By Jane Milliman
Almost as soon as the pallet garden trend started, it was over. You take a shipping pallet (also called a skid), staple on some landscape fabric, fill it with potting mix and some nasturtiums, and lean the whole thing against a wall. Maybe I’m hard to please, but I didn’t find it all that exciting.
Since a recent visit to Cornell University, however, I’ve changed my tune. At Bluegrass Lane, an area at Cornell dedicated to plant trials, I found some very imaginative and practical pallet gardens on display.
The first to catch my eye was an upright structure with tomatoes coming out of the top, and flowers below, poking through the slats. Supported by four legs, it seemed quite sturdy. Nearby another upright garden had peppers on top and herbs below. Talk about space saving!
Next up were two pallets leaning together in an A-frame. The creators had put black plastic on top and planted it with annuals. If it were my garden I would have used shade cloth, and planted salad greens underneath.
How about a pallet as mulch? That was the idea behind the next display. Just remove the top or bottom of the pallet, lay the remaining seciton flat on the ground, and plant. You could experiment with removing extra slats for bigger plants. The wood on the ground keeps weed seeds from germinating, and helps the soil retain moisture.
The final clever idea I saw was pallets that had been deconstructed, and reborn as raised beds. I wouldn’t go out of my way to make a bed this way, but if I had a lot of pallets I wanted to repurpose, it would be a quick and easy way to go.
See all Northeast Gardening Articles.