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Discover Simple Living's Newsletter, Issue #001 -- Raised Container Gardening with Pallets
April 01, 2013

You CAN Have a Garden!

If physical limitations or city living has you thinking you can't have your own garden to grow those delicious vegetables and fruits you crave, we have the solution!

When planning this year's garden, we had to take several factors into account:

• Our yard is approximately 20x20, which we also need as play space for the little ladies (5 and 7) and Sancho, our Australian Terrier rescue.

• We have additional space (also around 20x20) behind the garage, but that land is BARREN ... even more so than the rest of our Denver backyard.

• Speaking of barren ... our soil is basically sand. Not even grass will grow, even with proper care and lots of attention.

• I am scheduled for at least 2 surgeries on my back this summer and won't be able to bend to pull weeds, water or otherwise tend our crops.

Because of these reasons, and the incredible amount of time, energy and money it would take to amend our soil, we have decided on RAISED container gardens. Our only cost is the soil!

We searched Craigslist for free pallets and picked up a couple dozen. We also searched Craigslist for free containers to plant in (be careful if searching "free pot" in Colorado!) and picked up more than 100 pots of various shapes and sizes.

We separated the pallets by size, shape and quality. Those deemed sturdiest were tagged to become legs. Those missing boards or otherwise damaged became tops.

We screwed each top to 2 legs. This made the top at perfect working height for me. We arranged the tables so that one leg was square to the south and would get the best light. Within this leg, we created a pallet planter for lettuce, herbs and flowers.

We created a pallet planter by stapling landscape fabric to the bottom and back of the pallet, then filling it with potting soil. Within the slats, we transplanted our lettuce, herb and flower seedlings.

For the top, we removed the top layer of pallet boards (which we then used as braces to reinforce the legs). Then we filled the space with the containers we had collected. Because of the sunken area, I don't have to worry about plants being blown around by wind. The spaced pallet boards also provide excellent drainage!

Because the pallets raise the work surface, I will be able to tend my green babies all summer long - regardless of back surgeries! And since we didn't have to amend the existing soil, we were able to get exactly what we wanted in our potting soil - organic, full of nutrients and all the good stuff plants need. We choose Fox Farm Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil. (If you can't find this soil locally, it is available on Amazon Fox Farm Organic Potting Soil.)

My favorite things about this project are:

• We repurposed quite a few truckloads of material (pallets and containers), saving these items from a landfill

• Because we repurposed FREE items, we were able to splurge a bit and get exactly what we wanted for soil - the heart of voluntary simplicity!

• The pallet planters are solid but movable, enabling us to take them with us when we move next year.

• Even with back surgeries and limited mobility, I will get to play in my garden all summer!

• With the extra space we've created, we can grow enough extra (beyond what we consume, freeze or can) organic, non-gmo plants and vegetables to sell at farmers' markets.

We'll put pictures of our project up on Discover Simple Living soon and we'll have another newsletter focused on a new idea for you next month.

Until then, happy planting!

Noël

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