Self-Watering, Solar Raised Garden Build Using Upcycled Packing Totes // DIY Projects

by CHZ

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I love cooking with fresh herbs from the garden, but my garden is down a steep hill from my house, so I decided to build a Totes Easy Solar Powered Self Watering Raised Garden Planter to put right outside my kitchen on the patio. Upcycling packing totes (plastic bins) from our recent cross-country move and a handful of cedar boards, I was able to build this sleek, modern looking raised herb planter to bring my garden to me. This easy DIY container garden project can be done in a weekend. Because I spend so much time on the farm, away from the house, I needed the kitchen garden to be able to look after itself. Enter the solar powered self watering system. The sun charges a water pump that brings water from a rain barrel up to the planter and this solar drip irrigation system waters the herbs through emitters that give the plants exactly the right amount of water.The geometric pattern of the cedar wood adds visual interest, and the Japanese shou sugi ban (焼杉板) finish gives it that modern look I was going for. The storage totes make the whole system modular and portable, so if you live in a rental or have other reasons for container gardening or not wanting a permanent raised garden bed, this is a fantastic project to give you a place to grow a few things, bring your herbs closer to your kitchen, and can be an awesome decorative feature to your deck, patio or outdoor space.

For a tutorial on the Shou Sugi Ban technique head on over to my website.

The plans for this project can be found here:

More in-depth video instructions can be found by joining my Patreon Crew.

Video by the ever talented Jacqueline at

I’m Anne of All Trades. In NASHVILLE, I have a woodworking, blacksmithing and fabrication shop, a selection of furry friends, and an organic farm. Whether you’ve got the knowledge, tools, time or space to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, everything is “figureoutable.” I became “Anne of All Trades” out of necessity. With no background in farming or making things, I wanted to learn to raise my own food, fix things when they break, and build the things I need. 8 years ago I got my first pet, planted my first seed and picked up my first tool. Get a better roadmap of how to grow deep roots and live the life you want subscribing to this channel and look for NEW VIDEOS EVERY WEEK!

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My goal is to learn and share traditional techniques and skills while showing my peers how to get from where they are to where they want to go, how to do the things they are passionate about, and what can be done TODAY to engage their own community and grow deep roots. Whether it’s carving spoons, making my own hand tools, restoring my antique truck or growing heirloom tomatoes, the farm and workshop definitely keep me busy and support- whether financially through Patreon, through shopping my affiliate links, through buying merchandise, plans or project videos, or even just liking, commenting, and sharing my content with others helps me GREATLY to keep producing quality content to share.

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The solar drip kit I used in this video:

Check out my Amazon Store- shop all my favorite items from business building books and resources to tools I use in the shop, to products I use around the farm!



Anne of All Trades November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm Reply
Arcobaleno nell'orto November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

where can I buy a solar pump like the one in this video?

Julian Chang November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Hi Anne. Inspirational video as always. May I know what is the torch being used for that wood burning? is it the same as a weedkiller brazing torch?

Pollog Moody November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Are those food grade plastic bins?

Anne of All Trades November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

If you liked this video, I bet you'd like this one too! Thanks for being here friend!

Wolf Woodworking Creations November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

As an environmental scientist I am so glad you know the difference between soil and dirt, most people dont but as a farmer I knew you would. So why did I say anything? yeah…… why did I say anything?……oh crap………….I …was NEVER here. (PooF)……….(PooF)……..awesome video Anne, I may build some next year, bye…..(PooF)

Sean Miller November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Have you seen Wild Wonderful Off Grid? They Shou Sugi Ban'd their whole house exterior.

Kayla! November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

This woman is going to singlehandedly teach me how to make my dream farm💯

Carolina Design November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Another awesome video, thanks for sharing and keeping people inspired.

Matt Moody November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

"Fried okra", you say? Let's just take a little walk to the garden! 😉

Matt Moody November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Thanks for reminding me, I have to place an order from Real Milk Paint Company

Matt Moody November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Using the existing bins as soil containers also mean you don't have to decide how big to make the planter, at least the width and depth, the height is the only remaining determination. Well done!

Adam O' Driscoll November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Do u ride horses

MR Zon November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Looks good could meket the top a frame with a lip that just drops over the edge if you where going to rotate tubs regularly . I was also told .. many years ago not to use fire on concrete as it can pop chunks out if there are air bubbles.

