DIY Plant Stand
Who doesn't love when beauty and function harmoniously coexist? So many of our gardening support systems have been hacked together hastily with whatever has been around at the time, many of them customized to accommodate constraints of former spaces. While still functional, our primary 3-tiered plant stand really felt outdated for the past several years.
I knew at the end of last year's growing season that even without starting a full flat of asparagus seeds in early February (that would occupy one whole light until early May), we would still need another stand this year; my list of flowers I want to grow is exponentially lengthening. As an aside, I am aiming for a deer resistant cut flower garden along our driveway including the likes of zinnia, gomphrena, cosmos, and strawflower. Wish me luck!
Lucky for me, my husband found a simple plant stand pattern online here. He took this Fine Gardening plant stand and, well, made it his own. Here's what he did.
He made it taller and wider, and instead of assembling with screws, he assembled with mortise and tenon joints (to practice his woodworking skills. Because, winter). The result? A seamless look that makes for a very light and airy three-tiered stand. The extra width accommodates the cords more easily, and the extra height allows for us to have a full 2' height for each shelf, which we only sometimes need but is a nice option to have since we aren't constrained by vertical space. It is so beautifully designed, we decided to promote it to our main living space. Not only is it warmer, it's also much sunnier, and the plants will definitely get more attention as we will be around them all day long.
I am presenting the materials as if you would be assembling this with screws instead of mortise and tenon joints. If you are handy enough to mortise and tenon, he used 3/4" tenon (1.5" longer) to achieve this fully seamed plant stand. The following measurements -- after squaring up the material -- will result in perfectly square joints and a fully 'seamed' plant stand. If you don't have a well-apportioned wood shop, use 2x2 stock instead of ripping, jointing and planing the lumber.
- 8 2x4x8', halved, jointed, and planed to 1 3/8" inch square which become:
- 14, 10 1/8" long side supports
- 8, 54" long main shelf supports
- 4, 79" tall vertical supports
- 4, 10 3/16" x 51 15/16" 1/2" plywood rectangles (for shelves)
- 4, 3/4" x 7/8" x 51 1/4" shelf / light brace supports
- 2, 1 3/8" x 3 1/4" base feet (could also use a 2x4)
- 80 3/4" high
- 13" deep x 56 3/4" long
- 51 15/16" x 10 3/16" plywood insert
- shelves at 4 5/8", 30", 55 3/8", and 80 3/4" from the floor
- base 3 1/4" high
Build the shelves (54"x13" rectangles), be sure to remember to include the middle brace support.
Router shelf edge with a 1/2" rabbiting bit to snugly fit 1/2" plywood for shelf.
Build the vertical side supports by fastening 5 of the 10 1/8" side supports -- one each at the top and bottom, and 3 evenly spaced so the brace supports and four shelves make 6 equally spaced side supports. (See photo below).
Clamp shelves to vertical posts to screw together. Be sure they are square and at the correct fixed height before securing.
Secure base feet to stand.
Rabbit plywood edges with 1/2" round over bit and insert into shelves.
To be honest, this was a multiple weekend project for my handy husband, but he spent a lot of time thinking about how to customize it and use what we had for this. Because we had disassembled a large, deep, awkward shelf in his wood shop last summer, we had all the materials we needed on hand to build this. Even still, a project like this is much less expensive than a catalog plant stand. Granted, much of the cost I think is sunk in the light systems they use, but I still prefer to save costs in the garden as much as possible and place our resources in things like trellises and establishing perennial fruits and investing in unique seeds.