Creating a Pallet Garden – Step by Step Instructions

Building and planting your own pallet vegetable garden!

Building and planting your own pallet vegetable garden is easy!

What you’ll need: shipping pallet, 4 mounting brackets* (one for each corner of the pallet – we used L brackets), weather resistant screws, roofing nails or staple gun, drill, level, weed cloth (aka landscape fabric), thin plywood cut to size to cover back of pallet, potting soil, plants (*when it comes to how and where you choose to mount your pallet, make sure to consider the weight of a fully-planted pallet after watering and choose the appropriate hardware and location that can support it.)

Pallets are easy to come by, so select one that's not broken, and not made of pressure-treated lumber.

Pallets are easy to come by, so select one that’s not broken, and not made of pressure-treated lumber.

Pallets are everywhere, so take the time to find one in good condition and that is not made from pressure-treated wood (due to the leaching from potentially harmful chemicals). They come in different shapes and sizes so don’t assume all pallets are the same. Make sure it’s cleaned off and you’ve inspected it for any stray nails or splintered wood. It’s a good idea at this point to wear a sturdy pair of gloves while inspecting and cleaning the pallet.

  • Once the pallet is cleaned up and before you add any additional weight to it, go ahead and position it against the wall where you’ll want it mounted. Use the level to ensure proper alignment. Make your marks and install the L brackets to the wall. (Once the pallet is planted out, you’ll then simply slide it into place between the mounted brackets.)
  • Mark placement for hanging brackets while the pallet is empty

    Mark placement for hanging brackets while the pallet is empty

    Return the pallet to a flat surface. Although you could plant out your pallet with it resting on the ground, placing it on a tabletop or sawhorses makes it easier to work with from a standing position. Place the pallet so that the side with the widest openings is facing up. This will be the backside, which you’ll mount against the wall. Lay out the landscape fabric or cloth to cover the back and bottom and cut to size. Pull tautly and secure with nails or staples.  Some pallets have wood covering the bottom of the pallet, which will help prevent soil from falling out the bottom. If not, you may choose to add another piece of wood, like a 2×4. But in either case, make sure the fabric covers the bottom as well as the back to catch any soil that may otherwise fall out. This would also be the time to add a thick layer of plastic or other waterproof barrier. This step wasn’t included in the DIY segment on the episode but this is an important part of protecting the exterior of the house from the moisture and grime of the pallet garden.

  • Attach landscape fabric and thin plywood to the back

    Secure landscape fabric,  plastic and thin plywood to back

    Next add the thin plywood over the cloth and/or plastic and secure.

  • Now turn the pallet over and fill with good quality potting soil or container mix. Don’t use ordinary garden soil or soil that is designed for planting beds, as it’s too heavy and won’t drain as well. Be sure to add most of your soil before adding the plants. Now, go ahead and tilt the pallet up nearly vertical to allow soil to settle without it spilling out between the cracks. Then continue to add soil until the pallet is full.
  • Next add the plants. Don’t be afraid to pack them in. Position the plants so their root balls are securely placed between the slats and tuck them in firmly. Once you have all your plants in position, add additional soil if needed but be sure to reserve some to add once the pallet is mounted. Don’t water yet due to the added weight.
  • Use good quality soil, and really pack it in!

    Use good quality soil, and really pack it in!

    Now it’s time to mount the pallet. Get two helpers and position the pallet between the brackets already secured to the house. It’s helpful to have something to rest the pallet on while it is being secured to the wall. With helpers holding the pallet in place, the third person can attach the brackets to the pallet.

  • Finally, make sure all the plants are positioned firmly in place and that the roots are in good contact with the surrounding soil. This is also the time to add the reserve soil to fill those voids. Thoroughly water the plants and soil. Again, you’ll have more settling and some soil loss here so have some extra soil on hand and add as necessary.
Stuff with greens, herbs and edibles

Stuff the pallet with greens, herbs and edibles

Get some help securing the final product, and water it well!

Get some help securing the final product, and water it well!

Over the next few days, continue to monitor the garden and add soil and water as needed as the plants establish and soil continues to settle. Once the roots fill out in a couple weeks, then just make sure to keep it watered. Because this garden is above ground, it will dry out more quickly. Like other containers, daily watering is likely.

