Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

The Quick Pallet Raised Bed

I first made raised beds out of wooden pallets in 2015, when we were in our first years of urban homesteading. We were living on a lot 1/3 of an acre in size, so I fit in beds where I could amongst the permanent beds I had built. At the time, I had heard about building from pallets (oh so long ago!) and got to work. I needed a quick solution because we had extra tomatoes and peppers to plant.

When you pick up pallets (and it’s very easy to source them for free; ask at locally owned hardware stores and such; they often have them outside to pick up), you will want to look at the side of the pallets to ensure you are using basic ones, without treatments. See here for an easy breakdown.

The good news is that the “bad” pallets (chemically treated) are usually expensive to make/very durable, so the companies often return them for reuse. They are not often left out for free.

The project we started:

Using a sawzall, I cut off the top boards (now we have a pallet wrecker that pops the boards off). I left the center rib in while stacking two pallets to make a deeper bed.

WIth a staple gun I attached yard/garden fabric to the bottom, then the sides. I trimmed the excess fabric.

I flipped it over and attached the fabric on top; it was done. I found a spot between bushes and beds.

It was filled with a light blend of potting mix and compost, and then I planted tomatoes and pepper plants in it.

I used it for about two years before it fell apart. When that happened, I discarded the fabric, tossed the soil in the compost bin, and burned the wood in our fire pit. Not long after, we moved, leaving urban life behind in 2018, and my raised bed idea was long forgotten.

I saw a photo on Facebook posted on a gardening page the other week, and I remembered that bed long ago.

I looked around the property and found a well-used pallet holding a tarp on a compost pile.

With the work I am doing in the fenced berry bed (it’s a vast garden plot), I have lots of room to add raised beds here and there. I don’t want permanent structures, so this worked.

I had a bit of yard fabric left over, so I stapled it onto the wood.

This time, I decided to leave the boards on the pallet for rows.

I filled it up with deeply broken-down compost (it’s four years old) and let it settle.

Then, I seeded it with various vegetable seeds.

We shall see how it works this year in this sunny bed tucked in between 2 blueberry bushes.

Minimal cost, as the fabric was a leftover piece and the soil was paid for long ago. I like it when a quick homesteading project happens easily.