Pallet Beds & Vertical Growing – Another Year, Another Plan

Pallet Beds & Vertical Growing – Another Year, Another Plan

It seems as though our pallet beds might just be our biggest challenge on our little plot.  While we love them and their ability to create a screen between our (currently empty) bee hive and the rest of the yard while giving us a bit of vertical growing space, they’re really not the easiest thing to deal with or plant out (you can read about last years plans and challenges, in order, here, here and here).  Honestly, despite my best intentions, the pallet beds are the last thing I plant out.

So, I guess it goes without saying that, for the second year in a row, I have just planted all three pallet beds out. I know, I’m super behind. Not really sure what my problem is, but it is a problem.

However, this year before planting them out, I decided to tweak the process a bit.  See, gravity works.  And soil without roots to hold it in place likes to head south towards the ground from which it came (or something like that).  This can pose a challenge for little seeds that have not found their roots yet.

So, this year, before sticking seeds into soil, I cut some strips of weed cloth and stapled them over the open space (and the drip irrigation) on each pallet.  Next, I stuffed the pallets with soil and peat moss (I know, peat moss is not good for the environment, but I am hopeful it will help to keep the soil a bit moister in there).  Then, I cut little slits in the weed cloth where I wanted the seeds to go, pushed toilet paper rolls (cut in fourths) into the slit (making sure the rolls were full of soil) and then gently pressed them into the soil in the middle of each roll.

The idea is that the weed cloth will hold the soil in place and the rolls will hold the seeds in place until the roots can take hold. Time will tell.
Here’s what is planted in the three pallet beds…
Blue = soy beans & spinach in the middle slats, white wonder cucumbers & nasturtiums along the top and butternut squash in the bottom slat.
Red = bush beans & rainbow chard in the middle slats, lemon cucumbers, nasturtiums & marigolds along the top and our favorite mystery melon in the bottom slat.
Yellow = rainbow chard and spinach in the middle slats, lemon cucumbers & nasturtiums along the top.
I went with veggies that mature fairly quickly and am hopeful that the butternuts and the melon will have a chance to actually do something, too.

Now, we wait.  The blue and red pallet beds have already partially germinated, been replanted and are germinating again.  The yellow pallet bed, just planted last weekend, will hopefully begin sprouting within the week!  Our fingers are crossed for great germination rates, lots of growth and many harvest-able veggies in the coming months!  Our fingers are also crossed for all of that ugly weed cloth to be quickly covered by beautiful greens, blossoms and food, because it really is quite ugly!

Late plantings + a short season?  Let’s hope it’s not a problem!

xoxo,
M
Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

17 Comments

  1. Summers Acres

    We have not tried any vertical growing. We still have open space and may never need to get to that. I will say of all the ideas, blogs, and pins I have seen they initially seem “neat” but I have wondered just how well they play out. It sounds like from your post and the comments that it can be a pain in the rear! But I guess if there is not enough space it is the only option. Good luck with your pallet planters. Thanks for sharing!

    Please join us again Thursday at:
    The HomeAcre Hop

    ~Ann

    1. Bee Girl

      Hi Ann! You are so right…there are so many ideas out there that sound good in theory, but aren’t easy or fun to implement in reality. Pallet gardening, at least in our dry climate, has been quite the challenge. I do appreciate the pallets, though, for their ability to create a screen around our top bar hive 🙂

    1. Bee Girl

      Hi Daisy! Great question! Many people grow on pallets because they have little space and want to add some additional, vertical growing space to their yard, porch or balcony. We only have 1/8 acre, so the extra growing space is a consideration, but our pallets play double duty by creating a screen between our top bar bee hive and the rest of our yard. The bees then go up and over the pallets instead of creating a path directly through our back yard 🙂

  2. Jocelyn

    Let me tell ya–for all the hoopla about vertical growing, it is the biggest pain in the neck. I am having so much trouble with my little pipes doing anything really spectacular. I can see the pallet thing is troublesome too.

    Maybe it’s one of those things that’s lovely in theory, and not so much in practice. Anyway, I think you have a really good idea there to fix the problem, and I’m looking forward to seeing if it helps!

    1. Bee Girl

      You’re so right! Vertical gardening is super labor intensive! Since we have such a small space, I keep trying, but I’m really not sure it’s worth the effort! Hopefully this latest plan works out and will be easily updated for next year 🙂

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