Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy & Free

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Pallet Gardens. How to install a pallet garden, low cost gardening you can do anywhere.

Pallet Gardening; Simple, Easy & Free

It’s all the craze lately (and honestly I don’t know what took us so long), the art of re-purposing pallets. The pallet patent was granted in 1939 to two men who I consider the  grandfathers  of my new pallet world. Go on Pinterest one time and search pallets and you will be there for hours in awe of the amazing things you can build with these multipurpose  inventions.

It kills me to think how many thousands of these idea-inspiring pallets went into the landfill and started bonfires over the last 80 + years.

One inspiration I am truly fond of is pallet gardening. We live on the east coast on less than 1/3 acre with lots of shade and poor soil. In pursuit to live a sustainable lifestyle we have tried almost every form of gardening; traditional rows, container gardening, raised beds, vertical gardening, hydroponic gardening, you name it I’m willing to give it a shot.  Some of the methods were very expensive and the rewards did not compensate for the cost of production. Then I found it, Pallet Gardening (insert angels singing here)!!!

With pallet gardening you do not need a lot of space or soil, it is a great garden for renters too because you don’t disturb the existing soil. As a bonus, one can find pallets for free almost on every corner.

What you will need to plant your Simple, Easy & Free Pallet Garden:

  • Pallets(s)
  • Filter Cloth
  • Staple Gun
  • Soil Mix
  • Broom
  • Seeds
  • Water Can or hose

Where to find pallets and what to look for

While pallets can be found free on every corner, not all pallets are created equal. When shopping for these free treasures there are a couple of things you need to look for to make sure they are safe for use in the garden you are going to want pressure treated and not chemical treated.
Click on this link for the guidelines 

Places you may be able to find free pallets

  • Grocery Stores
  • Landscape businesses
  • Nursery’s
  • Furniture Stores
  • New Construction sites
  • Lumber yards
  • Craigslist

Instructions for starting your Simple, Easy & Free (or almost free) Pallet Garden

  1. Locate a place in your yard that gets 6-8 hours of sun a day, is close to a water source, and heavy traffic. If you don’t walk by your garden daily you are likely to forget about caring for your plants.
  2. Clean your pallet with a scrub brush, soap and water
  3. Using your staple gun, staple the filter cloth to the bottom of the pallet and the two open ends
  4. Flip pallet over with filter cloth on bottom and place in desired location, you can not move the pallet once the soil is in place so chose location wisely
  5. Fill pallet with soil mix * and brush with broom until soil is pushed under all the slats
  6. Sow your seeds
  7. Water and enjoy!!

As I said before our soil here by the coast is poor, so when we plant a garden we have to add our soil. I have had great success with this soil mix but you can use any mix you are happy with.

 

What can you plant in your pallet? More like what can’t you plant  in your pallet. As you will see, the pallets are not very thick in-depth so you will not be able to plant any root vegetables, fruit trees, or deep-rooted vegetables.

Some ideas of pallet crops (but not limited to)

Lettuce

Spinach

Collards

Bok Choy

Radish

Green onions

Green beans

Peas

Strawberries

Melons

Peppers

Flowers

Herbs of all types

Cucumbers

Squash and Zucchini

and so much more!!!

If you read Mel Barthmarolomew ‘s book Square Foot Gardening (one of my favorite gardening books) you can see that you will be able to plant a lot in a little bit of space.

How we built our garden for free

  • Pallets were free from a local landscapers.
  • Compost manure was free from a local chicken farmer
  • Peat moss I had from last year
  • a neighbor gave me a left over bag of top soil
  • Plants were volunteers from our compost pile
  • The only cost I had this year was the filter cloth which I bought for $5.00 at dollar general and it covered two pallets
  • Even if you can’t score the freebies like we did you should still have less than a $20.00 investment. Not bad for fresh, all natural home-grown produce

*Coastal Soil Mix

  • 1/3 Organic Manure (we use chicken and turkey)
  • 1/3 Peat Moss or Coconut Husk
  • 1/3 Organic Compost (or top soil is fine)

Depending on how many pallets you are planting will determine how much soil you will need. Without exact measurement I was able to fill one pallet with (1) wheelbarrow full of my mix.

How does your pallet garden grow??

 

Free gardening using pallets, a how-to guide

Step #1 Staple filter cloth to the bottoms and sides of your pallets

 

Installing a free pallet garden

Step #2 Mix Soil

 

How to install a free pallet garden

Step #3 place pallet where you want it and add soil. Use a broom to push soil in all the nooks and crannies

Pallet Gardens. How to install a pallet garden, low cost gardening you can do anywhere.

