• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Bill Crim
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Greg Martin

Pallets in Ground nutty idea  RSS feed

 
Posts: 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Background first. Lately I'm trying to think of every way I can us pallets and I'm also thinking of ways to grow trees in my alkaline subsoil clay in high desert. Carbon take a long time to break down but maybe I could speed the process up.

While looking at a pallet wall idea to buffer road noise and sight of  road, I was thinking maybe I could build a large berm instead. With this pini├Án trees can be planted. If you use pallets laid out like geogrid mat to stabilize soil and layer soil 2' a few times, wouldn't it rot eventually like a hugelkultur row? The advantage would be on top layer of topsoil I could grow a tree and underneath would be decomposed by the time the roots got that far down.

I don't mind if idea is shot down. Just wanted to find out how realistic it is or if the benefits are there. I see it as free carbon that can also allow making steep sides (less slope). When trees are established the pallets are rotted and not needed. Maybe the pallet air pockets can have sawdust or leaves in them.

All I can imagine as negatives are:
1) Time it takes to rot could be slow.
2) The heat treated pallets might have something in them I'm unaware of.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1078
Location: Los Angeles, CA
183
books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Please try it!  Tell us what happens.

If you're not failing at something on your farm/garden/orchard, then you're not trying hard enough.  

I'll bet pallets would be great for creating a super-raised bed kind of hugel.  You could tie them up in squares using wire or rope, and then fill the lower third with large pieces of wood, and the upper two-thirds with soil.  You could plant stuff in between the slats of the pallets and let the roots grow into the center of the hugel square.  Water from the top would slowly percolate down through the soil and eventually soak the wood at the bottom.  
 
Posts: 18
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's an idea I just thought of:

You could try lightly charring the pallets first so that the outside surface of the wood is resistant to rot - a.k.a Shou Sugi Ban preservation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvhvR8KwWhw

You idea reminded me of this video on "mechanically stabilised earth" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0olpSN6_TCc
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Be careful, a lot of pallets have very toxic pesticides in them.
 
steward
Posts: 3037
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
637
books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What's a "geogrid mat"?  I think the goal of hugelkultur is to have a lot of wood relative to the dirt.  So with how airy pallets are I think you'd want it to be solid pallets (dirt filled) with just enough dirt around/over them to plant into.  This wise sounding advice is coming from someone who hasn't ever built one though...

I'd imagine getting a ton of pallets and laying them out flat in a double row (8' wide).  Assuming the pallets are 4' by 40".  Then make another double layer on top with half the pallets the wide way and half the narrow way (88").  Then a layer with them all the narrow way (80").  Then cut some pallets narrower and do additional rows with a similar reduction as the pile grows.  Fill the layers with dirt as you go so there isn't too much air space.  Hopefully the square stepped edges will help hold soil in place until the roots take over.  You could even lean pallets against the triangular side of the pallet stack to allow the leaning pallet slats to hold dirt and plants.

Hopefully I'm describing it well enough...

Give it a shot for sure!  And don't use blue pallets...

 
Brad Horner
Posts: 25
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for hearing me out. I don't see any reason not to try. I'll make sure I find the non chemical treated. They never give us the painted pallets which I think are more likely to be treated. The reinforced soil thing came up because of my interest in making a natural retaining wall with no plastic mat. Reinforced soil can keep a mound of dirt stable. It's more of an interesting side effect of wanting to just use the pallets for carbon rot. The side effect could mean more surface area to plant on but I don't know.

Oh and on street side of this berm I have large rocks that I will lean I to berm like a dry stone wall but leaning against the hugelkultur pallet berm. It can, years later, cave in on other side (property side) of berm and I'm ok with that. P

I'm going to just go with it on a 100' run when soil thaws out in like late March(?).
 
Mike Jay
steward
Posts: 3037
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
637
books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Take lots of pictures!  This should be cool.  The rocks are a great touch.  I'd definitely try to eliminate as much air as possible in the hugel so that the pressure of the rocks don't squish the hugel any faster than necessary.
 
Brad Horner
Posts: 25
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Jay wrote:Take lots of pictures!  This should be cool.  The rocks are a great touch.  I'd definitely try to eliminate as much air as possible in the hugel so that the pressure of the rocks don't squish the hugel any faster than necessary.


I'll try and keep rocks from crushing it. Makes sense. Eventually I'll come back and revive this thread with pictures.
 
Posts: 1533
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
58
bee chicken duck forest garden greening the desert homestead kids pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you are anywhere as high, dry, and clay-ey as me it'll take FOREVS to break down. I have a few hugels I built years back with dead trees from my property and those dead trees are still in there, not looking much different at all.
 
Brad Horner
Posts: 25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote:If you are anywhere as high, dry, and clay-ey as me it'll take FOREVS to break down. I have a few hugels I built years back with dead trees from my property and those dead trees are still in there, not looking much different at all.


13" of annual rain and reddish brown powder that when wet is like glue. I will infiltrate water from street to soak into the berm. I'm skeptical but I probably will try. I'm mixing in compost to the pallets and maybe saw dust or leaves. But it would take too long without some way to accelerate the rotting.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2184
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
111
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love the idea of stabilizing the earth with a natural substance.
By using pallets you get to enjoy the benefits of machined and steel fastened wood without the cost.
I would want to water down the whole thing between layers,  to reduce air pockets.

I wonder if this could work for build a road or path?
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1533
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
58
bee chicken duck forest garden greening the desert homestead kids pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brad Horner wrote:

elle sagenev wrote:If you are anywhere as high, dry, and clay-ey as me it'll take FOREVS to break down. I have a few hugels I built years back with dead trees from my property and those dead trees are still in there, not looking much different at all.


13" of annual rain and reddish brown powder that when wet is like glue. I will infiltrate water from street to soak into the berm. I'm skeptical but I probably will try. I'm mixing in compost to the pallets and maybe saw dust or leaves. But it would take too long without some way to accelerate the rotting.



I get 11" with heavy clay. My hugels are right next to swales and one of them gets watered from our driveway. Still natta. Worth a try though!!! I have some underground ones I garden on and those do great btw. At least going by the level of produce I get from them.
 
Mike Jay
steward
Posts: 3037
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
637
books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

William Bronson wrote:I wonder if this could work for build a road or path?


Why of course you can!  My pallet source sometimes has a particular type of pallet that I used to build a raised path through a wet area.  The pallets are 6' by 4' with maple slats and three 2x4 hardwood runners.  I put cinderblocks down as the pilings (just sitting on the dirt) and spanned between them lengthwise with runners from pallets I disassembled earlier.  Then I'd lay these maple pallets across those runners and overlap them a bit.  I screwed them together at the overlap.  Actual construction details would vary based on the pallets at your disposal.

When I wanted to do a bend I'd just overlap them at an angle.  In one spot I needed a tighter bend so I had to cut some pallets.  I ended up with about 60 pallets in my walkway.  

It's 6' wide so I drive my garden tractor and a beefy 4'x4' "woods" trailer over it.  I can fill the trailer with firewood and the bridge has held up so far.  I hope they last a decade before I need to replace them or overlay them.  We'll see, it's been 3 years so far.
DSC01895s.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSC01895s.jpg]
 
I wish to win the lottery. I wish for a lovely piece of pie. And I wish for a tiny ad:
Intrinsic: An Agriculture of Altered Chaos
https://permies.com/t/95922/Intrinsic-Agriculture-Altered-Chaos
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!