The photo depicts my first ‘gobo box’ . I wood burned the door with the enchanting Burdock image found in Susun Weed’s book, Healing Wise. Her chapter on burdock gives one a whole new way of looking at burdock!
Basically, you are making a tall, wooden , open-ended box. One side is hinged. I secure the door shut using plastic electrical ties that draw the door tightly closed. The ties are also easy to clip when you are ready to open the box for harvesting the roots in Autumn.
I used cedar for the wood. Don’t use treated wood. You will need one ¾ inch x 12 inch wide x 10 feet long board. Cut the board into four equal lengths or 30 inches each. You will need to cut one of the four boards again so you end up with two pieces, one that measures 26 inch in length and one that measures 4 inch in length. The 26” piece is the “hinged door” and the 4” piece serves as a stationary face board or lip underneath the hinged door. The top and bottom of the box are left open. You are basically making a wooden square tube!
Secure three hinges along the right or left side of the door – whatever direction you want it to open. Screw in three sets of eyes. Thread the plastic electrical ties through the eyes and pull tight. I find it helps to use a needle nose plier to pull the tie really tight in an awkward location.
You now have a secure box to fill with rich soil. Be sure to let the soil settle with a couple of rains before seeding. If you seed it too early the plants emerge three to five inches below the box’s top edge. You don’t need to set the box into the dirt. It stands secure on its own once you fill it with soil. You can direct seed or start plants earlier in the spring and transplant them to the box. I generally grow only one burdock plant per box.
cedar board – one board measuring 3/4 inch x 12 inch wide x 10 feet long board cut into four equal lengths
four 1″ x 1″wood pieces each measuring 30″ long to use as corner braces
3 hinges w/screws
2 or 3 large screw eyes
woodcarving tool (optional) sandpaper (medium & fine grain)
pencil & paper
needle nose pliers
STEP ONE: Cutting & gathering the wood materials
Cut a 10 foot cedar board into four 30 inch boards. Cut one of the four 30 inch boards again into two sections, one measuring 26 inches so that the a remaining piece measures 4 inches.
Stack of materials ready to assemble: four side panels and four 1″ x 1″ corner braces
STEP TWO: Decorating the door panel
Original sketch drawing placed on wood panel for engraving
Carve sketch on to wood panel BEFORE assembling the box. (optional)
Engrave sketch using an electric engraver tool.
Engraved sketch highlighted with paint
STEP THREE: Building the sides & bracing the interior walls
Secure 3 of 4 panels using screws or nails
Nail or screw 1″ x 1″ corner braces.
Secure all four 1″ x 1″ braces to corners, including the “open” door side.
Upright view of Gobo Box showing four braces secured to three side panels.
Arrange front engraved panel so the top edges align with the open end.
Nail the 4″ panel piece below the engraved panel so it aligns with the bottom edge of the box.
Note: only the 26″ panel serves as the door to the box which is later hung using hinge hardware.
STEP FOUR: Securing the door
Hinges and screws you need to secure the door.
Many times you can also find these items at resale shops.
The indispensable zip tie! I use them to “lock” the door to the side panel threaded through the metal hook loops.
Hint: A screw driver really helps to turn the keyhole screw into the edge of the panel.
Thread a zip tie through the two key hole screws.
Secured door to panel.
Secured door on upright box.
Hint: Helpful, but optional, to secure the door using three hook eye combinations and ties.
Hinges secure door to side panel.
STEP SIX: Finished Gobo Box ready for soil and planting
Completed Gobo Box ready for planting!
Add a good quality soil with compost to get your plants off to a strong start.
Fill the box to the top. Water and wait a couple of days before planting to allow for the soil to settle.
HARVESTING THE BURDOCK ROOTS
Remove the electrical ties to open the door exposing fine rootlets in soil at first sight.
Hint: Place a tarp or some material to catch the soil from the box. It makes it easier to re-fill the box for another season once you’ve unearthed the roots.
Carefully pull soil away from the roots to expose the beautiful fleshy roots! Beautiful unearthed burdock roots!
Harvested roots displayed on back of burdock leaf.
Remove soil from the roots prior to taking them to the kitchen for processing.
Placing the roots in a tub, spray them with a high force hose setting quickly removes the soil.
Give the roots one final scrub in the kitchen before using in your favorite recipe.