4 tips for starting an affordable vertical garden

4 tips for starting an affordable vertical garden

You can use pallets left over from transporting food, otherwise thrown away or burned, to turn a boring wall into an elegant and fruitful vertical garden. Here’s how.

1. Find the right pallets

  • Since you’re growing edible plants and don’t want them soaking up harmful chemicals, ensure the pallets you find are heat-treated, not chemically treated.
  • Heat-treated pallets will either be labelled HT (heat-treated) or IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention).
  • Sand and then stain the pallet for a desired finish.

2. Create pockets

  • You’ll want to create pockets in each row for the soil to rest. Why? Pockets allow you to use far less soil than simply filling up the entire pallet and cutting holes in the fabric to plant.
  • Some use landscaping fabric, others use burlap; it just depends on what materials are available to you. Keep it easy and affordable, just make sure the fabric is sturdy.
  • Next, you’ll want to measure the length of the pocket tray, taking notice that the front pallet has seven beams and the back four. Pockets one and two will connect to back beam one, while pockets three and four will connect to back beam two. Five and six connect to back beam three and pocket seven will be created near the end of the project, when the back and bottom sides are wrapped together.
  • Now, cut your fabric and use a staple gun to create and attach your pockets to the structure.

3. Secure your planter

  • Position the soon-to-be planter against the desired wall, so that it’s leaning and won’t fall over. If you have wind storms or animals that might knock it over, you can secure it by mounting “L brackets” onto the wall and sliding it on.
  • If your wall won’t accept brackets, give the pallet “feet” by attaching a length of plywood to the bottom and weigh it down with cement blocks or another heavy material.

4. Add soil and plant

  • Add handfuls of soil to the pockets, and plant directly into these. It may take more plants than you’d think; so try growing your own starts from a packet of seeds, which is much more affordable than buying individual starts.
  • If the fabric you choose allows water to drain through, water your plants from the top and let the rows below catch the excess. Make sure your edible starts have access to a sunny wall and you’re all set with this affordable vertical garden.

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