ingredients magazine
start pallet gardening
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jessica belnap
planting pallet garden

Sustainability is tantamount to keeping the world we live in suitable for life, so any chance to recycle or reclaim materials that might otherwise be dumped into a landfill has to be taken. With so many of the world’s trees being cut down, wood is an especially important recyclable resource. One form such wood takes is abundant and often overlooked: pallets.

Pallets are used to ship all manner of goods, and the U.S. alone uses about 2 billion pallets a year. A hardwood pallet’s flat surface usually measures 40 inches by 48 inches, so there is plenty of wood per pallet to be reclaimed.

There are plenty of used pallet providers in Salt Lake, and a savvy shopper might be able to score some for free from time to time. These square, or nearly-square, items can be torn apart to use each separate piece to construct something new, but they can also be used as-is for all manner of other purposes. One in particular: pallet gardening.

Pallets are ideal for planting lettuces, herbs and shallow-rooted flowers and can be used horizontally or vertically.

soil pallet garden

A pallet with at least four or five inches between slats provides the modern gardener a shallow box with built-in soil protection. Turn that box vertical and the square footage required to maintain a 40 by 48 growing area goes way down. Efficiency is a gardener’s ticket to success!

In a garden, pallets can simply be placed on the ground and filled with soil. A broom works well to move the soil into the box and clear the slats.

For vertical use, landscaping fabric should be stapled to the back and all four sides. In either case, the wood should be scrubbed down and any loose boards should be secured before planting begins.

verticle pallet garden
what pallets to use for gardening
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For vertical gardens, plant the pallet while it’s lying flat and give the plants a few weeks in that position to gain a good hold before turning the pallet upright. Also, look for pallets marked “HT,” which indicates that they were heat treated instead of chemically treated.

ingredients magazine slc