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FOR DESIGN

Green Fingers - How to Make a Herb Planter from Pallets

Andy Fawcett

Hey hey hey, today I am gonna show you a mini project that I had fun creating, this one was a little different to my usual. I got to unleash my inner mans man and use power tools as opposed to craft paper, pens, stencils or a mouse. Welcome to my Upcycled herb planter blog.

How-to-upcycle-a-pallet-into-a-herb-planter

I live in Subiaco in Perth, Western Australia. One thing I have noticed since living in Oz is that we are such a wasteful country. Recycling is so far behind Europe, it seems to be an afterthought for most Aussie residents.  Maybe it's due to the resources available to Oz, the economy is built around export of ore, that this has spilled into the common physce of its residents. One of the things I've noticed is that every couple of months there seems to be some sort of "dump your shit outside day" where the streets of this pretty suburb are filled with fridges, cupboards, ironing boards, printers, pallets, wood paint and everything but the kitchen sink (actually I have seen a kitchen sink). The council come and collect everything and take it to a dump somewhere in the hope tha in a few billion years this mass of junk will have degraded back to some sort of oil that the next species of this planet can dig up and create the cycle again. Anyway I digress. It's on these dump days that I tend to have a little peruse into what's up for grabs on the side of the street, dump diving I call it. Well one day on the way home there was a couple of pretty sturdy pallets so I decided to grab them to make a herb garden for our balcony. One difficult bike ride home later, I had this beauty ready for prepping

The naked pallet  

The naked pallet  

Firstly this thing was huge and I knew I wanted it to be moveable, so I borrowed a friends circular saw and got chopping. I also needed to infill sections so that I could fill with soil. 

 

The mini pallet, naked and limbless.  Although this was a decent quality pallet it was still rough as a bogans mother in law. So I got to work sanding every surface. The amount of sawdust was outrageous and although it was not a windy day, I'm sure the residents below my balcony probably recieved their fair share of it. After I'd finished sanding I looked like an extra from Mad Max.  Time to make it pretty, paint was the main expense for this project, however I discovered that a lot of returned mixed paint is cheap, and seen as how I only needed a small tin and wasn't too picky of the colour, I saved a good deal of cash. I painted every part of the pallet, took about three coats.   For the base I added four castor wheels for mobility.

The mini pallet, naked and limbless. 

Although this was a decent quality pallet it was still rough as a bogans mother in law. So I got to work sanding every surface. The amount of sawdust was outrageous and although it was not a windy day, I'm sure the residents below my balcony probably recieved their fair share of it. After I'd finished sanding I looked like an extra from Mad Max. 

Time to make it pretty, paint was the main expense for this project, however I discovered that a lot of returned mixed paint is cheap, and seen as how I only needed a small tin and wasn't too picky of the colour, I saved a good deal of cash. I painted every part of the pallet, took about three coats. 

 For the base I added four castor wheels for mobility.

A splash of paint

A splash of paint

Now I had the base of the planter I wanted to have a self watering function or a reservoir to keep my herbs and plants fed and watered. I think this will be especially useful on a 30 degree Perth day. There are plenty of items that you can buy off the shelf but I wanted to use reclaimed items. We live across the road from a nice coffee place, so I went and asked them for any empty milk bottles. I cut the bottom off the bottles and punctured a series of pinholes through them. These would then be buried with the soil and filled with water and feed. The idea is that the pressure of the water reservoir will slowly feed the surrounding soil with water. 

I used a root retarding layer (had to buy this) and a staple gun to line each level of the planter. The intention is to help soil retention and to prevent any roots wrecking the wood of the pallet.

Out of the original pallet I was able to make two sister planters. To select the herbs I did a bit of research into their preferred conditions. For a shady to full sun pallet I selected Rosemary, thyme, oregano and chives. For a full sun pallet; dill, parsley, coriander and Basel.  

 

 

The finished pallet with reservoir installed.  Lessons learned like any good project (and even more so on a bad project) you should always document some lessons learned. How could I improve this? What would I do differently? What worked and what didn't? - I'd add a lip on each level to prevent water run off - I'd also use some mesh or old tights to cover the water reservoir to prevent leaves and flys dropping into them.  - I'd widen the base to improve the sturdiness of the pallet - I'm thinking of adding some chalk board or stencilling to the front to improve the aesthetics Overall, I have been pretty pleased with the pallet and the herbs are getting used more often, it's definitely saved a bit of money rather than buying disposable packs of herbs from the supermarket   If you have got this far then thanks a bunch and as a reward you can use the discount code greenfingers if you wanna take a look at our shop and you'll receive 10%off. I'd recommend a tote to be used to carry you gardening kit as they are pretty sturdy material amd can be chucked in the wash. If you are into gardening and design take a look at the seedcell at www.seedcell.co.uk. This is a beautiful designed product made from recycled material. It takes the fuss out of planting seeds and everything is biodegradable. That's design at its best.  

The finished pallet with reservoir installed. 

Lessons learned

like any good project (and even more so on a bad project) you should always document some lessons learned. How could I improve this? What would I do differently? What worked and what didn't?

- I'd add a lip on each level to prevent water run off

- I'd also use some mesh or old tights to cover the water reservoir to prevent leaves and flys dropping into them. 

- I'd widen the base to improve the sturdiness of the pallet

- I'm thinking of adding some chalk board or stencilling to the front to improve the aesthetics

Overall, I have been pretty pleased with the pallet and the herbs are getting used more often, it's definitely saved a bit of money rather than buying disposable packs of herbs from the supermarket  

If you have got this far then thanks a bunch and as a reward you can use the discount code greenfingers if you wanna take a look at our shop and you'll receive 10%off. I'd recommend a tote to be used to carry you gardening kit as they are pretty sturdy material amd can be chucked in the wash.

If you are into gardening and design take a look at the seedcell at www.seedcell.co.uk. This is a beautiful designed product made from recycled material. It takes the fuss out of planting seeds and everything is biodegradable. That's design at its best.

 

The seedcell product. Amazing design and functionality. Lovely product. 

The seedcell product. Amazing design and functionality. Lovely product. 

Love n stuff, 

Andy @ designuntapped