I Enjoy Creating Videos November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Nice job on the raised garden Anne! Thank you for sharing the video with us!💖👍👌😎JP

Nate Bolton November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

I really dig this.

KaiRoland8 November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

How easy would it be to make the top boards into a connected frame that works on a hinge? I imagine that might make a "modular" design easier?

Chris Simmons November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Surprising number of projects based on moving boxes … LOL.

RM Clark November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Well son of a gun….I have 8 large tubs that I needed to do something with and I've been drawing up plans for raised bed garden ideas and now I see you've done most of the hard work for me. Thanks Anne 🙂

Richard Hart November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Nice prodgect love the out takes

David Mm November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

$10 is rather cheap. Around here, buying that much cedar and pressure treated would be probably closer to $30 and two containers like that are probably another $20-$30 dollars. Just saying.

Thomas Tieffenbacher/DocSavage45 November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Anne, I've got a few totes might build one. On the list! LOL!

Don Dicey November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Please send the link for the solar pump and filter system. I am doing a green roof and this looks perfect for my needs. Thanks.

dddriller1 November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

just be carefull of burning near the concrete you can pop it and it pops unnervingly nice build

Charles Shanafelt November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

What a great life you have, every day you get up and look out the window and if it is not raining, you get to go out and play with all the ideas you have. If it raining, you play with indoor ideas and we all get to watch. You're the best!

Clark42EoC November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

The out takes at the end were pure gold.

Clark42EoC November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

The ad they aired to me before this video was an attack on raised beds…lol wow YouTube.

Kanzee November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

🤣👍hahahah….0:43 to cute… I need more TYME! ⌚️
2:06..🤣👍 ..cover that Butt Joint …LOL
3:06 ..💦💦 I like to drill my drain holes at the end of the tote…1 – 1 1/2 inches high from the bottom (serves as a small resevoir) …and drill on the ends of the tote, to direct the flow of the drainage, into another pot or tote below….that soil leeched water, is gold to alot of plants…should not be wasted.
5:13 …You Hubby Adam has got the eye for ancient luxuriant pieces…well done.
Great job to Anne's Videographer Jacqueline …nice clear close ups / zoom detail shots. 😎👍🌟🌟🌟
9:41 😂🤣👍…*BLOOPER REEL*

Brad Leverton November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Loved the sea of Red tools in the video. Milwaukee makes awesome tools! I love mine!

NGinuity November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

This is a fantastic idea. I have a ton of those totes from storage unit auction leftovers.

Figments Made November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

So darned versatile and nice looking! And it would have taken me 70 takes to get the name of the project right! 😅

Mark's engineering November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Awesome work , stylish design yet relatively easy to build 👍👍, and the plastic totes are "totally" a brilliant idea 😀

brucelee12 November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

The wood burning technique is super interesting, thanks Anne.

Bill Carroll November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Awesome job on that planter, looks fantastic. 👍🏾
Loving the out takes of your videos, keep em coming! 😆

Survival Preparedness For Beginners. November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

What a great idea..

Casey Lotspeich November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

I want this!!!

Michael Lubecke November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Anne…great project… thank you for sharing!!

Gary Novak November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Donkeys! Every video should have donkeys!

kelby frazier November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

This is really cool!

Darin Netherland November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Thanks for the self watering tip! Been planning a planter bed near my shed where there’s a lot of sun, but no electricity, and I know I wouldn’t remember to regularly water. This is pricey, but will result in actually having growing plants.

Lisa Archer November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Great idea and build. I am curious if you would have any concern about "chemicals" leaching out of the plastic bins into our vegetables. (?) 🙂

Tony Burelle November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

That came out great, wasn't sure about the burnt finish, but it looks good

Flying Pig Preserve November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Very Nice Planter. Also kinda simply. Enjoy and Peace be with you all

Brian Prusa November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Everything’s fine.

Hi There November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

After this I'm tempted to do a box herb garden🌱

captwalker November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Next episode:

"Today I'll be showing you how to build a she sells seashells by the seashore complete with a solar powered -rubber baby buggy bumper-"

jackiecas1 November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

The best video EVEEEER 🤯

Heino Kaljuve November 20, 2020 - 2:29 pm

Regular Flower chafer – what to be afraid about?! 😀


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