Enjoy the harvest!

Watch the full episode this project came from, Episode 221: Living Walls.

Burpee Home Gardens modified vertical pallet garden with feet!

Burpee Home Gardens modified vertical pallet garden with feet!

Special thanks to our friend Fern Richardson at Life on the Balcony, for her Pallet Garden plans.

Update: 4/3/12: Last week while touring the floriculture Pack Trials in California, I saw a modification of our pallet garden: Burpee Home Gardens added simple feet using triangular pieces of plywood.

I love it because it offers so many more options, especially for those that want a vertical garden against a wall without having to attach it to the wall, and it alleviates the concerns some folks have brought up about (potential) damage to the wall from the pallet’s (potentially) moist backing. Plus you can put it anywhere! Simply brilliant! – Joe


Joe Lamp'l is the Host and Executive Producer of the award winning PBS television series Growing A Greener World. Off camera, Joe dedicates his time to promoting sustainability through his popular books, Compost Confidential blog, podcast series, and nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Follow Joe on Twitter

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  1. says

    Joe hi u can also use pallets for storing tools and for fencing.I’m making a one for tools but have one to keep my dogs from areas off limits.Enjoy u on create Tpbs Houston keep the good work up God Bless.

  2. vanessa says

    I have found that my pallet garden dries our too fast. we just have landscape fabric lining the openings for the soil. what do you suggest to keep the water there longer. drainage is good but not that much lol

    • says

      Hi Vanesssa. You should consider using some of those water holding additives you can usually buy where ever container gardening supplies are sold. I can’t think of a product name (maybe “Water Grabber”?) at the moment but they used to be pretty common. You typically add a small amount to the soil and mix it in. It will absorb a lot of water and make it available as needed. Tests I’ve seen on these products shows that it does help.

  3. Shaun , Adelaide, Australia says

    Hi Joe,
    I have watch the show about pallet gardens ,I live in a unit with a balcony this saves me a lot of room. I have made a pallet green house on wheels., four full size pallets standing on end to make a box with a piece of glass for the top. four trolley wheels on the bottom to fellow the sun
    so far , broccoli, lettuce, spinach and kale , plus lots of herbs . growing really well.

    thank you

    • says

      That sounds awesome Shaun! Do you have pics you can send? Not sure you can do that on the blog but you can by emailing them to It would be great to see these. I can post an update to the blog and include the pics there. This is a use of pallets I have not heard before and I’m very intrigued. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Sally says

    My husband just built me a raised garden (about 4 feet off of the ground). He used a piece of ply wood for the bottom. Is this suitable?

    • says

      If I understand your question, the bottom of the bed is a piece of plywood. At 4 feet tall, there’s certainly no risk of not giving your plant’s roots enough room to grow. The biggest issue is that the water is able to drain out. While 4 feet is a very deep bed, unless the water has a place to go, it will build up in the soil while saturating and eventually drowning the roots. If you find this is becoming a problem and there’s no way to get holes in the bottom at this point, then the next best thing is to drill large holes in the side of the bed near the bottom.

  5. Mags says

    So my husband and I palnted a raised bed pallet garden this weekend, and neither of us no much about gardening, but we used plastic sheeting to put our soil in…and are just now worrying about drainaige….what should we do, i cant seem to find any answers online!

    • says

      I would poke many holes into the bottom of the pallet and along the lower portions. Just do what you need to give the water a place to exit, while not making it so big that you lose the soil too. That’s not likely to happy (at least eventually) as roots will fill in to hold much of that in place.

  6. Joy says


    Could you suggest anything to protect the wood so it will last longer–something that would not harm the plants.


    • says

      Hi Joy. Without knowing what kind of wood you have for your pallets, the most generic think I can suggest is to use a water based wood sealer. However, if you pallet is made from hardwood or even heat treated, that will slow down the degradation process naturally. You could also paint it with an exterior paint. Anything to seal the wood will be an improvement over the raw wood.

