Pallet Gardening – A Great and Versatile System

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I will be adding my updates to the beginning of this post so those returning for a quick look at the weekly update pictures do not have to scroll to the bottom!  For those of you visiting for the first time, scroll down for the original post.

July 8th, 2013

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It has been Monsoon Season in Vermont!  Inches of rain this week!  Need to trim the grass between the pallets!  Everything growing. Black Seeded Simpson lettuce needs to be used up and replaced. It is leggy and knocked down by heavy rains. I haven’t planted BSS lettuce for years and did so this year (along w/ other varieties) as the plants were available and we were behind after a cold & wet season. Two dark rows, bottom right pallet, didn’t germinate (old lettuce seed). Replanted this week with radishes in one and a mesclun mix in the other.  Dill, beans, Swiss chard coming along nicely.  Basil needs to be topped so it bushes out.

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Tomatoes growing out of their cages!  repurposed old tent pieces to extend the cage and will tie w/ twine as needed.  Both tomato plants in the pallet garden are “Great Whites” a beautiful, large white beefsteak tomato with sweet flavor and lots of juice

July 1st, 2013

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Up date pictures from Monday, July 1st. Lettuces and chard going great guns. Beans and dill up. Tomatoes growing well, though hard to see as foliage greenery melds. Two rows (front bottom right in 1st pic and top back left in 2nd pic) of salad greens did not germinate. Old seed so will replant when this rain stops.  Who would have thought Vermont would have a monsoon season!

June 19, 2013

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Blessed are the geese who are protecting the poultry pens from raccoons at night!  NOT so blessed are the geese when they discovered the pallet garden!!! Fortunately they just pulled up a couple plants and dropped them. Replanted easily and then grabbed some stainless steal shelves to repurpose as a fence!

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Home Farmer magazine  picked up our blog and will be publishing a page in their next issue.  The Home Farmer Magazine (Facebook link)is the UKs fastest growing publication for the smallholder and garden farmer. It offers the widest choice of subjects written by key experts in their chosen fields. Edited and published by practicing garden farmers it is a polished and well designed magazine. The often specially commissioned contents are written with passion and integrity whilst retaining the intimate ‘over the garden fence’ feel which doesn’t preach – in fact we often take the mickey and dare to be different giving us a readership that is both loyal and passionate and a magazine that is lively, human and much loved.

The Original Post

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Back in April I wrote an entry that included a segment on plans for  creating a pallet garden.  I am a strong believer in growing food NOT lawns.  Having seen the concept some where, I wanted to give it a try. I decided to install it in our front yard which is not that large. Large enough for a four pallet garden with some containers,  Public!  Visible!  Educational!  We have had three people stop, discuss and head off planning to try. We will never know how many just see it driving by and discuss else where and/or implement.

We are using it mainly for salad greens (close to the kitchen) but have also added some wax bush beans,  Swiss chard and dill.  Easy to do and so versatile!  One by the kitchen door or dozens in any artistic formation you chose.

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We had the pallets already. They are readily available if you do not already have them.  With the space we had, we decided on a four pallet square.  The iron planter was intended for nasturtiums, edible flowers that are great on salads. I was so anxious for color that it was planted with pansies which are also edible!

You can see in this picture that we also dry our laundry in the front yard! Again, convenient and educational!  People need to see these activities if the wheels are to start turning.

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Filling takes more dirt than you would think!  First we placed some sods we had removed from a front daylily garden upside down in the pallets.  Top soil was then added and this takes multiple applications. In between top soil additions we hosed it with a “jet” spray. This compacts the soil and distributes it. Remember you are also filling the space under the slats. We used top soil to fill the pallet up to the bottom of the slats.

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Final filling was done with two applications of  a mixture of Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost & Penobscot Blend Compost & Peat from “Coast of Maine”. In between applications we used the “jet” spray to work the first application in and then just a regular “spray” for the final application.  Pallets are ready to plant!

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Our cold and wet spring has delayed planting here in Vermont. We had plants started in the hoop house and purchased  some others from a small, local nursery that starts all their own plants!  NO big box, disease ridden plants for us.

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Lettuces, basil, parsley and Swiss Chard

The rest of the spaces have been planted with seeds.  Bush wax beans, more lettuce and dill.  We will take pictures to record this garden’s development. Pictures will be added to this post weekly.

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The five containers have been planted with pole beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. We are pleased with this system so far and look forward to our first season with a pallet garden.

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6 Responses to Pallet Gardening – A Great and Versatile System

  1. Bonnie Rannald June 17, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Great idea and use of recycling!

  2. Karen June 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Great blog, Thank you.

  3. Diane McGraw June 18, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    This is a great idea. I don’t have a lot of sunny areas in my yard. So this just awesome. Thanx

  4. James Trundy Verrill June 18, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    Had a request from England!

    Home Farmer Magazine: Thanks James. Love your idea for a pallet garden. Would you mind if we shared with Home Farmer readers? If so please email hiz resolution photos. Love it! Ruth

    http://www.homefarmer.co.uk

    https://www.facebook.com/homefarmer

  5. Mary Carmen June 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I can’t wait till this garden takes off. Pallets are free. Can’t go wrong, now I am gong to read the article from the homefarmer.

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