Thursday, 9 January 2020

Upcycling Pallets for Vertical Gardening!

I'm always collecting pallets as they are a useful, often free, source of either wood for projects or, if a bit too far gone, can be split for kindling for the wood burner. I've seen loads of projects using and upcycling pallets and indeed I've seen a few variations of this project where you turn a pallet into a vertical planter for gardening. I'm no great gardener but do try and grow a small amount of veg each year more for fun than on any grand scale, but also bought veggies, especially salad greens are costly and usually come in loads of packaging. A vertical planter would be great for those short of space, which we aren't particularly, but we do suffer a lot with slugs and snails. It seems that a vertical system would be easier to defend from these critters by using some copper tape around the base, so I wanted to see if this works well this season.

To start with I looked through the few pallets I had and found a likely donor for the project. The above one seemed ok and had three feet that could be turned into planting areas at a reasonable spacing. One end had an extra reinforced bit which I considered removing for ascetic reasons but I'm not too worried what it looks like and wanted it to be as strong as possible to cope with the winds we get up here!

Making the planting areas is as simple as adding another plank to the sides of the legs to make a base. I did this with some other pallet timber, it's crudely done with just nails, I didn't even make any measurements but rather nailed on an oversized plank and then cut it flush at the edges. Inside the planting area, the planks weren't wide enough to completely span the base so there is a 10mm gap or so either side, this is better as it will act as drainage for each level but once the planters are lined with gardeners membrane they will still hold soil well.

Many people build these and screw the planter directly to a fence or a wall, I decided I wanted to have this more mobile so I can experiment with placing it in different parts of the garden at different times of the year.  I found some scrap timber and made 2 wide feet and screwed them onto each side to make it free-standing. 

Above is the completed structure and I decided to give it a coating of wood preservative to try and make it last a year or two longer in the weather. I dragged it into the porch and gave it a slapdash coat before stapling in some weed membrane to finish off the planting sections.

Its been a fun, quick project and I'll be filling it with soil and sewing some salad greens and other bits and bobs in it at some point, I'll repost hopefully later in the year with it brimming with life!

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