It’s springtime and that means it’s time to start thinking about your spring garden plans. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, herbs—oh my! This tutorial is going to show you how to create your own Vertical Pallet Vegetable & Herb Garden.
I have been itching for a garden ever since we moved out of our house a few years ago. I had a pretty amazing garden and I was super sad to leave it. Currently, I just can’t go tilling up the backyard for another epic garden. I’ve tried container gardening, but just wasn’t satisfied. I needed more, and that’s how the idea for a pallet garden came about. But not any ordinary pallet garden—I wanted to go vertical. Again, for reasons that have to do with space and maintenance, a vertical pallet garden project is perfect for those that have small spaces like me or those that just want to get their feet wet and not worry about tending or maintaining a large garden plot.
Also, a vertical pallet garden is also a great project that you can get your kids involved in! I remember starting my own garden as a kid. I was so incredibly fascinated to watch my plants grow, and that fascination hasn’t diminished. Every morning, I’m out there watering my plants and checking for new growth. I could spend hours out in my flower beds and tending to my vertical pallet garden.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Vertical Pallet Vegetable Garden:
-staple gun & staples
-3-4 bags of gardening soil
-vegetables & herbs
-flowers that attract pollinators
-L-brackets and screws if you want to hang your pallet (anchors/anchor screws if it’s a wall)
*A couple of important notes on this project before you get started. You can’t use just any old pallet that you find. You have to look for pallets that have “HT” stamped on them; “HT” stands for Heat Treated. Most pallets are Pressure Treated with harmful chemicals (it’s what makes them last forever). You definitely don’t want those harmful chemicals transferred into your edible plants.
I highly recommend that you make your own pallet because even if you were to find a Heat Treated pallet, you still don’t know where it’s been or what’s been spilled on it (or worse). And why risk contaminating your veggies and herbs? I’ve got a tutorial on my blog that teaches you how to make your own pallet. It’s not hard at all and you can ask your local lumber company to cut your wood for you!
Also, it’s important that you have a space that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight every day (or most days—we can’t control Mother Nature!) for this type of garden.
For my Vertical Pallet Vegetable and Herb Garden, I went with the following plan:
-Top Row: 4 Tomato Plants
-Next Row: Spearmint, Artisan Loose-Leaf Lettuce Mix, 2 Mild Jalapeno Plants
-Next Row: Sweet Basil, Artisan Loose-Leaf Lettuce Mix, Cilantro
-Last Row: Summer Squash, Artisan Loose-Leaf Lettuce Mix, Cucumbers
Recommended Vegetables & Herbs for your Vertical Pallet Garden:
-Tomato plants: “Celebrity”, “Fresh Salsa”, “SuperTasty”, “Tiny Tim”, “Small Fry”, “Patio Hybrid” and “Toy Boy”
-Lettuce mix: “Healing Hands”, “Alfresco”, or “City Garden Mix”
-Herbs: “Red Rubin” or “Genovese” basil, sage, spearmint, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and cilantro
-Summer Squash: “Saffron” or “Dwarf Summer Crookneck”
-Cucumbers: “Bush Champion”, “Salad Bush”, or “Spacemaster”
-Watermelons: “Bush Sugar Baby” or “Golden Midget”
On to the steps!
Flip your pallet over to the side that has the least amount of horizontal boards (the bottom side). Take out your landscape fabric and starting at the top, roll it out so that it blankets all but the top open hole of the pallet. You want to be able to wrap your landscape fabric around all sides of the pallet, except for the top. Before you start securing it in place, double up your landscape fabric.
Start stapling your landscape fabric around the 3 sides of your pallet (2 sides and bottom) and staple the fabric to the boards in the middle section. Making sure to keep your fabric pulled tight. Staple. Staple. And staple some more!
Roll out your plastic sheeting. This will be used to help keep moisture away from your wall or fence. You will only want to wrap your plastic sheeting around the sides and back. I doubled up on this as well. The bottom of your pallet will only have your landscape fabric on it for drainage purposes.
Start stapling your plastic sheeting around the sides of your pallet. Making sure to keep your plastic sheeting pulled tight. Staple. Staple. And staple some more!
The first few steps can be completed wherever you are comfortable. This step and the next few steps need to be completed in close proximity to where you are going to either lean or hang your pallet. Flip your pallet back over so the front side is facing up to the sky to start. Start pouring in your gardening soil in the lowest rung of your pallet and pack it in well. Keep working up to about the halfway point of your pallet, continually adding soil and packing it in. The soil doesn’t need to be flush with the top pallet pieces (doing so will cause it to fall out). Just keep it level just below the pallet front pieces.
Lean the pallet up against the wall or fence it’s going to hang around. As the pallet will become super heavy once all of the dirt is in. Continue to pack in the dirt until it’s filled all the way to the top.
Time to start adding in your vegetables, herbs and flowers! Starting at the lower opening, add in your vine-type plants like cucumbers, squash, watermelon. In your middle rows, add in your herbs and lettuces. In your top rows, add in your peppers and tomatoes. And in the very top opening, add in your flowers that will attract the pollinators to your plants.
Adjust your garden as needed, lean it more or less (don’t stand it up vertically unless you are going to mount it with L-Brackets).
Water your garden and watch it grow!