  7. Joy says


    I am interested in creating many projects with pallets. My husband is concerned that the outdoor projects won’t last and we will have to rebuild them. What king of wood protection do you use. I’d be interested in other opinions as well from those who make pallet projects. Thank.

    • says

      Look for HT (Heat Treated) pallets made from hardwood. They are incredibly durable, even without treating. Many pallets are made from this anyway because of their strength and durability. Stay away from pine and other softwood pallets as they are not as durable.

      • Joy says

        Thank you for your reply. Would the “HT” be stamped on the pallet wood? How do I know if the pallet wood is heat treated. Thanks Joy

    • says

      It’s a great idea Danelle if you can allow the seeds to germinate and establish while the pallet is still flat on the ground. Then mount it or raise it to the vertical position once the seeds are sprouted and well on their way. You would need to give the young seedlings time to establish a big enough root network in order to hold the soil together when you raise it up. Otherwise I see a big mess and many of your seedlings falling out or being damaged.
      Part of the appeal of stuffing existing plants with good root mass is the volume of the root ball is bulky, can handle some “stuffing” between the slats and will stay in.
      I’d love to get feedback from you if you choose to try this and then share your results with us.

    • Alayna says

      Cumbers are climbers. I think it might work if you had the pallet at an angle although they would do better in the ground with more soil. We build an angled trellis using hardware mesh for our cucumbers and we have a bumper crop every year.

  8. Jason Rees says

    I am doing a project for school based on gardening, and using gardening as a way to reduce stress. Would it be alright if I used this idea of using a pallet as an inexpensive urban garden box?

    • says

      I don’t see why not Jason. Just be sure to heed the warning about which pallets to use. You want HT (Heat Treated) wood, vs. chemically treated ones, marked or branded with an “MB”.

    • Alayna says

      I do herbs… basil, rosemary (the bushy kind not the vertical), oregano, thyme… I tried strawberries and they just didn’t have enough soil. If you want flowers, porticola (not sure I spelled that correct) also called Mexican roses are a succulent and so really well with little soil and infrequent watering. also any type of creeping sedum or stepable.

    • says

      you can add weed block fabric or burlap to the bottom if you’d like. Otherwise, once the soil is packed it and the roots fill out, you won’t have a lot of soil loss, but there will be some each time you water.

  9. doublechorses says

    I recently seen the segment with the pallet garden with the house in NC. I was interested in this method. I came to the website to read about it and I am very excited to give it a try this year. Sure hope it turns out well. I like the idea of putting plants vertical to grow. This way will make it easier so that I do not have to plant a big garden but can do a small garden and hopefully get the same results. I will post how it goes when the growing season begins. Thanks for the tips on this method.

  10. Linda Rivera says

    Hi JOE

    What do you recommend for winterizing the pallets? or Should I just put in annually plants.
    I live East of Pennsylvania which gets -20 degrees below.


    • says

      Hi Linda. I would stick with annuals and not worry about trying to over-winter plants if you don’t have them in a protected environment or live where it’s warm.

  11. Linda Rivera says


    I just love your idea of the pallets garden! I was thinking of even decorating it with lattice as a front facing or even cutting each pallet front with curves. What do you think?
    I love your shows JOE you are truly a great Gardner. Keep up the good work. :)

    Linda R

    • says

      Wow Linda. Thanks for the kind words and so glad you love the shows!
      I think putting your artful touch on the pallet is what makes them unique. As much as I love the raw, pallet look, I’ve seen some beautiful pallets that have been painted to complement the decor of the area around it, such as a peacock blue against a red brick wall. Stunning! But I’ve never seen one that has been embellished with lattice or artful cuts in the wood. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I say.
      My two thoughts would be this: would the lattice prevent access to the plants, and would the cuts allow too much soil to escape? Anyway, I look forward to hearing back from you if you add a twist to the design. Please do let us know what you do and how it turns out. Thanks Linda.

      • Carrie says

        You can put the lattice work on the back of a free standing one and plant that side too. Thinking strawberrys.

    • says

      I don’t personally have any pictures personally Helicia. But you should try to go to “google images” and type “pallet garden” into the search field. I bet you’ll find lots of images that include well-planted pallets after the plants have matured.

