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:
- Filter Cloth
- Staple Gun
- Soil Mix
- 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
- Furniture Stores
- New Construction sites
- Lumber yards
Instructions for starting your Simple, Easy & Free (or almost free) Pallet Garden
- 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.
- Clean your pallet with a scrub brush, soap and water
- Using your staple gun, staple the filter cloth to the bottom of the pallet and the two open ends
- 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
- Fill pallet with soil mix * and brush with broom until soil is pushed under all the slats
- Sow your seeds
- 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)
Herbs of all types
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??