Boat Planter: Grow It in a Boat

A battered old skiff or rowboat can easily become a boat planter if you follow these instructions.

| March/April 1980

062 grow it in a boat2

Two examples of the boat planter concept, one by the ocean and the other in a homeowner's yard.


When I told the harbormaster that I wanted to buy the battered skiff that was resting half buried in drifted sand down by the pier, he looked at me with the pity an expert bestows on one who suffers from the affliction of ignorance.

"Buy it, be damned! " he exclaimed. "Just get it out of here, and it's yours!"

The captain was obviously delighted to be rid of the old derelict . . . and must have thought I was a fool to want a boat that would require gallons of caulk and months of work before it would float again.

He had no idea that an hour later the dilapidated vessel would be nestled cozily in the corner of my front patio, transformed into an attractive new boat planter  . . . or that by the following autumn I would be harvesting a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes, beets, and carrots from the recycled wreck.

Ships for Small Spaces

Whether your growing space is limited or not, using a discarded boat as a flower bed or vegetable bed offers several advantages: The plants' environment can be easily controlled . . . the unique planter can actually beautify your yard . . . and finally, such a recycled skiff allows one more piece of "junk" to find a useful existence.

But think before you plant! Make sure your dinghy is placed in the best possible position before you fill it full of soil. (It may sound as if I'd learned that bit of wisdom from sad experience, but I was lucky enough to pick a good spot for my boat-garden without giving the matter too much thought.)

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