  12. Pablo Riera says

    Hi, i am ready To try with my first pallet garden in Venezuela. Just have one question, shall i make some holes on the botton of the pallet for the water To drain?

    • says

      Hi Pablo. You could add irrigation holes in the bottom of the pallet. It wouldn’t hurt. I’ve never done this though since there is plenty of ways for water to drain from the bottom of the pallet since there is so much space between the slats. But I would add a lining of burlap or weed cloth (some that will hold the soil but allow drainage). Good luck with it.

  13. patricia mitchell says

    I love this idea as a free standing screen (or 2 or3). Also if you are concerned about cost of plants, lettuce, spinach and other greens are easy to start from seed and grow quickly. Many lettuce varieties are beautiful!

  14. Shania says

    I am doing a pallet garden for a local charity and would like to say thanks for the webiste it really helped. :)

  15. Becky says

    Hi! I made 3 of these for strawberries and the late spring. I live in Nor Cal, with the drought. However, I am having a hard time watering. Each time I watered, soil fell out. I packed it pretty good with soil before adding the strawberry plants, but I kept losing dirt. Since i couldnt water, i lost 3 full pallets of plants. Any ideas on how to keep the dirt IN? Help!

    • says

      Hi Becky. Some people insert landscape fabric, aka weed cloth into the pallet and/or staple it to the bottom and sides where they can. This will def. help.

  16. Paulette Tremblay says

    Hello. I took your ideas and made my garden this year out of pallets. Looking back even now I realized I didn’t put plywood on back. I just used black roll and placed it on another pallet . Another one I stood up and realized my plants shifted and standing it up at a a 13 degree angle was best. The dirt shifted again and lots of it in the pallet . It is only full on on side of the pallet. That’s ok because I’ll grow some more lettuce and radishes before our fall sets in in the Yukon.
    I also had a shelf from coca cola that I turned sideways and made containers out of my bags of dirt. I have 3 bags of carrots growing but I need more sunshine. It’s not been a good year for it where I live. Even my upside down tomatoes are having a hard time. They may need to finish growing inside. Strawberries in my buckets are good and lots of water needed for fruit. Fuchsias love it and so do the root veggies. Take care. I have pics on my FB.

  17. says

    Hi there,

    I am opening up a juicery and planning on putting in a wall garden. I just stumbled across your site and loved this post! I am going to construct this next week and live in Carlsbad CA and am completely new to gardening but would LOVE your thoughts on what to plant in this pallet wall garden? What have you had success with growing in these? Thanks so much!

    • says

      We’ve had great success with trailing edibles like cucumbers, squash and melons (all compact or container varieties) on the bottom row, lots of herbs, lettuces, spinach, and chard in the middle rows, and dwarf / compact tomatoes and peppers in the very top. Keep in mind you’ll still have to stake or support the tall plants but it allows you to have a very diverse garden in a compact space. And don’t forget to disperse lots of flowers (we like edible nasturtiums). It’s a stunning combination!

  18. Karen Cox says

    I am willing to try this method of gardening since I am unable to stay in a bent position. I like the idea of putting wheels on the pallets to be able to move them around in the small yard. This project is great for those with disabilities.

  19. Karen Cox says

    Haven’t tried yet, but it looks very good in design. Since I’m unable to stay bent over for along time I am willing to try this project.

  20. says

    Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided
    us useful information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  21. Julie says

    Hi Joe, I’m going to try my very first pallet garden this year!! :-)
    My question is, can I paint the pallet? I think it’d be cute in a bright color!! If so, what type of paint would be paint safe?

    • says

      Hi Julie. Painted pallets look fantastic! I have seen many and they look incredible–and a great way to accent or contrast a background color. The pallet really pops when it’s painted. I would use a water-base latex paint. It’s easy to work with and should do just fine. You might want to put a coat of primer on it first. Good luck.

  22. Yasmin says

    I have a palette with a completely open back (No slats on one side). I noticed the upright freestanding one has a solid plywood backing with what appears to be burlap in between.

    Would I need to put down garden fabric in between the palette and the solid backing I plan to use, or is it redundant? Also, would you not recommend a solid backing? I’m concerned about water and air circulation.

