Many of us often say we’d like to create a home garden, but can’t find the time, space or money. We also don’t understand the various types of soils combinations needed to get the ground ready for crops and flowers. So another season passes by, but our wishful thinking doesn’t stop.
Welcome to the functional world of pallet gardening, a simple way to create a vegetable or flower garden that fits your lifestyle, budget, and personal space.
With pallet gardening, you decide how big your garden will be.
When we designed our garden, we based it on a few ‘ground rules’:
Create square foot gardens for most efficient use of space
Design it based on anticipated yields: (vegetables, herbs, flowers)
Use chemical-free wood
Spend as little time and money as possible
Make it a family activity
Pallet Container Gardening Tutorial
The first thing you need to do is find pallets. Supermarkets and home centers are great places to start. There’s no need to go dumpster diving since pallets are usually neatly stacked on top of each other on the pavement in the back of supermarkets and home centers.
Take a good look at the pallets you want to bring home and don’t just take the first pallet you find. You’re looking for ones with all the boards in good condition, no sharp nails, and no rotting or splintering sides. If you plan to harvest vegetables in your pallet, you will want to find heat-treated pallets as opposed to those that are fumigated with pesticides. And yes, I did ask before I took my pallets, and was told, “Sure, help yourself!”.
Pallets are symmetrical, free, and row-ready, and can be set up in one lazy afternoon with time left over for a siesta. They are designed in uniform rows, making them ideal for square foot gardening and no weeding. The height is perfect for strong root development, and they are self- contained, which makes for easy moving or repositioning.
If you have a small yard or live in a condo, pallet gardening is an excellent solution. You can set the pallet vertically against a wall, fill it with soil and seeds and enjoy your harvest in very little time. No hammers, nails, churning up the current soil or weeding!
Collect your pallets and head to your nearest home center to purchase the following:
landscape ground cover (enough to wrap all around your pallets)
gardening soil for flowers and vegetables (enough to fill your pallets)
staple gun and nails
vegetable, herb or flower seeds
scissors (optional if you don’t have a set at home)
Once home, unroll your landscape ground cover. Lay a pallet on top of the ground cover and cut approximately 8” additional cover around the exterior of the pallet.
Next, use the staple gun to attach the ground cover to one side of the pallet. I found it so fun to staple the nails along the edges of the pallet, since it’s the deadliest weapon I’ll handle!
Cover up and around ALL the sides and back of the pallet so the soil will not leach out when you water. When the top of the landscape fabric is securely attached to the first side, smooth the fabric down along all the sides and across the back, fold and tuck under before stapling. Repeat this process along all edges to secure. You should now have a pallet with landscape fabric wrapped around the sides, back, and bottom.
Position your pallets. We set out twelve pallets in our backyard garden using a 3 row by 4-row design. Be sure to allow at least 12″ along each side of the pallet to walk around in order to water, harvest and replant throughout the year. Add your gardening soil to the inside of the pallet, filling completely to the top, as the soil will settle once watered.
Plant each row with seeds according to the recommended planting instructions.
Tip: If you need a wider row, remove 1 plank to give you a wider space for larger vegetables.
You can write on the pallet with permanent marker to identify each row, but this may erase as you water. Another suggestion is to create a layout of your garden design. Next to each pallet or row, list the date of planting and what was planted. Or write what was planted on a 64 oz. jug lid (think milk and juice jugs), and set inside the proper rows.
Water as directed. A soaker or mister hose is ideal for new seedlings. In less than a week, your labor will start to yield results.
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