Here are some photos illustrating the construction of a hugelkultur inspired raised bed I built this autumn, which I call a Pallet Garden. I have access to free shipping pallets, which would otherwise be thrown away.
My location is Flagstaff Arizona - a high altitude (7000 ft) arid forest with poor soil comprised of clay and rocks. Flagstaff has a 61 day growing season and the first frost free day here is in the middle of June! Flagstaff is a challenging place for growing food, especially for a novice gardener like myself.
I stacked wood pallets, filling in the voids between the pallets with soil, horse manure, partially rotting logs, rotting straw, and mulch. Because the walls are vertical, the pallets are wrapped with 10oz burlap fabric. The burlap is 40" tall and is stapled directly to the wood pallets. Sticks were placed around the perimeter of the pallets to support the burlap that comes up above the level of the pallets. Soil and mulch was piled up to nearly to the top of the burlap. The bed is currently mellowing under a pile of snow. Now I have a few months to decide what to plant and where. Slits will be made in the burlap as needed to insert seeds and or plants into the vertical walls.
Wood pallets are sometimes treated and the chemicals can leach into your food/soil.
The pallets have also been all over the world possible containing "bad" microbes.
You dont need pallets/stone/logs to frame a hugelkultur.
Its probably best to leave it with natural triangle/cone shape to maximize O2 exchange, planting area, sunlight/etc trade off.
I do love hugelkultur.
Strawberries and tomatoes seem like plants that would fit your bill.
Maybe some squash and beans too
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
posted 6 years ago
Thanks for the input. I don't think I've ever seen a pallet constructed with treated wood. There were a few pallets I passed on because they had some paint on them. The boards are mostly pine and a few hardwoods. I'm in a somewhat suburban setting and don't have easy access to a quantity of logs and branches. Pallets can be pretty easy to get ahold of and are a little easier for one person to move around than large logs and stumps. So ease of handling and construction was a consideration too. Lastly, I figured my neighbors would be less weirded out by a big box as opposed to a big hugel pile.
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
i like this.
i've done some small ones just with one pallet, a board on top and then put recycled soil/bag soil/compost/leaves/straw/etc on top.... and plant on top of the whole thing. then it just rots in place....
i have access really close by of tons and tons and tons of free pallets, so i use them for lots of stuff.
those pine (?) flimsy ones, like you used, i didnt think they were treated, the wood falls apart and seems pretty plain.
you can get the fancy ones, those do seem like they may be treated or something.
i've used tons and tons of free pallet wood building things and in and around the garden, and especially for kindling.
i didnt think they were treated at all....guess i will have to look for the HT.
We've been using pallets to build a bunch of raised beds in our yard, so I've done a lot of research on the treated/ untreated issue. What I've found, is that most pallets have stamps that say how they have been treated. HT= Heat-Treated, DB = De-Barked, KD = Kiln-Dried. I've found all of those codes on different pallets I've gotten, and they are all fine.
There are a few others that I've heard of, but have not seen in person: CT = Chemically Treated, MB = Methyl Bromide, PT = Pressure Treated. All of those involve nasty chemicals, according to my research, but I haven't actually seen those ones yet in person. Sometimes there are also stamps that tell what the pallet was carrying, so every time I see a new code, I Google it, and can usually figure out what it means.
My understanding is that this chemical treatment is only required for pallets used for international shipping.
That pallet garden looks cool, btw. I'd love to see how it works out.
There're forests everywhere - why not just go pick up some of the rotting/fallen trees?
You may have to ask permission from the forestry officials; they shouldn't mind, since you are adding value to the community with what you're doing.
You may need:
i. a chainsaw and/or axe
ii. a truck OR trailer (which you could either rent or borrow) to haul the stuff to your farm/garden.
99% of heat treated kiln dried pallets made from southern yellow pine contain no treatment other than being heated to an internal core temperature of 130 degrees for 30 minutes. Very few exporters use fumigation (methyl bromide) for export pallets; however, these pallets are shipped overseas never to return to the states.
You muat have a lot of pallets otherwise you would use them upright. Apart form the chemical issue, which is none if you read carefully what's on the pallets, I cannot imagine to grow root crops there. There is not much soil depth until the next pallett comes. There might be quite big air pockets too.
Why do you wrap something around your pallets and what is that?