The garden started on a sidewalk. Scrap wood, attached at the corners to make a walkway-to-nowhere into lettuce, chard, basil, cucumber bed. Most of the plants in the sidewalk garden we moved from our other house, and they survived, surprisingly. Then came pots. Lots of them- with annoying weeds and grass growing between then, stuck in sunny corners, moved about to get light and plants outgrowing themselves.
Then came the Green Box Garden. Two boxes to start with, from four shipping pallets. Our little resistance to a system that depends on the outside to ship everything to us. Then we built another one.
And today, another was born; our fourth box. Just in case you are new and didn’t see how we did the first three, here’s some clues. Simple simple simple…and cheap!
Some questions I have answered to friends about the boxes:
Why use pallets, why not just put the stuff in the ground?
Most houses are built after several inches of top soil have been removed. So most home gardeners spend a lot time amending their soil so they can grow anything. Plus, we have dogs and a toddler who trample over anything so the little plant babies needed protection in the form of height. Plus, shipping pallets are FREE. We just ask for them and most places, like Ace Hardware and City Mill have been happy for us to take them. If we were to have spent the money on new materials to build these, I would be blogging about the $54 tomato.
Why bother painting them? Isn’t that a lot of work?
It is an extra step, and takes the longest of all the steps. There’s many sides of the wood to paint, but it’s worth it. First, the bare wood probably wouldn’t last one year if we didn’t paint them. Also, it looks nicer! And the green, well it was just chance that it was the mistinted paint on sale one day. It very well could have been the Pink Box Garden, but now that there are four of them out there, I’m glad they are green, as it’s a little less shocking to the eye and blends in nicely. Not so feng shui to have like bright purple pallets in the backyard..course, it could be cool too!
What do you line them with?
The main four we have lined with black landscape fabric. Another tiny one tucked back in a corner I did with burlap. It’s experimental to see how long it takes for the burlap to break down, because I’d rather use a natural fiber, but not if it’s disintegrated in 6 months.
How do you space your plants? What do you put in each box?
This is not scientific. I try to follow some general guidelines about companion planting, but ultimately, if a seedling is ready to be moved from the kitchen seedling rack, it goes where ever it will fit! Today I tucked squash in around the corn and interspersed lettuce by the carrots. Small gardens have to bend the rules.