Inspired by last week’s kitchen garden project with the school kids in Rubira, I’ve been motivated to continue experimenting with vertical growing projects in our garden in Kabale, so we see what works and pass along the technologies to youth, too.
I’ve always been a fan of using waste materials to build raised beds and planters. Cuba inculcated that distinctive love in me when I visited in 2011 and 2012 as part of an urban agriculture and permaculture learning internship.
In Cuba, I met farmers who’d recovered tires, broken tile and glass bottles to make raised beds that were not only practical but aesthetically pleasing, as well. On Edinson’s permaculture site in Sancti Spiritus, we even used a cracked toilet as a planter, which I must say, added a certain creative charm to the system.
Today I have a habit of looking for treasures along the roadside, or near garbage dumps and hauling them back to our home. One of those treasures, about six months ago, was a wooden pallet. I’ve seen some very smart looking pallet gardens online. Pallets make perfect sense for people lacking land and space, particularly for city and town dwellers without much of a backyard, but perhaps a small patio or a balcony, even.
Do-It-Yourself Pallet Garden Project
Step 1 – Scour alleyways and the Canadian Tires, Superstores, Cosco’s, etc. for the perfect pallet (which is just any old pallet, folks).
Step 2 – Use either a potato sack, or fine wire mesh (window screen) and nail it to the backside of the pallet. You may want to nail two pieces of wood to the back to offer support. Nail the sack or mesh along the sides, as well.
Step 3 – Turn upright and fill with soil. You may want to choose your destination first before filling as the pallet is quite heavy to move.
Step 4 – We planted radish and cilantro on top of the pallet (direct seed). You could plant carrots, spinach, kale, basil and other herbs, swiss chard – anything, really. Get creative!
Step 5 – We transplanted swiss chard and eswiga (local indigenous green) seedlings into the soil between the pallets. We planted at a diagonal, so the seedlings can grow out and up towards the sunlight. Give H20 love.
Step 6 – Wait 30-some days and harvest those pink lady radishes!
Have fun with your own DIY pallet project!