Loving my lettuce table

by Comments (25)

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Several years ago, I saw a picture of a lettuce table in a magazine and knew it was something that I wanted to eventually make for myself. The idea appealed to both my green thumb and my crafty side. When I started writing my book, Raised Bed Revolution, I decided that this project had been lingering on my garden wish list for long enough. And a new book project provided the perfect opportunity to get my act in gear and finally make the darned thing.

The lettuce table has been a very popular project. It’s one of the main projects brought up in interviews and you can find how-to instructions on Creative Green Living and the DIY Network’s Made+Remade blog.

lettuce table

Some of the greens I planted in my lettuce table right after it was built.

What’s so special about this particular lettuce table?

Rather than just build a table from brand new lumber, I wanted to add a little style to this DIY in the book. Originally I was on the hunt for vintage legs (I was going to build a box to sit on top of them separately), but as I was strolling through an antique market not far from my home, I came across this lovely little vintage find. The vendor apologized and explained that the table’s top was not nailed down, but could easily be reattached. I suspect the top and bottom were not originally a true pair, but I wasn’t bothered because the lack of a top was actually a bonus! It made it easier to come up with a plan to transform the old piece into my lettuce table. I had my vintage legs, but I also had a great frame to work from to make the top.

My lettuce table proudly sits on the back deck and features all sorts of greens throughout the season: radicchio, Red Sails lettuce, baby pak choy, Lolla rosa darkness lettuce, Tuscan baby leaf kale and ‘Red Garnet’ amaranth. I love being able to snip my own salads! What do you think?

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Make a lettuce table out of an old table

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25 Responses to Loving my lettuce table

  1. Joy says:

    The lettuce table is a great idea. How did you waterproof the inside so the wood won’t deteriorate? I’d like to do something like this for a winter salad bed here in southern Arizona.

    • Tara Nolan says:

      Hi Joy, to be honest, I didn’t waterproof the inside. You could line the sides (not the bottom) with plastic as a layer of protection between wet soil and the wood. I brought my table indoors over the winter to store.

  2. Christine says:

    I was wondering what you put on the bottom of your table. Did you use wood that hale holes in it to allow for drainage or did you line the bottom with something before putting the soil in it?

    • Tara Nolan says:

      Hi Christine,
      I took the top off the table and attached hardware cloth, which is like chicken wire, but with smaller holes, to the bottom. Then I flipped the table over and lined this “basket” area with landscape fabric and filled with soil. Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Tara

    Could I use this in a roundup on my blog with one photo and a link back please?


  4. Gerry Buck says:

    It is now August of 2016, has your book been published and where can I find it?
    I’ve been trying to find a book of ideas for DIY projects, and raised garden beds is just the thing, after 25 years behind the wheel, I can no longer bend over to work in a garden and I miss that.

  5. Donna Ross says:

    It looks great, but can you be sure the table does not contain any lead paint or other harmful chemicals which may affect the produce?

    • Tara Nolan says:

      Hi Donna,
      That’s a good question… what I usually recommend is if you’re unsure what the wood has been coated with, then line the inside of your table with plastic!

  6. bee says:

    This is a cool project and I have the perfect table. But, I’m disappointed that you have detailed instructions (put on your gloves?! HAHA), but nothing at all about how to finish the table for outdoor use. . . especially because the moist soil will quickly rot the wood from the inside.

    • Tara Nolan says:

      Hi Bee,
      I mentioned the following to another reader: You could line the sides (not the bottom) with plastic as a layer of protection between wet soil and the wood. I brought my table indoors over the winter to store. As for the outside, if you are looking to add a layer of protective coating to the wood on the outside of the table, I would be sure to use something non-toxic.

  7. rocci Ledoux says:

    Awesome idea. Thank you for your inspiration.

  8. Corinne Webb says:

    What an inspiring idea! I plan to take on this project with the children who live next door. It’s a great intro to gardening for a busy young family!

  9. Alexis says:

    love this idea and can NOT wait to create my own! Thanks for this awesome inspo!

  10. Pratishtha says:

    It is a great idea. I am trying to do the same sort of thing with my wooden drawer. Thanks for this lovely idea.

  11. linda says:

    this is a great idea, i have an old organ bench i plan to use, but Im gonna leave the top on and brace it so I can put netting on it to keep the critters out.
    one question…what is the best depth for the lettuce?

  12. Ryan P Casey says:

    What is the length and depth of your table?

    • Ryan P Casey says:

      At that size, could you grow spinach, lettuce (2 or 3 types), arugula, radishes, parsley, and basil? (enough for 2 people)

      Can you harvest the entire spring and fall growing season?

      How many days between harvests?

    • Tara Nolan says:

      My table is about 3 feet long and about 4 inches deep. I can grow lettuces, spinach, and other greens. I could also grow herbs if I kept plants small. It’s not quite deep enough for root veggies. You’ll have to plant lettuce more than once to enjoy it in the spring and fall. When summer temperatures get too hot, it tends to bolt. Herbs you’ll be able to harvest throughout the spring, summer, and fall until they go to see. Keep pinching basil to prevent it from flowering.

  13. Paula says:

    I love my table that was repurposed last year. I’m sad I can’t get anything to grow. How often and how much water for the lettuce? I overwatered and ended up with mildew. I wheeled outside and ended up with bugs when I brought it back in. I want to try again so do you have pointers? I live in Las Vegas,NV zone 9a and my windows do not have direct sunlight.

    • Tara Nolan says:

      Hi Paula, what’s along the bottom of your lettuce table? It sounds as though the water isn’t draining well. I usually water daily in the summer because of the heat, it’s a shallower garden, and because the water drains quickly from the bottom.

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