milk crate farm NYC

As much as we love the vertical shipping pallet garden we wrote about in May, it’s flaw is that if you needed to move it off your balcony, you might be in some trouble. Enter the milk crate farm! When the bad economy stalled construction at New York City’s Alexandria Center for Life Science, Chef Sisha Ortuzar and business partner Jeffrey Zurofsky had a brilliant idea: use the stalled site as a farm. There they grow fresh veggies to use at Riverpark, the restaurant next door.

While rooftop gardens are popping up all over the city (see the Brooklyn Grange for example), this one presented a special challenge: it needed to be portable so that it could be easily moved when construction picked up again. Ortuzar, Zurofsky, and their design team found the answer in ordinary milk crates, which are not only easy to move, but also naturally aerate the soil. Like the shipping pallet garden, the milk crates are lined with landscape fabric (check local garden supply stores for smaller amounts) to hold in the dirt. The milk crate planters are then stacked on top of empty milk crates for drainage.

milk crate farm

This system would work perfectly for a home garden on a balcony, a roof, or even a back yard; you can configure the crates to suit your space. The milk crate system came in handy at Riverpark Farm when hurricane Irene hit and crops could be moved before the storm. If you live somewhere with unpredictable weather, your garden doesn’t need to be at risk.

milk crate farm NYC

You can forage for milk crates or  buy them over at ULine, where there are even collapsible milk crates for easy storage! We’ve found beautiful old wooden ones on Ebay.

 via Core 77

Related posts:
d-i-y shipping pallet vertical garden
new york city’s taxi farmers
how to be a guerrilla gardener
life shift: tips for frugal living from an urban homesteader

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6 replies on “portable milk crate farm (d-i-y), for roof, terrace, lot

  1. or use a potato sack or coffee bag from your local roaster.

  2. In the case of a bad storm did you/do you have to move the crates? Are the secured in any way?

  3. I haven’t seen anything about the crates being secured; the point though was to be able to move them and reconfigure them. I would guess it would depend on their weight when filled with dirt whether or not you’d need to move them in the event of a storm.And the degree of the storm.

  4. Can you use plastic sheeting instead of landscape fabric? I’d assume you can if you punch holes in the plastic.

  5. I’m not the best gardner but do know that plastic sheeting can be problematic because it does not breath…friends used it and it caused mildew/mold to grow in the soil.

  6. Even if you add vents by puncturing or slicing the plastic?

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