes for drainage

Drill holes for drainage: As with any planter, you’ll want holes in the bottom so that you can easily allow for excess water to drain out, keeping your plants hydrated, but not soaked. With an electric drill, bore five or six holes, each a few inches away from one another, in the bottom of your wagon. If you’re working with a larger wagon, or if you plan on adding dividers within your planter, you can add extra holes to make sure the water drains easily. If you have young children or pets who might try to poke their fingers or paws through the holes, make sure to sand their edges with a metal file and seal them with some enamel or epoxy to reduce the risk of any curious little ones cutting themselves.

Add some paint

While old wagons with chipping paint on their exterior may look charming, if the paint inside your wagon is chipping, you may want to seal it with a coat of paint before you start planting your herbs. Many antique wagons are painted using lead-based paints, which, if left unsealed, can seep into the soil in which you grow your plants. To avoid this, simply add a few coats of a lead-encapsulant paint over any interior paint and allow to dry before planting your seeds. If you want something a bit more festive than the usual plain white that most lead encapsulant paints come in, you can easily add a few coats of a tough multi-purpose paint, like Rust-Oleum’s Protective Enamel, which will help keep rust off your new planter, or some metal spray paint.

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Line it with rocks

While drainage holes will make it easier to keep your soil from becoming over-saturated, they’re not foolproof. To make sure that excess water can easily run out of your planter without being clogged by dirt, add a layer of rocks along the bottom of the planter before you add any other organic matter. This will make drainage easier and will keep your plants well-hydrated all year-long. If you’re picky about your aesthetic and don’t find plain gray stones particularly inspiring, try using some of the colored rocks generally used to line the bottom of fish bowls; they’ll brighten up your planter while ensuring its continued functionality and drainage.

Add some dirt

The second to last step before you have a completed planter is the addition of dirt. Choose a soil that’s organic and has a somewhat fluffy texture when you touch it; harder soil or firmly packed dirt are harder to work with and can make it more difficult for your seeds to take root. If you’re a composter, don’t be shy about adding some of your own to the mix; this nutrient-rich soil will make sure you have healthy plants growing in no time. Even if you don’t have a ton of outdoor space for a compost bin, you can easily create your own right inside your house or apartment; simply toss your food scraps in a ceramic container that will help contain any smell or buy a bin made specifically for composting, like the Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector, an inconspicuous black and green composting bin that can sit right on your kitchen counter-top.

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Plant your seeds

When you’ve followed all the steps listed above, the only thing left to do is plant your seeds. Make sure to press them lightly into the earth and cover with a bit of soil. While you’ll want to water them lightly, make sure you don’t over-saturate your plants; even with your drainage system in place, too much water at once can be just as dangerous for your plants as too little, and may even kill them. Make sure to look up which kind of sunlight your particular set of seedlings prefer — and yes, different varieties do like different amounts of light — and in no time, you’ll have a rich garden growing from your homemade wagon planter.

With just a few easy steps, you can turn that hunk of junk that’s been taking up space on your property into a beautiful conversation piece that will be the envy of all your friends. Don’t let that old wagon sit unused for even one more day; turn it into a wagon planter that will transform your space in an instant.

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