    • says

      You don’t need to use both a solid backing and the fabric. The solid backing is necessary mostly if you are mounting on a wall to provide protection. Otherwise, the fabric should be sufficient to hold in the soil IF you have some support on the back side, like other slats, even if they are spaced farther apart. But you’re saying you don’t have those? If not, consider adding something to give more support to the back side or go with a solid back. When the soil is wet, it can create a lot of pressure and weight to push again just fabric tacked into the out frame. I wouldn’t worry as much about the air circulation. As long as the foliage is getting air, and the water has a place to drain, you should be fine.

  23. says

    My family member owns East Pointe Fiberglass and she has some pallets we can have. Would they be safe to grow vegetables? I was concerned due to Fiberglass being made with formeldhyde and other harmful chemicals? Could we use them just for flower garden only?

  24. Debrah Bassett says

    I had enough funds to get staples and seeds I am doing a few veggies in mine but I had 2 light weight tarps given to me and used it to wrap it to hold dirt I plan on leaving it lay down, but my main question is do I need some holes since I am using the tarp instead of the special fabric?

  25. Stephanie Winter says

    I think this would be a fantastic idea for growing strawberries! Do you think a chicken coop wall could support the weight of the pallets? Our chicken coop was converted from a 10′ x 12′ garden shed.

    • says

      I think so, especially if you mount the pallet into the 2×4 studs of the shed. Try and locate those and secure the pallet into the studs and you should be fine.

  26. Hedy Rogers-Jones says

    I just wanted to know what plants you think are best suited for a vertical pallet garden? Thank you.

    • says

      It’s really up to you Hedy. Part of the fun and beauty is the uniqueness and personal design of the pallet gardener. I grow a lot of edibles so I would use plenty of leafy crops like lettuces and edible flowers. Herbs are great also. Unless your pallet gets 8 hours of sun, growing fruiting veggies might be a challenge. However, you can grow varieties specially bred for containers such as Patio tomatoes and bush cucumbers. Places trailing / vining crops like the cukes at the bottom and tall upright plants like tomatoes and peppers in the top section. Fill the middle sections with leafy greens and herbs.

  27. Grog says

    I did not see any comments on drip irrigation. I live in that California Desert called the Bay Area Peninsula (yes, it is a desert that has been irragated….)

    I was thinking of running either inline emitters on each planting row at a 5 inch or so spacing, or slit drip hose, or drip soaker hose on each planting opening. Then I use standard Hose quick disconnects to interconnect it to my drip “Infrastructure” so that I can disconnect it and move it whenever I need to like after the season for storage…….. Watering by hand has it’s challenges with a drought. Do you think this idea has merit?

    • says

      Grog, if you can get get drip emitters to where you need them or use soaker hoses, that’s always a great idea in my book, especially were you live. However, I would not slit drip hose. Use either soaker hoses or stick with the drip lines and emitters made for them to delver the water right where you need it.

  28. Jeff says

    This is awesome. I have a small back yard(very small). This will be great to get some fresh veggies for once.

  29. Susan Koll says

    I like this idea but was wondering if a person could attach it to a chain link fence instead? My back yard is fenced in, in chain link.

    • says

      Yes you can Susan. But be sure you have it mounted securely enough to support the weight when the pallet is lush and the soil is moist. That can add a lot of weight.

  30. Heather Krsek says

    My husband is a landscaper. He said if you go to a nursery you can ask if they have any pallets laying around and usually just give them to you depending on whether or not they’re decent people not money hungry. All the plants and trees they get at the one he works at pretty much all come on pallets so they’re obviously plant friendly :) Around where we live if you let them know why you’re doing with the pallet they’ll hook you up with an amazing steal price for plant, soil and backing for it! A lot of people don’t realize going straight to a local nursery is pretty much always cheaper then going to Lowe’s or Home Depot or places like that :)

  31. Angie Todd says

    I have a lot of very old & very heavy pallets where I work. They have been inside & have not been used in probably 20 years or more. Do you think these would be safe to use? Being that old I’m thinking they may not be pressure treated or doused with tons of chemicals. Also what are some ideal plants to use for this?

