Wooden pallets seemed to have have made a big comeback in the past few years, appearing on street corners, by dumpsters and in DIY blogs. Free and easy to make, the pallet lettuce garden is an ideal solution to small gardening spaces.
Grow upwards with the pallet lettuce garden.
You can use materials you most likely already have lying around the house or garden for this project. The wooden pallet should not be hard to find (check curb sides and dumpsters in business areas, or try asking at you local warehouse store).
Not only will you be reusing materials and diverting them from the landfill, but you will also benefit from a space efficient and low cost solution to keeping your lettuce leaves from growing on the ground.
When planted directly in the ground or in a growing tray, some of the lettuce leaves tend to lat flat on the soil, causing many of the leaves to turn yellow and rot. The pallet garden will allow your lettuce the breathing room it needs for fresh and healthy upwards growth.
- 1 wooden pallet
- A handful of small, thin hammering nails
- 6 long hammering nails (they must be long enough to hold the loose pallet boards in place underneath each wooden shelf)
- 2 planks of wood. As these will serve as shelves to hold the soil in, they should be about the same width (but not less) and same length as the wooden planks that make up the pallet.
- 1 long plank of wood. As this will be the base, it must be longer that the other two pieces to help balance the pallet garden and keep it from toppling over. The wider and longer the piece, the more sturdy the pallet garden will be.
- 1 thick plastic bag to use as lining to hold the soil in (I use the bag the soil comes in because it is thick and won’t tear easily)
- Potting Soil. The fluffier the better. The roots won’t have a lot of room to stretch out, so having good quality of soil that won’t harden and dry out, is really important for healthy growth
- Lettuce seeds or seedlings
- Mulch to keep the moisture in. I like to use coconut coir fibre, but any kind of mulch will do
STEP ONE Start by standing the wooden pallet up on its side and hammering the loose planks into the underside of each shelf, using one long wooden nail on each side to hold the plank in place. Remember to attach the longest piece at the bottom, to create a sturdy foundation.
STEP TWO Using the scissors, measure and cut a piece of the plastic to fit the inside walls of the hole. The plastic will help to keep the soil in. Make sure to use enough plastic to cover the entire area, including each corner to ensure maximum use of space. Lettuce roots are shallow and do not need a lot of room to grow, but the more soil the shelf can hold, the more moisture the plant will retain.
Once measured, use tiny nails to hold the lining in place. One or two in each corner should do the trick, as the weight of the soil will also aid in holding the plastic lining in place.
Poke one or two small holes at the bottom of the plastic for drainage.
STEP THREE You are now ready to introduce your lettuce into its new home. Add soil to the plastic lined rectangular hole, folding in fertiliser for extra nutrients.
Before removing the lettuce from its current situation, water the roots to ensure they do not break or tear in the process. Carefully remove the lettuce plant by taking out a large chunk of soil around the roots to protect them. Once in place, add soil to fill in the holes. Then add a generous layer of mulch (at least 1cm or more).
Because the shelves are shallow and do not hold a large amount of soil, the soil around the roots will dry out much quicker than it would in the ground, or even a container. The more mulch you add, the less likely it will dry out. Water.
STEP FOUR Repeat steps one, two and three for remaining two shelves.