GIY: Vertical Pallet Garden

If you live somewhere that doesn’t have a lot of outdoor space, a pallet garden is an easy, inexpensive way to start a herb and vegetable garden.

You will need:

  • 1 pallet (HT stamped, see instructions)
  • Hand/electric saw
  • Drill
  • Staple gun
  • Landscape fabric
  • Plastic wrap
  • Craft knife
  • Potting mix
  • Plants

If you are making it self-watering:

  • 3.4″(h)X15.5″(w)x4″(d) container (or the closest size you can find)
  • Around a metre of 1/4″ PVC pipe
  • Rope made of natural fibres (something that will soak up water)
Before
After 2 months

Here are all of the steps to do this project yourself!

Step 1: Finding the right pallet

I was given this pallet by someone who had no use for it, finding pallets can be a fun adventure! The only thing you need to make sure is that it is food safe if you plan on planting any herbs or veg. All pallets are stamped and you are looking for one that has a “HT” stamp.

This means that the wood was heat treated, and not treated with chemicals. It would not be safe to use a chemical treated pallet (MB) as there is a chance the chemicals could leach into the plants. More info on this here.

Step 2: Cut it to size and wash the pallet to get rid of any dirt

If you’re really tight on space, a standard size pallet can be halved (which I did) using a hand saw. It’s easy enough, just be careful and make sure you get rid of any nails that may get left sticking out.

To wash the pallet I used a food safe, non-bleach, antibacterial spray and washed it all down with some water and a sponge.

Step 3: Using a staple gun, line the interior (on the side with the most slats) with landscape fabric.  I would double this up at the very least, in hindsight, I could have used four layers of this here as it is very thin and easily torn.

Landscape fabric (front view)
Close view
Behind view

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Steps 4-7 are optional should you want to make your pallet self-watering. If you wish to water it normally, skip to step 8. 

Cutting holes in the pallet and container
Fitting the pvc pipe

Step 4: Find a reservoir container that will fit in the very bottom of the pallet. I searched high and low for something with the right dimensions ( 3.4″X15.5″x4″) but couldn’t find anything wide enough! I ended up using an old ice cream container.

Step 5: I then drilled a hole big enough for a standard 1/4″ PVC pipe in the last slat on the back of the pallet (see picture below) and lined up the container and cut another hole in the same place. This is for the over flow pipe so I know when the reservoir is full and the excess has somewhere to go.

 

 

Adding rope and intake pipe

Step 6: Cut the rope to just a bit longer than the length of the pallet and run it along the inside with the ends going into the reservoir container.

Adding drainage holes

Step 7: Find some wood the correct length that will cover the reservoir (I used one of the slats from the half I cut off) and run the rope through them. You should also drill a few extra holes for drainage.  This also helps reinforce the bottom as there will be a lot of soil going on top.

At this stage I also added an intake pipe by cutting a hole in this piece of wood and running it down into the container. This allows for water to be added from the top of the pallet.

 

 

Step 8: If not installing a self-watering system, use one of the slats and nail it to the bottom of the pallet to help reinforce. There will be a lot of soil going in so this will help avoid any leaks or breaks! Drill some holes in this slat too for drainage.

Step 9: Line the back including underneath the pallet with the landscape fabric and staple gun it in place. As with the first step it is a good idea to at least double up on the fabric. Leave the top open.

Step 10: Get some heavy plastic (I used heavy refuse sacks) and wrap a layer around the back and underneath the same way you did the landscape fabric. Again, leave the top open.

Step 11: Bracing

Slats to brace back of pallet

I decided to add the left over slats to the back of the pallet and some legs as the soil was being held in only by some plastic and fabric. I also added some legs for stability so it wouldn’t topple over.

Added legs for stability

Step 12: Adding soil and plants

Now it’s time to add the soil, fill to the top with any good potting soil and use a bamboo stick to help it into the gaps on the side as you go along.

Then get some plants, I had been growing some veggies from seed in a mini greenhouse from IKEA which has worked great!

When planting, cut an X in the landscape fabric where you want to plant. Remove any soil from the rootball of the plant by spraying it with water to help you get it in.

I also added some herbs that I had in the kitchen. Here is what it looked like when it was first planted:

I also added a “polytunnel” to begin with as some of my vegies were still quite small and I wanted to give them some protection from the elements.

The self watering system worked great. I also added some water retaining crystals to the soil. Which means I only have had to add water to the planter around once a week.

Initially, I didnt add all my plants as I wanted to see how the first few got on, but 2 months later here is what it looks like!

I have the following planted in the pallet (working from top left to right):

  • Peppers
  • Coriander
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • White Cabbage leaves
  • Chives
  • Rhubarb Chard
  • Rocket
  • Parsley

This was a really fun project and it’s exciting to see how well all the plants are doing in such a small space.

I hope this inspired you to do something similar, if you give it a try please let us know by sharing on facebook/instagram or in the comments below!

 

Moyhill Farm

Last month our six person FARE crew loaded our gear into a van and went on a road trip to Lahinch, Co. Clare. We were excited to meet the group of young men and women who run Moyhill organic farm.

This farm is the brainchild of Fergal Smith, a former pro-surfer who, after many years spent surfing in far-flung countries, decided to give up travelling and instead dedicate his life to growing organic vegetables for the Lahinch community.

We spent three days with Fergal  and Sally Smith, Matt Smith, Mitch Corbett and the team of volunteers who help out at the farm on a daily basis. Fergal spoke to us about protecting the environment, Community Supported Agriculture and the importance of open communication, so that people understand the reasons for buying local, seasonal vegetables.

We are excited to show you more about CSAs in our first documentary ‘Grow’, which will be released on the 23rd of August, 2017. Watch our first trailer on our Facebook page here.

Keep up to date with our production process here, on our Instagram page and on Facebook.