Some families hit the beach or the slopes for their Spring Break adventures. We hit the road and treated our kids to a dumpster diving adventure extraordinaire. There isn’t much that can create more family unity than finding the perfect pallet. Everybody wants to be part of the excitement of planning a vertical garden based off of the newly acquired garbage, right? Creativity knows no bounds, so we went in for the reward, and we came out with a prize. What Spring Break could be better?
A Palatable Pallet
Last week, we talked about vertical gardening options, and today, we’re sharing another version that’s an easy and rewarding garden project. After our pallet discovery and a stealth rescue from its near demise, we brought our find home. We stared at it upright on end. We deliberated over upright long-wise. We waited and waited for our pallet to tell us exactly what it wanted us to do with it. We knew we wanted a vertical garden. We also knew that the wood used to build pallets isn’t really conducive to growing edibles directly in. We had to come up with a design for a vertical garden that we could grow on and not in. Finally we had the vision.
We began our pallet transformation by wrangling a few of the cross boards off. We set those boards aside for later use. The boards that we left in place on the front of the pallet lined up with a board on the back of the pallet. Our vertical garden was starting to take shape.
We wanted to create a palatable pallet garden. While many pallet gardeners grow herbs and vegetables directly in their pallets, there’s great debate over growing edibles in wooden pallets. The chemicals sometimes used to preserve the wood can seep into the soil that feeds the plants. You are what you eat and the thought of growing my very own poison-laced vegetables to serve my family triggered my gag reflex a little bit. We’re going a different route.
We measured the boards that we originally pulled off of the pallet. We cut them to length so we could create shelving. We now have three rows of shelves. Across the top of the pallet, there’s another potential planter. We used the same scrap wood to add a floor into the bottom of the planter. Then we simply secured all of our shelving with nails.
Dolling it Up
We could have stopped here for a primitive, unfinished look. But this pallet was begging for a more cottage-garden look. So we grabbed our favorite colored paint. And everybody painted our vertical pallet garden. Who needs the beach?
After the paint dried, we sealed the paint with exterior urethane. We would have preferred a water based polyurethane for this project because water based polyurethane tends to dry with more a clear finish. We didn’t want our favorite paint color to take on a yellowish tint.
Exterior urethane is loaded with helpful additives that preserve wood and the paint we used. Between intense sun, dramatic temperature changes, lots of wind, and occasional heavy rain and hail, our pallet will need all of the extra help it can get. So we went with an oil-based spar urethane which hopefully won’t yellow much.
For the final touch, we collected our empty pots to display while we wait for the weather to warm. Once we can finally add plants to our vertical container garden, we will grow herbs and flowers on it. From the top compartment, some green, vining plants will drape over the edges. Then, everyone will get to select a colorful plant or two to care for on their own. I’ll grow some of our favorite kitchen herbs among the colorful flowers. I’m hopeful that between the herbs and the happy flowers that our kids will forget their garbage diving Spring Break and only remember the unforgettable result.