Growing your own food is uniquely satisfying. I don’t know if it’s my age or the times but more and more of our friends are growing their own food. I’ve hinted at our vegetable garden before, but I didn’t want to share it until we started eating from it. That time has come.
If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll know I have a slight obsession with up-cycled pallets and vegetable gardens. We live in a rented villa so we didn’t want to spend much money on our garden in case we have to move. Both The Koala and I have day jobs that revolve around paper so we have free access to wood pallets. In hindsight, we should have started this garden when we moved in 5 years ago. I could “what if” at my 5 year old vegetable garden all day, but you gotta start somewhere and late is better than never.
The bottom of our garden has a gentle slope so we terraced the space using the pallets. Sloped ground drains water in random ways so terracing flattens sections to work with. We’ve never done anything like this before so it was all a learning curve but we are happy with how it turned out.
Terraced Pallet Garden
You will need:
- Measuring tape
- Enough pallets to border each terrace
- Strong arms and elbow grease
- Trellis (optional)
- Compost (see notes below)
- Seeds or seedlings
- Lay out pallets end to end to plan the length of the walls.
- Dig a trench half a pallet deep and a little wider than you will need, removing any large rocks along the way. Enlist friends to help if they are willing.
- Insert pallets as straight as you can (a spirit level would have helped) and fill up front and back of each pallet with soil.
- Optional: Cut a trellis into sections to border garden from pets.
- Layer compost on top and start planting.
How much compost will I need?…is one of the trickier things to work out if you’ve never bought compost before. I can only share what we did and hopefully that will give you an idea for your own garden. Our vegetable garden is approximately 3.5 metres wide by 3 metres deep. We used 8 x 40 litre bags (320 litres) of compost to give a nice layer on top of our existing soil. We bought our compost from Zoodoo.co.nz who make compost from hoof animal manure from our local zoos. They offer competitive prices and free home delivery.
5 tips for a terraced pallet garden:
- Every pallet is slightly different so measure the actual pallets (do not just x5).
- Plywood pallets are better than particle board pallets, but both are usable.
- Insert pallets leaning back every so slightly. Do not lean them forward as this may encourage them to fall forward.
- Plant herbs or strawberries in the pockets made by the pallet walls.
- If you want to paint or stain your pallets, do so before putting them in the ground.