Build a Veggie Box

Starve the water-loving, industrial food giant and grow your own!

What’s the best part about growing your own food? The benefits are deliciously healthy for you, and our environment! Plus, you can do it anywhere with this easy to build, homemade wooden veggie box. Position it in your backyard, front porch, driveway or patio and get growing today.

Growing food in a box like this makes it easy to cultivate healthy soil, water efficiently, control weeds and pests, and enjoy the harvest right outside your door. Not to mention, growing even a small amount of food (like fresh herbs) helps the environment in a big way by reducing the amount of energy, fuel, water and pollution associated with large-scale industrial agriculture. Experience the benefits of growing your own food and follow these steps to building a veggie box today!

Not sure what to plant? Check out for additional resources on how to plant, grow and harvest your veggie box.

Tools and materials needed:

• Tape measure
• Carpenter's square
• Pencil
• Saw
• Power drill
• 1/8” size drill bit
• Screwdriver
• 1 5/8” outdoor deck screws (24-30) – for attaching legs.
• 2 1/2" outdoor deck screws (4-8) – for attaching base planks.
• Work gloves and eye protection

Handy, yet non-essential tools:
• Clamps
• Power screwdriver
• Jigsaw
• Chop saw

Cut list for your 16-inch square veggie box:
1” x 4” Redwood Cedar or salvaged pallets, cut into:
12 planks @ 16” – keep a plank remnant (it will soon be handy).
5 planks @ 15 1/4” approximately (Best to wait until step 13 to cut these.)
2” x 2'' Redwood or Cedar cut into:
4 planks @ 23 3⁄4”


1. Cut the 1”x 4” planks into 12 planks, each 16” long.

2. Cut the 2”x 2” into 4 legs, each 23 3/4” long.

3. Now start construction. Work on a firm, flat surface such as a good work bench. Use the 1 5/8” screws when securing the planks to the legs. Place 2 legs on the bench and place one of the 16” planks over them. Using the square, line up one plank with one leg. (Don’t worry about the other leg for now; it’s just to support the plank.) Make sure the edge of the plank is flush with the top of the leg post and the end of the plank is flush with the edge of the leg. Be certain they are square. Have someone hold them or clamp them while you drill and screw them together.

4. Line up the other leg at the opposite end of the plank, so that the end sticks out past the edge of the leg. The amount it sticks out should be equal to the thickness of the planks. Use a piece of scrap wood to measure. Be certain they are square. Drill and screw the plank to the leg.

5. Now attach the next plank, keeping it up close to the first plank but stagger the ends so it sticks out past the edge of the first leg. The amount it sticks out should be equal to the thickness of the planks. Use the scrap bit to measure. Drill and screw the plank to the leg.

6. The 3rd plank is lined up just like the 1st. Drill and screw it in place. One side of your box is now complete.

7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 to construct a second side exactly like the first side.

8. Ask a friend to hold both sides up, leg posts on the inside. Take another 16” plank and place it between the two sides, adjusting the distance between the two sides until the plank fits just right. Check that everything is fairly square. Have your friend hold steady while you drill and screw.

Tip: Consider where your screws are positioned so they don’t bump into the ones already screwed into the leg. If this happens just back the screw out and try again with a little angle as you screw it in.

9. Repeat with the other two planks so you have 3 sides all attached together.

10. Now repeat on the opposite end to form 4 sides - you will have a box with no top or bottom.

Tip: Check your right angles before you drill and screw. You can push and pull the box a bit here to get it a bit more square if needed. However, don’t worry about it being perfect. This is not fine furniture!

11. You now have a box with legs but no base. Flip the box upside down so the legs are sticking up in the air. Measure across the middle of the base. The distance should be close to 15 1/4”. Now cut a plank to fit across the span of your box. This will be the support for the base planks.

12. Position the support plank in place, use your scrap bit to recess the supports. Drill and screw the supports in position using the 2 ½” deck screws.

13. Measure for the base planks and cut them. They should be about 15 1/4” long. (1/4” or so short is fine as this allows the wood to swell a bit.) Place the base planks perpendicular across the support plank. Space the base planks evenly. Small gaps are fine since they aid drainage. Drill and screw.

14. Flip it over, fill it with a mix of soil and compost, and get growing! Please see our Backyard Skills video for a step by step process ( and subscribe to our channel for future updates.


The Ecology Center is a regional hub for sustainability in Orange County, CA, seeks to bring all members of the community together in a solutions-based educational setting to inspire and create a healthy and abundant future for all. The Center highlights empowering and cutting-edge environmental perspectives that can be applied to the way we live our lives, making it possible for us to coexist with a thriving environment.