Pallets are widely used in shipping as a structural foundation. They are available for free all over the city as a result, making for a great recycled building material!
Pallet gardens are easy to assemble and have proven to be very functional and versatile for a variety of vertical garden projects. First of all, you need to do is to find a pallet. Many supermarkets put them in dumpsters before sending them to a recycling centre, and you can try to get them for free from a hardware store like Home Depot or Reno Depot. Once you’ve dragged your pallet home, give it a look over. Nail down any loose boards, and use sand paper to smooth down any rough spots. and wash it. For a pallet garden, you have to leave the spaces between the slats and the top uncovered because you’re going to plant flowers in the uncovered spaces. So, decide which side of the pallet represents the bottom when it is completed. Lean it against a wall to take advantage of vertical growing, placing it according to your plants sunlight needs.
WHAT PALLETS ARE SAFE TO USE?
To avoid invasive species, pallet manufacturers are required to treat the wood on pallets before shipping. Each pallet must undergo either a process of heat treatment or fumigation. Therefore, when looking for pallets that have undergone this process, gardeners should look for the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo on the pallet. On the logo will either be heat treated (HT) or kiln dried, or methyl bromide (MB).
In short, HT is good, MB is bad. Pallets without marks are mostly used in local shipment which is less likely to be treated but user should check for any spill or marks and use with caution.
Treatment to the pallet
- Wash the pallet thoroughly with hot, soapy water and allow it to dry thoroughly.
- Consider sealing the pallet (with something natural, such as linseed oil.)
- If want to paint the pallet choose paint that is safer to use: water-base latex paint for example.
- Old pallet
- Landscape fabric (geotextile)
- A staple gun and staples
- A 30 litre bag of compost
- A 30 litre bag of potting soil
- Flowers, herbs, plants which grow well in your lighting conditions.
Types of Pallet Gardens
1. The Popular and Easy Way
This style of pallet garden is the popular and easy way as it doesn`t require too much work or design.
After preparing the pallet, measure and cut geo-textile to create a large pocket with the top open. Place 2 pockets in each main section thus sealing the back and the bottom of the pallet . Cut out holes on each layer between slats to create the holes in which to place your plants.
Plants are watered from above. Ideally this model is left horizontal for one month while the roots establish. Then it is placed vertically leaning up on a wall. This system is watered from above, which can result in unequal watering.
2. The Pocket Planter
As suggested by this website, this smaller pocket method can work better than the popular large pocket planter (as mentioned above) as you can ensure plants are watered more equally.
Pallets come in a variety of designs and sizes, so projects will vary based on what materials you come across. Board can be removed by sawing them off to create larger spaces between the boards. Removed boards can also be nailed in empty spaces (such as the back of the pallet) to create more structure to attach your pockets to. This model can be placed vertically right away.
3. Pallet Shelf
This is another pallet garden with shelves that is more flexible in design. A pallet is sawed apart and deconstructed to provide a shelf structure. Rectangular planters can be added to each level for a deeper growing depth. The directions can be found here.
Mulching can be a great option to keep moisture in the pallet garden which can dry out quickly, requiring daily watering. To conserve moisture in the pallet, pack straw in between the slats and over the plants out the top. This step will also help prevent the soil from the openings where the plants are from being washed away should you spray your pallet with a hose.
PLUS Check out this article on 25 Ways to Use Pallets in Your Garden!