Pallet gardens are a great way to reuse old wood that would otherwise be deemed useless. But did you know there’s more than one way to use a pallet for a garden. In this blog will be looking at three different ways you can use a pallet for producing vegetables or flowers this summer.
We will be going over the best way to set each one of these gardens up, the benefits and uses for each type, and what the limitations of a pallet garden may be. The important thing to remember throughout this article is that the pallet initially does not need to be perfect. Old or new any pallet will do.
Laydown Pallet Garden
If you are unsure what kind of spacing a plant needs to grow or you don’t like weeding, the laydown pallet garden is the top choice. This is exactly what it sounds like. A pallet simply laid down on the ground and filled with dirt.
There are three major benefits to making a pallet garden in this way. The first benefit being that it raises the vegetables up off the ground. This is perfect for any area that is commonly flooding after heavy rainfall, or has poor soil. The lay-down pallet garden will ensure that the plant roots don't become over-saturated. The best way to determine if a lay-down pallet garden would work a certain area is with a percolation test.
To do a percolation test on your soil simply dig a small hole and fill it with water. If the hole still has sitting water after a half-hour then you have poor draining soil. This means you can benefit from the use of a laydown pallet garden. The next step is choosing your soil type.
The soil type for any pallet garden should be able to retain some moisture. This is because pallet gardens tend to dry out quickly. The fast-drying effect happens because the soil volume is lower than a typical garden. With the lay-down pallet garden, you can choose between potting soil and garden soil. This is the only pallet garden that you can use garden soil in. This is because of its close proximity to the ground which helps aid in drainage.
To contain the soil on the sides you may want to staple it on a garden fabric. Other than that the pallet garden is complete. With this style of pallet garden you actually can grow root vegetables, beans, lettuce, herbs, and even pepper plants. This is the second benefit to the laydown pallet garden. The lay-down pallet garden is the only pallet garden type that you can grow root vegetables inside effectively.
The third benefit to the lay down pallet garden is the natural spacing. Because the pieces of wood are left intact it allows for space between the plants to prevent disease or overcrowding. The woof between each planting row also acts as a barrier to prevent weeds. This is the simplest and easiest way of making a pallet garden. No tools needed.
The Vertical Pallet Garden
With a vertical pallet garden, you get the added benefit of saving space. For more tips and tricks on vertical gardening be sure to check out our other post going through the ins and outs of vertical gardening.
When making a vertical garden out of a pallet the first thing you want to do is remove every second board. This will give enough room for the foliage to capture sunlight. After that you will want to line each section you intend to fill with soil.
What you choose to line the pallet with is the key to success. The most obvious choice would be garden fabric. However, the landscape fabric tends to release water too quickly resulting in a pallet garden that needs to be watered twice a day. The best way to avoid this is to actually line the pallet with a plastic liner.
This may come in the form of old linoleum or simply construction plastic. You will want to add a few holes for drainage but not too many. This will help balance the water in the soil system. With the vertical pallet garden we want to ensure we have some drainage but not too much.
For a vertical pallet garden, you will want to make sure you only use potting soil. A topsoil or garden soil will be too heavy for this setup. The use of garden soil will result in suffocated roots & a poor harvest. With potting soil that contains perlite, you will have adequate levels of airflow in the soil. Airflow in the soil is important for healthy plant growth and ultimately a good harvest. Another factor to look at is the type of plant you intend to grow.
The vertical garden has a very shallow soil profile. This short soil profile means that you are only able to sustain plants that have minimal biomass both above ground and below. Avoid planting anything that is too top-heavy such as a tomato or pepper. You may also want to avoid planting a root vegetable due to the taproot. Vertical gardens are best suited to flowers, lettuce, herbs and legumes.
Pallet Hanger For Containers
Using an old pallet for an area to hang containers is the method that requires the least amount of work. Pallets are built to carry heavy loads. Due to this design, we can safely hang our planted containers in each slot of the pallet.
Because of the slotted nature of the pallet, it is a perfect candidate to simply place the hook of a hanging container. There are plenty of benefits to gardening in containers such as an earlier harvest. In this method, we can choose to paint the pallet whatever colour we want, without risking potential toxins in our food.
With a hanging pallet garden, we also are able to plant a wider variety of vegetables based on the container size. This method opens the door for the potential growing of things like tomatoes and pepper. A hanging container pallet garden means more exotic harvests for your summer BBQs.
There you have it you officially know the ins and outs of starting a pallet garden. These pallet gardens each have a unique benefit. One thing that is important to note regardless of which pallet garden you choose is that pallet gardens result in an earlier harvest. This is due to the pallet's ability to have warm soil. Warm soil means a more active plant and therefore we tend to see the fruits of our labour earlier in the year.