Our Kitchen Garden

Turning a wine crate into a garden or flowerbed for your fire escape or patio

This weekend, after much talk, Ryan and I finally planted our very own mini-kitchen garden.

The idea of growing a few vegetables (or at the very least, herbs) on our fire escape has been in the back of my mind for some time now, but the thought of buying pots and containers seemed a little daunting. Then, it finally occurred to me that a wine crate would make the perfect for container for a little garden.

Potting Soil used for a balcony garden using a wine box

Most wine stores will give away the crates for free, so the price is definitely right. However, they do vary in quality—if you have a good wine store near you, you can get a crate made of pretty hard wood, but some crates are more flimsy and might not stand up well to a season outside. (Although you could always weather seal it.)

We had our neighborhood hardware store drill a few holes in the bottom of the box for drainage and then planted away.

Planting basil and other herbs in an urban garden on your fire escape or balcony

Planting flowers and herbs in a garden on your fire escape

Much of my inspiration behind our new little garden came from Williams-Sonoma’s new site, Agrarian, which focuses on growing food in containers and has helpful guides and planners.

We bought a few already-started herbs (basil and mint) and a jalapeño seedling, but also planted some summer squash and Thumbelina carrots from seed. We filled in the box with heat-resistant petunias, but these may have to go once our other plants make their appearance.

I don’t know just how green my thumb is yet, but I’m at least enjoying looking at my pink petunias while I work!

– Laura

Laura Ratliff and her urban garden in the West Village



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