So, we have a beautiful little piece of property with mature trees and a good bit of shade. This makes for a lousy potential space for a garden without sacrificing several trees. However, there is a little square plot of land we have right next to our front porch that gets uninterrupted sunlight all day long. This got me thinking…how can I use this little piece of land to grown a garden. And then I had the idea of “growing up” instead of spreading it out. A vertical garden can be a great way to get a lot of garden veggies with a little bit of space. So whether you’re in the same boat we are (not much sunny space) or you live in a high rise with very little green space at all, this could be the answer to growing your own salad!
Get your stuff together
It was much harder than I thought it would be to find pallets! With all the Pinterest ideas floating around out there, you’d think it would be easy but there’s such a huge market for bulk buy-back that larger companies will not give these things away, nor would they sell them. Fortunately, we found some at our local wholesale garden center (of all places!) for $2 each. They even gave us rope to tie them to the roof of our Jeep! (Yeah, we didn’t bring rope…)
- 2 pallets
- Thick landscaping fabric
- Staple gun and long, heavy duty staples
- Potting soil
- Plants (or seeds…your call on how long you want to wait
- Plastic painters tarp (the clear plastic cheap kind works fine)
- 4 2×4 boards
- 4 hinges with screws
Put your stuff together
Lay the pallets face down (I consider the face to be the vertical boards and the back to be the basic cross boards that attach it all together). Take the landscaping fabric and cover the back entirely. Go nuts stapling the fabric to the pallet. Seriously…you can’t have too many staples here.
Next, attach the 2×4 boards to the back of the pallets as seen below, using the hinges. You want the hinge to attach to the underside of the board and to the pallet so that the board will act as legs.
Stand up your garden
Take your now-empty pallets and position them in their new space. Be sure the space is level. Once your satisfied with the position, adjust the legs to give the pallets a bit of a lean. Not too much and not too little. You don’t want all the dirt to slip out the rungs of the pallet but at the same time, you don’t want all the weight of the dirt pushing directly back on the landscaping fabric.
Fill her up!
Slowly fill up the rungs of the pallets with the potting soil. This process is a bit tedious as you’ll find more success hand-filling it rather than pouring the soil from the top (you’ll lose less dirt in the process). You’ll want to gently but firmly pack the dirt so that it doesn’t move freely and can better support the plants.
Next, start adding your plants. It’s ok to plant them at an angle or completely sideways…the Sun will pull them upward very quickly!
Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the plastic covering we used to keep the baby garden safe during a heavy downpour but what we basically did is use thumbtacks to attach the plastic cover to the tops of the pallets. We kept the coverings behind the garden unless we needed them. Then it was easy to just pull the covers over the garden and make a tight, slanted cover that gently rolled the rain down the covers and safely onto the ground.
Pretty it up!
Once you get everything planted, gently water your garden. Use mist if you can and gently pack the dirt a little more to reiterate the strength of the plantings. Your plants may look a little wilty and sad, but they will perk up in no time at all! We also added wood chips so that we weren’t standing in a muddy puddle when we tended the garden during the season.
We used marigolds between the veggie plants to help keep our friendly, rude deer from stealing our salad!
Soon enough our garden took off and we had the beginnings of a wonderful salad!
Our garden about a month later!
Kind of an accident, but having the squash at the top, we could direct the vines downward so they were off the ground but free to creep around. The veggies had less insect damage this way!