I am now going to show you how to put your grow box together. It is very simple if you use a wooden frame to align all the pieces. If you don't use a frame it will be very difficult to get all the components straight. In the picture below I show one grow box that I have put together using the wooden frame. Make sure you make a frame it will save you a lot of aggravation. Below is a picture of a grow box with wooden frame I used to put it together.
The first thing to do is to pour a foundation for the grow box. I just got some 2x4's and made a foundation 25 inches square. This is a good place to get ride of all the components you have poured that may have broke or didn't turn out right. Just put them into the concrete so that nothing is wasted. Make sure the base is level. Always remember to add fiber or if you want put some pieces of rebar in the base. The rebar should be about an inch above soil. Below is a picuture of a base I poured.
I am now going to show you how to make the frame. I made the frame out of some 1x2's. First thing you want to do is cut eight boards 36 inches long. Screw them together making 4 corners. Put a screw in teh top, middle and bottom. Make a mark every six inches on the inside corners. These will the marks that determine the heigth of each corner brick.
Next you want to cut eight boards 24 inches long. These are going to attach the four corners together forming a box. Make sure the boards are cut exactly to this length. All these boards should end exactly at the outside corner like in the picture below
Now screw the boards onto the bottom and top of the corners. You may have to pre-drill to avoid splitting the wood. Using pan head screw helps. Get a square and check the box all over. Make sure everything is square. Next you want take it apart a board at time, glue all the joints expect for two opposite corners. This is so that you can split the frame in order to get it off the grow box after you have mortored all the components together. Like in the picture below.
Notice I have also overlaped a couple of boards on the right hand corner of the picture above.This is to help keep the box square. Screw the two corners together with three screws a piece. You know have a completed frame. Set it on top of the base you have poured and you are now ready to put together a grow box. It may also be a good idea to put a diagnal boar across the top to make sure that the frame is square. To check to see if it is square measure from corner to corner. The measurments should be the same.
Set your frame on the base make sure everything is level and square. Mix up a batch of mortar. 3 parts sand, one part cement, one part lime. Put some fiber in your mortar. Put some mortar in each corner where the block is going to go. Place the corner brick in each corner. Make sure the tabs are in the right direction the tabs will angle up and out. Place the corner brick in each corner at a 45 degree angle. Next place your shelves on top of the tabs. Make sure that everything is level and square. Next put mortar around the cracks in corners and the bottom at lease 1/2 inch thick you don't want it to crack later and leak. Smooth the mortar with brush and make sure all the cracks are filled. You now have a pool for water. I also coat the inside with waterproof silicone caulk after the concrete has cured. This will help seal it. The cheapest place I have found for waterproof silicone is Wal-Mart three dollars for a tube. Let the silicone dry and fill with water to see if it leaks. Remove most of the water. Next get three pieces of 3/4 inch concrete and place in the center ( broken shelving works good). Put you bowl on top of the pieces directly in the center like in the picture below.
Next add another level of bricks and shelving. All corner bricks should stay level with the marks on the inside of the wooden frame. Make sure you put a good amount of mortar where the shelves meet the corner bricks. Smooth with a small piece of pipe. You do not want any rough edges or it will scrape your hands when planting. Remember to add fiber to your mortar. It will make the completed boxes a lot stronger.
Fill the bowl with soil all the way up to the level of the lip of the bowl and bottom of shelving like in the picture below. Mix up a small batch of concrete and cover the bottom. Make sure the concrete goes on top of the lip of the bow and along the bottom of the shelving. Make it about an inch thick. After the concrete has hardened dig out the soil from around the bowl and fill with water. Continue adding more levels and fill the the grow box with your soil mix. You now have a completed grow box ready for planting. I like this pool of water at the bottom. It will show you if you have enough water dripping through grow box and helps to keep the grow box watered. If you have a drip system going and the pool at the bottom is dry it shows you that the plants have used up all the water and your soil is going to dry out.
If you want to put another grow box on top of the completed grow box put the frame on top with a wooden shim across each corner. Level the box. Put in another level. Put in some dirt so that you can pour a concrete floor in the bottom. This will strengthen the box and help keep the soil from compacting due to the weight of the soil. Put a several holes through the concrete. This is so when you put a drip system on the top of the box the water will flow down through the entire grow box. Below is a picture of the concrete floor I have poured in the bottom of the grow box that I have put on top of another grow box. Keep building your grow box until you reach the top of the frame.