Wine Box Garden: Year Two

Remember my wine box garden in Houston?

An update from our second season is long overdue. With the big move and all that chasing a dream required, a garden post never made it to the top of the priority list, but that's what vacations are for, right?!?!

I was honored to see my first garden featured in fabulous places like PinterestRemodelistaFennel & Fern, but let me tell you the truth sweet readers: I'm no master gardener! I'm just a girl who loves fresh food and wanted to grow a little of my own. After procrastinating for years, I finally put the books down and just went for it! That's the best way to do it, my friends. Don't be afraid to fail. Even if only one thing grows, you'll feel so proud when you put it on a plate and eat it!

I still have a lot to learn about gardening, but I do have a few tips to share about the wine boxes. I still get lots of questions about these, so here's all I know:

1. I started over with new boxes this year because the last ones really deteriorated. I did nothing to protect my boxes from moisture last year, and it showed. Here are last year's boxes after only a few weeks:

Water damage. It got a lot worse.

2. To create a moisture barrier, I coated this year's boxes with two coats of Danish Oil. I found this idea in one of my garden books, Garden Anywhere.

I brushed it on with a cheap brush and let the boxes sit a couple weeks before planting. I'm sure only a day or two is needed, but life was busy. {Note: you don't want to use anything super toxic like polyurethane for an edible garden. Danish Oil doesn't smell super natural to me, but I went with what was in the book and let it soak in fully before adding dirt and plants.}

I learned that Danish Oil isn't a perfect moisture barrier, but my boxes looked a lot better than last year. I think adding a liner of some sort {see tip #4} and brackets {see tip #5} would be ideal.

3. My husband drilled holes in the bottom of each box for drainage. Just like last year.

And this year, we added a single layer of lightweight lava rocks to the bottom for drainage purposes. {The key being lightweight so your boxes don't weigh a ton. Hmm...maybe you could use cut up wine cork pieces?} Not sure if this step is needed, but my husband insisted it would help with drainage, so I went with it!

4. I lined one box with plastic as a test. I wanted to see what difference this added moisture barrier would make. Next time, I'll line all my boxes. {I used a heavy-duty black trash bag because that's what I had. I cut slits in the bottom for drainage.}

Lined, but not coated. Needs brackets.

I didn't actually coat this box in Danish Oil {testing liner vs. oil}, but I think the combination of both a liner and Danish Oil would've been great. In fact, if you're going to line the boxes with something sturdy, maybe you can use poly after all since it won't be touching the food.

And to keep the sides from pulling apart, here's something I should've done....

5. Add brackets to support the corners. Stainless would be ideal so they don't rust, but they're more expensive. Which means you definitely want to invest the time in preparing your boxes well (Danish Oil and plastic liner} so that you don't waste your money on boxes that are going to rot.

6. Cut wine corks in half to create "feet" at the corners of your wine boxes. Just another way to assist with water drainage. It's all about preventing that soggy, unsightly wood rot!

So all in all, year two's boxes held up better than year one. I've concluded that the ideal wine box preparation includes three things: protective seal + liner + brackets on the corners.

A salad garden is my favorite way to use the wine boxes.

I added climbing Malabar spinach to the side beds this year.

Found this here.

Laura Finley loves to garden. This girl can make anything grow!

"The Girls" are always part of the action around here. 

Laura Finley's ladybugs from Insect Lore. Natural pest control.

The wine box garden sat on a table just off the back porch. 

One last look.

Unfortunately, I had to leave my wine box garden with our Houston home, but I've got great memories and can't wait to give a larger garden a try somewhere on our eight acres in Franklin! {It may have to wait until Spring. We've got our hands full with repairs, adjusting to a new town, soon a new school...not to mention the upcoming Christmas card season!}

I hope this post will inspire you to grow a little of your own food even if all you have is a very small space. We didn't have much of a backyard in Houston {more like a courtyard}, so container gardening was the perfect solution. And wine boxes were the look I wanted.

Where to get the boxes? Try anywhere that wine is sold. We're regular wine buyers, so each time we made a purchase, we just asked if they had a spare box. When we had enough, we stopped asking. Some of the larger wine shops will sell their boxes. Fruit crates would also look great.

Happy gardening!


  1. I love the natural beauty of the wine boxes and food for the table growing that you know is taken care of with love... and the "girls" watching close
    by is darling.
    This will give you something to look forward to doing this Spring- and maybe with a new friend from your new town !
    Thanks for the inspiration. I too have several acres in which to make these work well...


  2. awesome Linsey - so happy that you are posting - can't wait to see pics from your new home. Good luck to the girls with their new school. God bless you friend. :)

  3. Hey girl. Love seeing the pictures of your wine box garden. Now, I can't wait to see (in person) the big garden you will have at your new home next year.

    Our garden did very well this year. I have canned tomatoes...made and canned bread and butter pickles...put up lots and lots of zuchinni (and made zuchinni bread), okra, and waiting for cantaloupes to finish ripening. We were so thankful for our bounty this year.

    Hope you are still having a great vacation. Still praying continued blessings over your sweet family.

  4. I grew up with a large garden, and I hope to plant a version of our own garden next Spring..at the very least, I herbs and some lettuce and tomatoes and peppers. :)

    one step at a time....

    hope you're doing well...think of you very often...can't wait to get a heart post when you feel up to it.
    I'm JUST now getting back around to wanting to share more heart felt things after our move, and it was a YEAR ago.

    The whole process of moving and setting up home and giving yourself to new people is exhausting....I haven't had a lot of "heartfelt" posts in me this year......

  5. Just wondering if you've heard of the "Earth Box" http://www.earthbox.com/ They were invented locally in Ellenton, Fl and work great for gardening. Right now we are growing tomatoes in one and basil, thyme and rosemary in the other. Your initial cost might be a little more but they last forever. You can also get decorative covers for them as the containers are made from a heavy black plastic material.

    Sue in Fl.

    1. Haven't heard of Earth Box. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I do remember..oh the peacefulness of gardening.
    you now have the perfect space to really garden and I can't wait to
    see what you all do.
    I know from personal experience moving is exhausting!! hope you all are enjoying your vacation. I know it was really needed.
    sounds like lots of new"ness" around the corner..wondering if the girls are excited or a wee bit nervous for a new school? praying they each meet a sweet soul sister. well off to get some ice cream...I am sick with some awful cold/flu that makes me feel like i'm dying...ugh!
    talk soon

  7. Ack! I just posted on your first wine box entry, all excited about a fellow Houston container gardener. Then I read the year two update & find you've moved!!

    I sure hope someone is taking good care of your little garden as y'all move onward...


  8. Could you please share where you found the wine boxes? And if you paid for them, how much? I saw some on ebay but they are aound $30 each. Thanks in advance!!!

    1. Local wine shops. Some charge, but because we were frequent wine buyers at a couple shops, they gave them to us for no charge.


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