My teenage daughters wanted to build something and since the Corona-virus hit, we have been on a bit of a budget, so we made this mini garden with some wooden pallets that we already had. This project took us about 3 days, working for 3 or 4 hours a day, so about 12 hours total.
- 3 wooden pallets, depending on number of wooden slats
- 2 boxes of 75 count – 8 x 1 ¼ “ exterior wood screws
- 8 – 12 small 1 inch screws for tacking the fabric
- 4 braces (4 count 1 ½ in square braces)
- 4 wheels that hold at least 80lbs each
- Black out fabric (Stagreen 3 ft x 50 ft roll)
- Dirt – organic dirt, 2 bags of peat moss, 3 bags of vermiculite
- Coarse sanding block or sand paper
Total expenses (see bottom for details): $78.34 plus tax (May 2020-Texas)
- Manual saw (An electric saw would be better!)
- Power drill
- Small shovel
- Outdoor scrub brush
SAFETY TIP: Wear long pants, closed-toed shoes, and safety glasses. Be very careful if there are rusty nails.
Step 1: Clean and sand the pallets.
Our pallets were really dirty because we got them with a load of grass, so we had to spray them with a hose and use a scrub brush to brush them down.
Once they were dry, we sanded down all the rough spots and edges.
Before (above) and after we scrubbed (below)
Step 2: Pick the nicest pallet to be on top.
Our mini-garden is 2 pallets stacked on top of one another. We needed to make sure the pallets were the same size. This was the nicest one, by far.
Step 3: Take off all the usable boards from the worst pallet.
Carefully, with just a hammer to pry off nails, we pulled the boards off and took out the nails. A few of the boards split slightly on the ends, but we still had to use them. It was a lot of work.
Step 4: Take off extra slats from 2 main pallets.
We were trying to make a 4 quadrant garden. The pallet from Step 2 didn’t have many slats to begin with, so we only took 2 off the bottom. This pallet was made from very hard wood, so we decided to leave 2 slats on the bottom in the middle. The other 2 bottom slats could have been removed, if we were strong enough and it wasn’t so hot outside!
Before (above) and After (below)
Step 5: Attach the 2 extra boards to each end.
This covered up the opening on each end and wouldn’t allow the dirt to escape.
Step 6: Attach the planks to the bottom pallet.
Our planks were different lengths and different widths. Since we only had a manual saw (the kind you work with your hand), we decided not to cut all the planks down. Instead we lined them up perpendicular (going in the opposite direction) of the bottom planks, which we did not remove.
If we had been really strong, or figured a way to get the planks off easily, we would have taken them all off the bottom, cut them down to the same length, lined them up perfectly in the same direction that they were going in originally, with a few more added to make a tight fit. This would cut down on the overall weight.
Step 7: Add the wheels.
The wheels made it much easier to move and keep the wood off the ground so it won’t get water logged or rot quickly.
Step 8: Flip it over, add the top pallet, and attach the braces.
You can see that there are still a few gaps that we didn’t want to cover totally with more wood.
If I make this again, I will use larger braces, and probably put 4 on each side, instead of 2 on each side.
Step 9: Add black out gardening fabric to the inside.
We cut about 16 feet of fabric and then folded it over so it is doubled. We tacked it inside along one side with a few small screws. Then we cut another 16 feet of fabric, doubled it, and tacked it into the other side. We did have to trim some excess off. We wanted the fabric to cover the holes, but be just below where the dirt would be. Because we had some planks still going across the middle, we made slits in the fabric to make sure it would go around the planks.
Step 10: Add peat moss, vermiculite, and dirt.
We mixed the peat moss, vermiculite, and dirt really well until it came almost to the top of the wood. We made sure the fabric was covering all the holes.
We planted our seeds and watered them!
Not a bad project for a mom and 2 teenage daughters!
- 3 wooden pallets (free)
- 2 boxes of 75 count – 8 x 1 ¼ “ exterior wood screws ($5.58 each)
- 8 – 12 small 1 inch screws for tacking the fabric (already had these)
- 4 braces (4 count 1 ½ in square braces) ($2.18)
- 4 wheels holding 80 lbs each (2 in plate cooper swivel wheels – 2 packs of 2 wheels are $9.96 total)
- Black out garden fabric (Stagreen 3 ft x 50 ft roll) ($14.98)
- Dirt – organic dirt (already had), 2 peat moss (2 cu ft – $8.98 each), 3 vermiculite (8 quart – $4.98 each)
- Coarse sanding block (3M Sandblaster Pro – 60) ($4.98)
- 4 packets of seeds ($1.58 – $2.00 per packet)
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