Because there's not very much room on the balcony that I'm growing my vegetables on, I've decided to design and build a planter.
It's an idea that's been rolling around in my head for over a month. About three weeks ago, I transferred the idea from my head to google sketchup during a creative computing session with my friend Ryan and about two weeks ago, I built the first of the three tiers.
To save space, I'm stacking three planters; one on top of the other. I've decided that a stair step design would maximize both access to sun and root space as I'll be planting the deep rooting plants on a slant (got this bit of advice from a parking attendant at the Franklin Park Conservatory - seems legit to me). The first tier will be for shallow rooting plants (e.g. herbs), the second tier will be for baby carrots and spinach, and the last and largest planter will hold the tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants.
Apparently, the cheapest source of wood is fencing wood (thanks google). I bought a bunch of unfinished cedar planks (naturally rot-resistant) from Lowe's for about $30. I'll be relying on donations from parents for random bits of wood for the end caps (colored blue in the diagram). The cedar planks will span across the blue end caps. Last, 2x4s will make up the frame (colored pink and green in the diagram).
More to come including photos of the finished base planter.