By: Marina Delio
If you’re ready to plant a garden but don’t have much space or don’t want to invest in raised beds, pallet gardening may be just the answer! Add a splash of color to a patio with an upright pallet bursting with flowers, grasses or succulents, or grow your own herbs in a simple pallet planter. Here’s how to get started.
Where to Find Pallets
Check your community’s classifieds in the free section for individuals wanting to get rid of pallets. Locally owned nurseries are another good place to start. They have frequent shipments of soil coming in on pallets and are often happy to give you one if you explain you would like to use it for a garden project.
Tip: Check the free section of online classifieds to find other businesses getting rid of pallets.
Choosing the Right Pallet
Before hauling your pallet home, it’s important to examine it and make sure it is safe to use. It’s important to be cautious if you intend to grow edibles in your pallet garden because pallets used to ship food may contain harmful bacteria.
- Consider purchasing new pallets or constructing your own, especially if edible plants are your goal.
- Pallets are either chemically or heat-treated. Look for a pallet stamped with an “HT,” indicating it has been heat treated, to avoid contaminating your edible plants.
- Choose a pallet that is clean and free of splinters, broken boards and protruding nails.
- Give your pallet a good sanitizing scrub once it’s home, and always wash your produce thoroughly if you do choose to grow food in your pallet.
Pallet Herb, Fruit or Vegetable Garden
Open spaces between pallet slats are ideal for dividing rows of small plants. Herbs, lettuce and strawberries are perfect choices for starting.
- Staple some landscape fabric tightly across the back, bottom and sides of the pallet
- Lay the pallet on the ground face up, and fill with planting soil
- Press the soil firmly into all the nooks of the pallet
- Water the soil so it’s damp, and make wells between the slats for the plants to rest in
- Tuck plants into the wells with a few inches of space between them for growth
- Fill in any spaces with additional soil
- Water your pallet garden often and enjoy your harvest
Vertical Gardens for Small Spaces
Upright pallet gardens are perfect for brightening up small spaces. Pretty choices include herbs, succulents, grasses, moss and flowers. Just like in the flat pallet garden above, wrap the back, sides and bottom of the pallet with landscape fabric.
- Chicken wire can be stapled behind the fabric for reinforcement.
- Instead of leaving space between plants, place your plants close together in the wells so soil will not fall out once the pallet is moved upright.
- Water your pallet garden frequently, and allow the roots to grow into the soil for about a week before placing it up against a wall or fence.
- Hang your garden on brackets mounted onto a wall, or simply lean it against the wall.
What would you plant in your pallet garden: veggies, fruits, succulents or flowers? Share your ideas in the comments section below!
Marina Delio is the author of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen blog and cookbook. She lives in Santa Barbara with husband, two little girls, cat, and egg laying chickens. Marina loves cooking, gardening, photography, and living a healthy lifestyle with her family.