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pallet wood for hugelkultur

 
Emily Jacques
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Is this possible, or will it be long in rotting? Demonstrating my complete ignorance as to the make up of pallet wood...

Anyway, thanks. 
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Possible and really good wood for hugelkultur.  The downsides are that it would be hard to get a good concentration of wood and you would have nails and stuff in it.
 
Luke Townsley
Posts: 131
Location: Dugger, IN Zone 6a
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I'm not sure where you are, but in the US, pallets are often single use so they are made out of anything and everything that isn't worth more as something else.

You might find cottonwood, sycamore and lots of other stuff. Some of them would rot quite quickly. Also, they don't have much mass to them, so it really wouldn't be the same (for better or for worse) as using logs.

Also, they might have occasional contamination with whatever they were holding.

If you can get some from a lumberyard, it would probably be worth using as long as you aren't counting your time to pull them apart and break them down. If you don't break them down, you would have an effect markedly different than hugelkultur in my opinion, plus you will still have the nails or staples when the wood rots.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
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Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
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You could possibly cut all the parts where nails were used out with a chainsaw and burn them. Nails can be picked up and reused later from the ash bin. But it would be a hell of work. Using logs and branches is much easier.
 
                          
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And yet my wife insists I eat these girl scout cookies.

Anyway...

If I understand this right, you're burying wood in a permanent raised bed.  It's going to be a foot down, more or less, and out of harm's way but still in a more or less aerobic soil zone.  The steel used for pallet nails varies.  If they're half rusty when you bury them, they'll keep rusting when underground.  Unless they're stainless, I wouldn't worry too much about the nails. 

Dan
 
duane hennon
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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if you can get get pallets  and can keep them out of the landfills then using them is a good thing. use the good one for building things, ie, fences, compost bins, etc. broken ones can go to hugelculture. when the good ones start to breakdown, you're got the start of a new bed. pallet wood can be mixed with logs, limbs, etc to make the bed. pulling out a few nails is no big deal.

not utilizing pallets and sending them to the dump and then cutting down trees to build hugelculture beds seems un-permaculture to me.
 
Fritz Charlton
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Location: Indiana near Chicago
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Call me crazy, but most pallets I have seen seem to be stained or shellacked, or processsed in some way.  Maybe I am wrong.  

ROI = return on investment

You are embarking on spending a ton of time.  (I am in the same boat)  You are also likely to spend a bit of money, bringing in at least one of the inputs.  This bed is going to produce for you for years and years.  MHO is to take the time to use the best inputs you can gather.

For example, this is how I am doing things:
Logs- branches- brambles- leaves:  find some woods, ask the people fill your truck... or ask a tree/landscaper
Horse manure - free from stables
Compostables-  I leave a can at the local fruit veg stand, a bucket at the coffee shop and one at the sushi shop for fish heads.

My main issue is dirt!?!  no free dirt.  hopefully it is cheap  as, well, dirt.

Long story short, I am all about spending time to save money, but you can still be Frugal  in your Hugel, but not cheap going deep.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am currently in process on my first Hugel.  Good luck.
 
Warren David
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The kind of pallets that are painted or treated in any way are usually deposit paid pallets so recyclable. Businesses do not usually give deposit paid pallets away. I have to pay a €9 deposit on some pallets so I always make sure to take those ones back.
I use free pallets for firewood all the time and most burn great. They take quite a bit of preparation though. Cutting off all parts of the pallet that has nails in and not using those pieces for hugulkulture is probably too much work for the amount of usable wood you will end up with.
Go to a builders merchants and ask if they have old pallets they want to get rid of. They often have piles of pallets you can take or crates of broken ones. They are glad to get rid of them.
 
Emily Jacques
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I think I'm going to wait the two years until we actually move out to the boonies to try Hugelkultur. And there we will have a lot of timber on our land.

I have discovered a local free supply of pallet wood, though, and plan to build some things with it Thanks for all the responses! 
 
                                      
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lots of people build compost bins out of pallets, very easy to do. you can get untreated free ones of craigslist
 
              
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Location: swampland virginia
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emjo wrote:
I think I'm going to wait the two years until we actually move out to the boonies to try Hugelkultur. And there we will have a lot of timber on our land.

I have discovered a local free supply of pallet wood, though, and plan to build some things with it Thanks for all the responses! 


try calling a couple of tree service / landscaping / power line trimmer companies. Tell them what you are looking for and let them know if they bring you exactly what you are looking for, you will take it and/or pay them for it. They usually pay to get rid of it. It costs them money to bring it to you. It may cost them more if you specify exactly what you are willing to take. I recommend this because they may be bringing you bugs and wood you do not want. Tell them no rush, when they get the right stuff, you are willing to take it off of their hands. Chips, logs, trimmings... they are out there.
 
Casey Halone
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I have got so much good wood from pallets. also great for bird houses.

but really, with a skill saw, cut right along the stringers, 8 cuts total, even faster if you are good with a table saw. I would just burn the 2x4 parts with the nails if you have use for them and as someone else said, all the nails will be in a nice pile, not bent up from trying to remove.

wishing I could have a wood stove, but it doesn't feel worth installing as we want to move in just over a year.

it blows my mind people can sell fire wood in this economy and we cut down trees for firewood when pallets are in the dumpster, helllllllo!

I have built 8 raised beds so far with free pallets and filled about 3/4 with wood chips from a local arborist. 6 yards delivered free as they were in my area for the day already!

i think the extra 2 feet of wood chips below my growing soil should keep the seedlings a little warm too?



 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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depending on the pallets, around here they are generally either oak or poplar wood..mostly oak

either would probably work well for hugel

they are likely put together with staples too which would add iron...but you would have to be careful of them if you are digging, but no dig, no till..no problem
 
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