Step #4 add your plants, keep watered and enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Comments

  1. […] If you haven’t already read my blog about my free pallet garden  do so here […]
  2. […] (notice the word ‘practice’ as I am not an expert and everything is trial and error): Pallet gardening, Vertical Gardening, Row Gardening, Permaculture, Companion planting,  Square Foot gardening, […]
  3. […] a look at her post about her free garden and while you’re there, check out the rest of her blog. I love her concept of homesteading on […]
  4. […] It kills me to think how many thousands of these idea inspiring pallets went into the landfill and started bonfires over the last 80 + years Read more from The Coastal Homestead Here […]
  5. […] Pallet Gardens; Simple, Easy and Free by The Coastal Homestead […]
  6. […] Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free […]
  7. […] Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free […]
  8. J Adams on April 18, 2016 at 4:09 pm
    Do you know why there are so many pallets FOR FREE? It's because they are TOO TOXIC FOR LANDFILLS. This is the perfect example of how our food supply becomes compromised. You do not know where that pallet has been, how many times it has been used and even pressure treated pallets can be sprayed in a subsequent shipping use. This is the stupidest, most dreadful, and deadly idea I've ever seen. Years ago I worked at a pharmaceutical company. After the Tylenol deaths, it was up to us to figure out why people died. It wasn't because someone opened bottles of Tylenol and put poison in them -- it's because the chemicals from the pallets soaked through to the medicine. That's the honest-to-God truth. Do NOT reuse pallets. Dangerous and stupid. There's no way I'd eat anything from this garden even if I were starving. Just stupid.
    • The Coastal Homestead on April 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm
      Thank you for your concern, however I do cover the safety issues in this paragraph in the article with a link showing how to find safe pallets to use: "Where to find pallets and what to look for" While pallets can be found free on every corner, not all pallets are created equal. When shopping for these free treasures there are a couple of things you need to look for to make sure they are safe for use in the garden you are going to want pressure treated and not chemical treated. Click on this link for the guidelines " I am in the contracting business and have talked to several people in the lumber industry, the approved 'safe' pallets, are not chemically treated and are the same as using non-treated wood that many use for raised beds that we buy at lumber yards. If you have read any of my other post, you will know I am extremely passionate about our environment, reducing chemical exposure and teach classes at a local college helping others to go green by reducing their need and dependency for toxins and chemicals. I never intentionally recommend using anything that will leach chemicals into our soil, foods or waterways, not even collecting rainwater off of shingle roofs. I am also concerned about the amount of waste that go into our landfills, by which do accept pallets but charge for bulk waste so many businesses offer these for free instead of paying for removal, so I found this recycled idea to be warranted. While I appreciate your concern (I wish more had your passion) I can assure you, your target was unwarranted, as I know those that read the article in it's entirety will find out.
      • Susan on April 26, 2016 at 6:41 pm
        Oops! The 2010 recall WAS blamed on the pesticide used to treat wood pallets. Please excuse my failure to check that out. I was unaware of the problem until today.
        • The Coastal Homestead on April 26, 2016 at 6:57 pm
          In my opinion, that was a questionable culprit (the pallets)- The fact that the toxins are so strong on pallets they leached out of the wood, through the boxes, through the plastic bottles and into the capsules, raises questions in my mind. When in essence, all of our food and products are shipped on pallets. I feel if they are so toxic that there would be more cases by now and some type of media coverage, but I am sure the Tylenol Corp. did there due diligence in finding who was responsible for their medicine recall ass it certainly couldn't have been their trusted product. I always state my articles are for information only and it is the responsibility of the reader to do further research if something I wrote about interest them. I myself, found several pallets I felt safe in suing for my garden for a couple of years and I was very happy with the results. It is always good to error on the side of caution when in doubt.
    • Susan on April 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm
      The 1982 Tylenol crisis is covered in the Wikipedia article entitled "Chicago Tylenol Murders". It's very clear that the culprit poisoned Tylenol capsules that he had stolen from stores and put back on the store shelves after adding cyanide. The cause of people's deaths had nothing to do with pallets.
  9. antibiotic augmentin on June 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm
    Hooray! I did find my own way of doing these pallets and have already started planting my first one! I was amazed at how much space one has in these to grow and also to fill. I lay 4 x 8 landscape timbers around the exteriors and two pallets fit nicely into them! Thanks so much for giving us all such a wonderful idea for gardening and being disabled, this is a very easy way for me to garden.
    • The Coastal Homestead on June 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm
      Thank you so much and congratulations!Please feel free to share pictures, I would love to see your garden. I also love the idea of framing it out, perfect!

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