    • says

      More than likely you should be ok considering the age of these pallets. As for plants, if you’re using edibles, place trailing or vining plants at the bottom and look for dwarf varieties. In the middle section, herbs and lettuces work great. At the top, you could plant dwarf or patio varieties of tomato, peppers or eggplant. You’ll need to stake them but be sure to get varieties that stay on the smaller size. Otherwise they can grow far too tall to manage in a pallet, especially tomatoes.

  32. says

    Caught the tail end of one of the TV show the other day and had to check it out online. Great Stuff!! I will be using the pallet idea with our gardeners. If they prop one up at the end of their allotment space it will give them an extra 4 feet of space – FREE!!! So glad I tuned in! Thanks Joe!

    • says

      You’re welcome Sher. The pallet idea is such an easy way to expand garden space cheaply, especially vertically. Happy you found this to share with your fellow gardeners.

  33. laura says

    Hi Joe, Great idea — I’m curious about the weight of your pallet because I’d like to place some on a rooftop. Using the same size pallet and amount and types of plants you used in the demo, do you have an estimate as to how much it weighed with and without water?

    Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Laura. They weren’t that heavy, I’d guess about 160 pounds at the most once planted with a lightweight potting soil. My guess is the pallet weights about 35 pounds, 6 bags of dry soil at 20 pounds each and the plants weigh next to nothing. For each gallon of water that’s absorbed into the soil when watering will add another 8 pounds. It’s a total guess but those are the components of it so I don’t think I’m far off.

  34. Breccia says

    Any ideas of how to create one that grows off of both sides? I want to use it on my deck rail so you can see the plants from outside the deck but also grow and pick things from the deck side as well. How could we do this without the soil falling out?

    • says

      you could definitely add extra slats to the back side to mirror the front side and then plant on both. I did that for the compost bins I made out of pallets. Didn’t want the soil to fall through the cracks on the wide side so I closed the gaps with extra wood. Super easy to do and worked like a charm. It’s an easy fix.

  35. Cliff says

    This may be rare but I received a wood box from Japan that had a type of termite nest in the wood boards. Heat could kill them safely.

  36. Stan Fortune says

    Read your update about adding triangle feet.
    Some ideas I had about it.
    • Screen to hide stuff behind! Be it trash cans, wheel barrel or a bicycle.
    • How about planting it on both sides? Might need to put 2 together back to back.

    • says

      Love the idea about using the pallet garden as a way to screen unsightly things behind it. We all have those places, and what a great way to hide them. Perhaps even a base with wheels to easily move the pallet when needed?

  37. says

    I found a goldmine of wonderful “virgin” pallets at a sheet metal roofing company. They routinely receive 12 ft. long sheets of metal on beautiful 12-ft. long, very HEAVY duty pallets that are usually made of oak, perfectly clean, and NEW with NO signs whatsoever of any chemicals. I even found some made of white oak!! How cool is that?? Some are 5 ft. wide! These are big and heavy and the company is glad to have me take them away. I bring my generator and corded saw to cut them to size. Any scraps are PERFECT for the fireplace. Can you say Win-Win..??

    • says

      Wayne, that IS a goldmine! You are a very lucky man. What a great find. And good luck keeping your special place a secret too. I had a similar situation in the town I used to live. They had a pallet making company, so all the wood was virgin, untreated and super clean. The pallets were all uniform in size and they even offered extra slats that you could fill in the gaps if you wanted to close in the spacing (which I did). Great pallet sources are out there if you just take the time to look around and do your homework. No need (no should you) settle on treated, nasty pallets from who knows where. Great comment and thanks for sharing.

  38. Loire says

    Be very cautious when locating a pallet, it is not always possble to determine if a pallet has been treated with chemicals!!! Asafer alternative and cheap is to use rain gutters, simply nail then to a board,

  39. Nancy says

    I’m just curious, roughly how many plants were used for this pallet garden? I’m trying to get an estimate of how many to buy to do my own. i realize it would depend on the kind of plants used, but a rough estimate would still be helpful for me. Thanks!

