Bookcase Garden

I feel like this post needs some explaining.  Two years ago, I lived in downtown Milwaukee in this beautiful apartment with a private rooftop deck…I know, it was pretty much the bomb! I loved it, it was amazing, and the perfect place to have friends over and enjoy some sunshine!  The only downside was that I desperately wanted a garden, and as a renter I needed to think of a cheap creative way to create a temporary garden that could easily be removed whenever I moved out.


Enter the wooden bookcase I found abandoned on the side of an alley!! Yes, I am that person who will steal abandoned furniture from the dumpster: reduce, reuse, recycle, right?? Anyway, with some strategic planning and A LOT of heavy lifting, I was able to get the entire bookshelf and all of the soil/mulch up to the top of my building! Add some plants and patience, and I was left with a simple garden I could be proud of!

If you have the need for a temporary garden, or just don’t know what to do with that bookcase you mistakenly bought on craigslist, here is a solution. 🙂

What You Need:

  • Bookcase (Make sure it’s made of wood and not laminate)
  • Soil
  • Mulch
  • Newspaper
  • Drill
  • Seeds/Plants
  • Patience!!
Dividing out all the plants and vegetables I bought at my parents' house
Dividing out all the plants and vegetables I bought at my parents’ house

1.) Remove Shelving

If you wanted to keep the shelving and use it to divide different kinds of plants, that would probably work really well too!

2.) Drill Holes in the Back of the Bookcase

Drilling holes will create a drainage system for excess water. There is no right or wrong way to go about this. Take a large drill bit and drill holes all along the back of the bookcase.

Garden after a month of growing

Garden after a month of growing

3.) Lay Down Newspaper

Once you’ve decided where your garden is going to be placed, place it down and lay a thin layer of newspaper over the bottom. This will also help water to drain without releasing soil.

Garden right after I finished planting
Garden right after I finished planting

4.) Add Soil and Plants

Measure your bookcase to determine how much soil/mulch you’ll need to fill it (Length x Width x Height). Once filled you can start planting!!  I chose to do one row of strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, eggplant, and some herbs. The sky is the limit! Talk to your local garden supplier to find out what plants grow well in your climate.

Let it grow and enjoy the fruits of your labor!! 🙂


One thought on “Bookcase Garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s