Thursday, 11 June 2015

From Pallets to Planting

Remember the small allotment? When something is 10 mins drive away, you think, it's close enough, I can do that..... Then there are a million and one other things you could be doing instead, and your own back garden is horribly neglected, and so is the (lovely idea) small allotment.
We gave it up when they asked for rent again this year.
I went up and pulled most of the surviving onions and leeks, dug up some of the strawberries, salvaged the compost bin, retrieved the canes, and decided the rest was a dead loss and wasn't worth the effort.
Then Operation Garden could begin!
The trouble with my garden is that it is packed full of rubbish. Electrical wire, bits of cooker, chunks of lino, fragments of polystyrene, shattered corrugated plastic, shards of glass, tin cans..... I looked at the fork, the spade, this was why I agreed to the allotment.
Raised beds, or containers, of some sort seemed the way to go. I ordered 4 of these, which are absolutely fab - but look a bit like I've had a load of sand delivered. They're not the prettiest things, but will be functional and will look better once I have plants growing in them.
Then I looked at the broken pallets I have stacked by the shed.
That's a heavy blue one, given to me already broken. All of one side, and most of the other, is missing, leaving the frame intact.
I stapled weed suppressing fabric to the side with a bit more support, leaving the more open side as the top. If I box in the sides, then I'll have a nice large planter, a bit like this one, but bigger...

That one was half a pallet with the top planks taken off and put on the sides and ends to box it in. It's filled with a freely draining, not particularly nutritious, compost, and planted with herbs. It looks, and smells, lovely as they perk up after being planted.
I boxed in the sides of the blue pallet to make my planter. Then I wondered if the other pallet in similar condition was the same size!
A perfect match, ish, mostly... Close enough! The 2 pallets stacked like that gives me 2 planting spaces about a foot deep with a support across the middle where I can lean while working on planting, weeding, etc. So I boxed in the rest of the sides.
I pulled planks off the top pallet, and other pallets I had in the garden, and used those - cut to length by eye and screwed into place using 2 inch screws - again, placed by eye and not evenly as the screws needed to bite into the best bit of wood available - not always in the same place.
Boxing in finished. It's not the neatest, but I'm proud of it. The planter is solid and sturdy.
So far - pallets scrounged for free, a pack of weed fabric and 2 packs of 2 inch screws from the Poundshop. Total cost so far: £3.00.
It looked a bit rough, and someone on an allotment group on Facebook suggested wood stain.
Now doesn't that look better?
And there's the bag-veg-beds behind it. See what I mean about looking like the aftermath of a sand delivery?
Woodstain from Home Bargains, dark oak, water based: £5.99 for a HUGE tub, that I've barely touched.
Total cost: £9, and some time and energy, and plenty of stain left to do more stuff.
Tools used:
Hammer and big chisel thing - for dismembering the pallets, removing nails.
Cordless drill - with drill bit to suit the screws, and screwdriver bit.
Paintbrush - whatever size you like, I used a 2in brush as it was the first one I laid hands on!
Now I just hope my compost bins have been busy and I have enough compost....
Additional cost: About £6 in dehydrated compost from B&M to use as filler....

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