    • says

      Hmmm Nancy. I had several flats of 4 inch pots. Assuming each had about 16-20 plants per flat, I might have used about 60 because we really packed them in. The finished product looked nice right off the bat, but over time, less plants filled in would give a similar look. I wish I could give you a more accurage number but I know we had a lot of plants to use so we stuffed them pretty generously. If I were to do it again, assuming each planting slot between boards is 4 feet wide and you have the top, and 3 slots beneath it, that’s 4 rows of planting. If you space each plant 6 inches apart that’s only 8 plants per row or 32 plants total. But, to get a fully planted look, you’d want to pack them in more closely. That’s why I’d go for at least 10 plants per row or 40 + total. Hope that helps.

  40. Jocelyn says

    Hi Joe, I’m looking to make a pallet garden for a rooftop but I’m concerned about the weight, how much does a typical pallet garden weigh with the seeds/plants and potting mixture in? I’m looking at a pallet that is roughly 4×6 feet.

    • Adriana says

      Hi, kindly re- read threads above. Your question was already addressed. See November 5, 2013 answer to Laura. 😉 enjoy your new garden!

  41. elizabeth says

    I have a question that I hope someone can answer…is it ok to paint a pallet that you are going to plant herbs in?

    Thank you

    • Adriana says

      In the square foot gardening method, they suggest to Only paint the outside, Never the inside, if you must paint. Particularly if you are growing edibles vs. for fun and aesthetics.

  42. Tamy says

    I’m preparing to plant my first pallet garden. We’ve just moved to North Carolina and I”m a bit overwhelmed trying to decide what to plant. Worse yet, we have wild rabbits in our yard, so a vertical pallet garden seems the best choice, but I don’t want to waste the bottom 2 rows. Can anyone suggest plants for the bottom two (or three) rows that would do well in a pallet garden and survive the attack bunnies (although those rabbits are cute, I’m looking to feed my family, not them). :)

    • Bill says

      Just fix a post on either side of the pallet and dig a couple holes to hold the posts. This will keep the vertical garden a few feet off the ground.

    • andria says

      Try planting Marigolds. They’re known to repel little peter cotton tails that like to sneak into gardens :) I think they don’t like the smell or maybe they just taste terrible! Good luck!

    • Adriana says

      Just a thought to keep in mind. What ever you descide on, read through an extensive list of what not to give your rabbit to ensure you do not plant anything poisonous or something that will give them diarrhea. Let us know what you decided on. Quite interested as we will be having bunnies in the garden too.

  43. Donna says

    Am glad I found this website on growing veg with pallets. I think I am right, but can’t I just put the landscaping material on the pallet, fill with good soil and lay them flat on the ground? I have no place to hang them on my house. By laying them on the gound, the veggies would also be getting moisture from the ground. I am just looking for a way that my husband does not have to til up the ground….I would never get my garden if I waited on him to do this :) So, I just go ahead and plant my tomatoes and bush beans between the slates?

    • says

      I don’t see why not Donna. I know people that cut a slit in the bag of soil and plant directly into it, so I don’t see why a pallet is much different. My main concern would be the root depth for tomatoes limited by the shallowness of the pallet width. But you should try it and see. I think the plants will adapt just fine.
      Also, if you don’t want to hang the pallet but would like a vertical option, you could simply add some 2×4′ to the bottom and create feet so it can stand freely without mounting. That could give you a lot more options and the roots would be able to grow more deeply as an added benefit.

    • Adriana says

      You could always use two mirrored pallets to add height and backing at the same time. Then read the square foot garden method so you can get a good start on your new garden. Enjoy Donna!

  44. vintage gardens says

    i would NOT want this MESS against my house! and it wouldn’t get the sunshine & air it needs.
    but it makes sense that it would be warmer for growing plants if it was IN THE GARDEN like a raised bed. put pallets together forming an L or a U shape. line them with burlap, fill them with soil and then CUT SLITS in it where you place the plants.

