Using pallets is a great way to grow vegetables all year round and the following video will show you just how to make it so that it will keep the roots of other plants out by leaving an air gap and allow you to have pristine soil to grow your crops.
Pallets can often be obtained for free from building sites, but it is worthwhile looking for ones stamped with an HT which means it is Heat Treated or Kiln Dried rather than treated with chemicals, especially when planting organic.
Also in the video is a suggestion to lay cardboard at the bottom to encourage growth of mycelium which is a fungus that will help plant growth.
Here are some other tips for you:
Old or new pallets?
Mrs. Mavis Butterfield says that she prefers new pallets: “Personally, I suggest using a new, clean, fresh pallet. If you live in the Tacoma area, you can purchase new pallets from Girard Wood Products in Puyallup, Washington for about $9 each. We purchased our pallets here for this year’s wood pallet garden.”
That’s superb if you live in Tacoma. Or have a pallet company nearby. If you choose to go with used or recycled pallets, Mavis has some other tips:
“Look for a pallet that has HT stamped somewhere on the pallet. This means the pallet was heat treated, or kiln dried as opposed to chemically treated. Because you can never be sure that chemicals were stored on an old pallet or that there is some sort of bacteria lurking inside the recycled pallets, I would scrub the wood down with some bleach and soapy water and let it dry out before using it to plant anything. Also, watch out for old, rusty nails or staples.”
Why choose raised bed gardening?
Raised beds offer a variety of benefits: they extend the planting season. They can reduce weeds if designed and planted properly and they reduce the need to use poor native soil. Since the gardener does not walk on the raised beds, the soil is not compacted and the roots have an easier growing.
The close plant spacing and the use of compost generally result in higher yields with raised beds in comparison with the conventional row gardening. Waist-high raised beds enable the elderly and physically-disabled people to grow vegetables without having to bend over to trim them.
And if the beds are built well, the gardener can sit on the edge of the bed while weeding. For some gardeners this is the biggest benefit of all!
A beginner’s question: How tall should my raised garden be?
You can build the bed to any desired height up to 36″. The most common height is 11″, which is the height of 2 stacked 2″ x 6″ boards.
If you have good soil beneath the bed, the roots will go down deeper as needed to access more soil and nutrients. This means you can even have beds that are only 6″ high.
If you want a taller bed, remember that as you go taller, the weight of the added soil will add pressure to the sides, and will bow them outward. This is easily prevented by including cross-supports. We recommend using cross-supports in any beds which are taller than 18″, or longer than 6′.
It is also important to consider the soil depth requirements for the roots of the vegetables you plan to plant. Depending on the soil conditions beneath your bed, you may need to build the sides of your bed higher for certain crops.
After considering these things you are probably just about ready to start building, so take look at the video below to see how to construct your garden bed. Of course you will have needed to source the pallets first.
This is a cost effective way to grow a bumper crop and not have to worry about existing soil conditions. Of course you may just want to keep things neat, and it will raise the vegetables up slightly which might also be better for your back, depending on your situation.
If you do decide to make your own, be sure… to send us a photo on our Facebook page!