Replanting the pallet garden

It’s been just over three years since I built my pallet garden. Since then it has been relocated to a new address (not a fun exercise!) and I’ve had to replace a couple of plants, but in general it lasted quite well. Recently, however, it has started looking a bit tired and in need of some serious maintenance so I bit the bullet and decided to replant it. I made an assessment and decided that the daisies and geraniums could stay. They’re pretty tough plants and have survived through all conditions, and some harsh pruning.  Everything else needed to go.

There were three rows as well as the opening at the top that needed replanting, so I went off to Bunnings and bought new plants and 50 litres of potting mix.  Initially I thought I could lie the pallet down for the replanting, but unfortunately over the years some of the timber has rotted so it wasn’t strong enough to lift off the wall and lie down. So, I started at the top and pulled out the plans and dirt, skipping the two rows I was going to keep.  I wasn’t sure how they’d hold up without anything under them, but fortunately the dirt was packed really tight and they have a lot of roots so they didn’t fall down.

The pallet with plants removed, the dense daisie roots holding the plants in place

As I mentioned earlier, the pallet itself was starting to fall apart so, while it was empty, I took the opportunity to do some minor repairs – namely screw some of the boards back in place to hold it together. Unfortunately the central supports had rotted halfway down and without any replacement timber there wasn’t much I could do except remove the rotten pieces of timber. If you’re doing this yourself, I’d recommend emptying the pallet before going to the hardware store and buying some fresh treated pine if you need to rebuild parts of it.

Rot on the supports inside the pallet
Fresh screws to hold the front planks in place

With fresh screws in place, it was time to start replanting.  I started on the bottom row and worked my way up, first half filling the row with dirt then positioning the plants before piling on more potting mix.  Given the height of the pallet, I had to add the dirt from the row above. Adding from the top seemed like the easiest option, but the weight of it falling was too much and it fell out the gaps as it landed. Overall it wasn’t too difficult, except for the row directly under the daisies. The reason for this was that it was hard to get fresh dirt on top of the new plants since it had to be squeezed in the small gap between the bottom of the daisies and the fresh seedlings below. Still, the whole replanting only took about 90 minutes, and now two weeks on the garden is looking great!

The refreshed pallet garden

I’ve been watering it with a gentle spray until the dirt settles (the hose is a bit strong for the moment, but it’s getting firmer so I’ll probably switch back to a gentle hose soon). One thing I mentioned in my original post, and completely forgot as I was doing this, was to include a soaker hose in the garden to assist with watering. I still think this would be a great idea, so if you’re starting from scratch or doing your own replanting seriously consider adding a soaker hose through the pallet before filling with dirt. Then, all you would need to do is hook the pallet up to the hose and water from the inside without worrying about displacing dirt by watering from the front.

Have you built your own garden pallet? How is it holding up? If it’s looking a little worn out – don’t despair! It’s not too hard to repair and definitely worth the effort to restore it to a healthy state. And it would be great to see some before and after photos in the comment section below!

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