  45. susans4him says

    I love the idea of pallet vertical gardening. My concern too has always been the chemicals with vertical gardening and raised gardening. Joe, so you stated cedar is the best to make your own pallets. Are there anywhere you can buy them fully assembled? Thanks ahead for any advise

    • says

      Hi Susan. I don’t know of a national site to buy them but someone should do that. I just wonder what the shipping cost would be to ship a shipping pallet!? Ha. I was lucky b/c there was a place in my town that did make them.
      Anyway, I think you could fabricate you own pallets easily with non-treated, weather resistant wood like cedar by purchasing the supplies at your box store. In fact, if you really got creative, you could go to town with this idea. Add a stand, a waterproof fabric for the back, etc. Anyway, you could make a kit for yourself or others. But my vote is to make your own. It should be so easy and inexpensive.

  46. JoAnna says

    I can hardly wait to try this pallet idea! I want to put my pallet on wheels to roll with the sun! I will also be planting on both sides of the pallet. I will use low growing, shade loving, flowering plants in between a variety of lettuce on one side.The other side will be sun loving plants. This will require more watering, however with such little space it will be worth it!

    • says

      Brilliant idea JoAnna! I’ve never seen a pallet on wheels before but it certainly makes sense. Please send pictures if you do this. Thank you for sharing your idea here. Can’t wait to see it in action.

  47. says

    I live in north Idaho 2 hour drive to the border of Canada, since I am up against the mountain I have limited space for a garden & to limited areas of sunshine. The vertical garden will really help. Very anxious to try it. Thank you , Pat

  48. Harmony says

    Nope- I build pallets, mine are just wood, not treated in any way. There’s company’s out there like food grade that have good quality pallets

  49. Green-thumbed lady says

    You have me wondering about drainage if placed on a wooden deck. No one mentions a catch pan to save ruining the deck. In the upright version, I also wonder about the amount of water making it to the lower opening. (a problem I had with a tall strawberry pot). Would plastic tubes carrying water half way down to release help the plants on the lower level?

  50. KnittingMole says

    I love the look of all these reused pallet ideas but am very leery of doing them. I work for a company that imports products from China, etc and our containers get fumigated, pallets and all, often. So even if the pallet is not pressure treated lumber, how would you know it hadn’t been treated with chemicals at other times of its life?

  51. Julie Roller says

    I have a link on the dangers of using pallets for repurposing. They can be sprayed with pesticides and fungicides even if they are not pressure treated and have been linked to illnesses. As much as I am into recycling things, we as a society unfortunately ship a lot of unhealthy things around… pallets can be from anywhere in the world and could have had just about anything on them.

    • Glenn says

      I agree. But one can take some steps to know your pallet’s pedigree. Here in the South, we have many pallet companies where they are made from freshly harvested pine or hardwood. And the majority are untreated. I would be comfortable taking this route. Might cost a few bucks but all those other concerns would be nipped in the bud.

      • peggy says

        If the pallet IS pressure treated, couldn’t on line the whole thing with sheeting to prevent chemicals from leaching into the soil?

        • says

          Yes you could. The goal is to prevent roots from coming in contact with any part of the wood or what leaches from it. A think layer of plastic is the suggested method to prevent this. If you do this Peggy, will you take pics and keep us posted on how this goes. I see some logistical challenges but totally doable. Would love to track your progress and hear your comments. Thanks!

    • says

      For a pallet garden, almost any herb would work and are best suited for this type of garden since most plants stay relatively small compared to vegetable plants. Edible flowers are also a great choice. Nasturtiums would make an excellent choice and add fantastic color.
      For vegetables, I would place taller growing plants like peppers and bush beans along the top row, and trailing or vining plants (especially smaller growing varieties of bush cucumbers and tomatoes) along the bottom row. Cherry tomatoes also work well. If you want to plant other veggies in the pallet, I would focus on dwarf, patio or bush varieties, all bred for smaller spaces and growing environments.

  52. Elaine says

    Thanks..that was the conclusion I was coming to. Unfortunately, I was salvaging (i.e. dumpster diving) these ones, so Im not a hundred percent but there is no indication that they are treated. I think Im going to go for it. :)

  53. Elaine says

    Hi, I have a question. Everyone says that palletts are pressure treated and that you shouldnt grow veggies or edibles in them. What do you think?

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