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Q: extending life of wooden planter?

Karen Ferree keferree at husc7.harvard.edu
Wed May 22 09:26:53 EST 1996

Apologies if this is somewhat off-topic for this group...

We are looking for ideas/advice on non-toxic treatments to
extend the life of wooden crates converted to planters.

We rescued some wooden shipping crates from a nearby business
and are turning them into planter boxes for the patio. The boxes are
cheap pine (?) and plywood, but relatively sturdy (the plywood sides
and bottom are thinner than we would like). They look nice once
painted. Inside dimensions are approx. 14" deep, 12" wide, and 70"
long. Most of our plantings won't need 14" of soil, so we are putting
false bottoms (plywood supported by wood scraps) in most boxes.

Even with drainage/ventilation holes cut in the box, everything from
the false bottom on up will have constant exposure to damp soil and
the hollow space below will be wet or damp most or all of the time.

We are hoping that some of you can advise us of any ways to
extend the life of the planters. Our investment in the planters
is minimal, but it would be a shame not to spend a little extra money
and effort if it might let us use the planters for additional seasons. All
we have done so far is paint the outside of the planters with exterior
latex housepaint.

Any ideas? Would products such as Thompson's Water Seal be
appropriate? We don't want to use any treatment that might be
toxic to plants, people, earthworms, etc.

Many thanks for your help.

Karen andBari.

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