Pallet Box Garden

Well, it’s happened so I guess I’d better cop to it. Hello, my name is Sheri and I am addicted to vegetable gardening. Phew, I feel better! I know I wrote a previous post about all the happy side effects of gardening addiction, like spending lots of time outside, getting more exercise and of course all the delicious organic food. What I didn’t mention was the darker side… like, literally, my yard is too dark! Jon and I love trees so much that we have planted California peppers, ficus, a flowering plum and more. This has left most of my gardening space in the shade and it gets worse every year.

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In looking for creative alternatives to chopping down my beautiful trees I learned a lot about container gardening, so when my contractor friend offered me a pallet box I was ecstatic. It’s practically an instant raised bed! I did have to make the hard decision to chop two birds of paradise down to the ground but I think the remaining eight will keep the hummingbirds happy… until I need more space, that is.

As you can see above I lined the pallet with what I had on hand: screen from an old door and a strip of weed-barrier fabric. I then proceeded to fill the box, a surprisingly daunting task – that mother is bigger than it looks! First I laid down about 6″ of clean cardboard which should help keep the birds of paradise from growing back up through the bottom, prevent the soil from draining through, and will also break down into compost eventually. I covered that with leaves and grasses from the yard and even snuck in a bunch of BOP roots that will break down and nourish the soil.

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Once I had a good thick layer of leaves I filled another 12″ with sandy fill dirt we dug up recently to build our new welding shop. I then collected as much fresh compost as I could get from our passive compost bin and added a bag of really good potting soil/compost mix.

Finally it was full enough to plant, or so I thought. I realized too late that I should have filled it higher to account for the sun being so low in the winter. Unfortunately, the side of the box and the remaining birds are shading it most of the day. I somehow missed that fact before putting the seeds in. Oh well.

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I crammed this sucker full of yummy fall vegetable seeds: carrots, giant mustard, dwarf siberian kale, DetroitΒ dark red beets, chioggia beets and shallots. Speaking of seeds,Β I recently joined a really awesome group on facebook called The Great American Seed Swap. Before joining I had no idea that people all over the country were swapping heirloom and non-GMO seeds! So now I’ve added another addiction to my list and made a bunch of new garden-crazy friends. I only mention it here because nearly all the seeds I planted in the pallet box were collected from swapping with the great folks over at GASSP. Thanks guys!

So I watered and waited and before too long my seeds started sprouting.

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Now, just a couple months later we are harvesting gorgeous greens nearly every day!

Pallet Box Garden

I’m trying to get better at companion planting so I let some nasturtium grow along the back to attract the cabbage white butterflies away from my edibles. It seems to be working so far as they’re getting nibbled but my greens are not. I also put one of my new Happy Heart garden stakes for a little burst of color.

So despite wishing I’d done a couple of things differently I’m considering the pallet box garden a success! I still need more garden beds so I’d love to hear about other creative solutions for making more space in the garden. Please comment below and share your ideas!

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Robbie says:

    My dad did that on his property. He loved to collect little trees when he would hike and eventually there was no place for him to plant his tomatoes-lol. You are right if you have many other trees (same type) than I don’t think you should feel badly about taking out one or two so you can grow food. My last post about My Old Gal is if we lost her we would not have any place to sit in the hot summer. Plus she is an individual-lol… I do keep her trimmed so I do have some sun.
    I really like your box! Someone mentioned that Seed Swap on facebook that sounds like a good idea…I may meet you over there one day! Your garden is looking pretty nice!

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Yes, the tree thing is a dilemma but we’re making it work. We’ve chosen such unruly trees they will undoubtedly win out in the end though! Next issue is the giant ficus that shades the front – love the shade, but it’s gotten a bit TOO shady, if you know what I mean. Hope to see you over on the seed swap, it’s a really nice group of folks and lots of gardening chat going on.

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      1. Robbie says:

        I don’t have a facebook account, do you need one to particapte…could be motivating factor this spring-lol..what is the facebook site?

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        1. Sheri Fox says:

          Yes, you do need an account to particapte πŸ˜‰ fb can be a bit overwhelming but it’s also fun. The link for the seed swap group is https://www.facebook.com/groups/gassp/ – Hope to see you there!

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      2. Robbie says:

        participate—lol:-)

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  2. steven1111 says:

    Great tutorial on your box garden. Gardeners are so creative in how they find ways to garden where there seem to be none. Good for you! Thanks for the visit too!
    peace,
    Steve

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Thanks for the visit and comments Steve! Your greenhouse tutorial was pretty amazing too! I’ve learned so much from other blogs and I love sharing info. I look forward to seeing more of what you’re doing out there in Greenwood πŸ™‚ sheri

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  3. Where can you find pallet boxes? Now I want a pallet box garden, too! πŸ™‚ It looks pretty. And thank you for introducing me to GASSP. Yet one more reason for me to open a Facebook account. Thanks. XOXO, Angie.

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    1. Sheri Fox says:

      Hi Angie, I’m so glad my little garden inspired you! Pallets are great for gardens. I’ve seen them used upright for lettuces and herbs or flat on the ground using the spaces as instant rows. Mine came from a delivery of flagstone so you could ask local contractors, landscape designers, builders. Craigslist is good. I often see them next to dumpsters so if you’re not timid you could grab one of those.

      Look for natural/untreated wood. Some are heat treated, I think they’re marked HT or something, and can leach chemicals. I have read that most are safe because treating them isn’t cheap.

      And I hate to encourage anyone to join facebook, but if you’re looking for a reason GASSP is a good one! It’s a lot of fun, great group of people.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚ Sheri

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