Pallet gardening allows you to turn almost any sunny space into a garden. When empty, pallets are lightweight and mobile -- convenient and quick raised beds that come with plenty of built-in drainage between the slats. Pallets let you make the most of small spaces, too. When you prop the pallet vertically or lean it against a sturdy structure, you’ve created garden tiers that allow you to plant multiples of your favorite vegetable with easy access for watering and harvesting.
Plant vegetables with shallow roots in pallets positioned on untilled ground, decks, balconies or even asphalt parking lots. Early season plantings might include lettuce, spinach and radishes. They'll also benefit from the soil that warms earlier in pallets and other raised beds. Bush beans, corn and kohlrabi will enjoy the full summer sun as well as the reprieve from weeds that’s an added benefit of a pallet garden. A late-season planting of Brussels sprouts turns your pallets into a three-season garden.
A sun-soaked garden fence can become the perfect backdrop for your pallet-climbing vegetable garden. Either lay your pallets flat on the ground or prop them securely against the fence before filling them with soil and compost, as they’ll be heavy once filled. A covering of hardware cloth across the open sides and bottom will help reduce soil and water leakage until your young plants grow roots strong enough to hold the soil. Cucumbers, pole beans, summer squash and small pie pumpkins are candidates for this pallet arrangement.
A pallet or two nestled in a sunny corner near a kitchen door can provide fresh greens and salad fixings all season long. Hardy spring pallet plantings might include lettuce, mesclun, spinach, arugula and chard, tucked into warming soil in early spring then harvested and replanted every few weeks into the fall. Consider an early planting of sugar snap peas, harvested as young pods, and interplant your greens with radishes, scallions and even carrots that can be harvested as babies for a salad mix.
Pizza lovers can enjoy their own slice of garden heaven with a pizza garden in a pallet. A little tilled earth, sprinkled with bone meal and compost beneath the pallet – to a depth of 6 inches for a nutritious soil base – allows a good foundation for tomatoes and green peppers whose roots will reach down through the pallet openings and collect the nutrients from the earth. Alternate rows of onions and sweet yellow and red peppers with pizza herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme.
- Louisiana State University Agricultural Center: Veggie Bytes: Grow a Pallet Garden
- Fayrehale Farm: Pallet Gardening
- Organic Authority: Kitchen Garden: Grow it Vertical
- Earth Easy: Soil Depth Requirements
- Monterey County Herald: Pallet Gardening, Straw-Bale Gardening for Tight Spaces
- Innovative Gardening: Pallet Gardening
- City Farmer: Container and Vertical Gardening Technology for the Poor
- Ohio State University Extension: Container Vegetable Gardening