I love the idea of vertical gardens, especially in a space poor area like a balcony garden. I also love the idea of making them out of upcycled material like old shipping pallets. Here’s a breakdown of how I recently made my own from scratch.
Wooden pallet, hessian type fabric, staple gun, scissors, soil and plants. You could also use nails instead of a staple gun but I imagine they’d need to be flat head nails to avoid the fabric pulling through the nail once the dirt is added.
I scored a free pallet from a neighbourhood buy/sell group but have since seen several abandoned by the side of the road or in rubbish skips that are begging to be rescued and upcycled! Initially I bought a staple gun second-hand but later realised it was missing a part (the seller refunded my $$), so I ended up buying a new one from a hardware shop. I try to buy second-hand as much as possible and ideally borrowing one would be the best option (I didn’t know many people in Helsinki at the time). While I couldn’t find any second-hand hessian, I did find some similar breathable fabric in an op-shop for a few euro. Tip shops, recycle centers or opp shops should have something suitable.
Step.1 Prepare the fabric
As my pallet has 3 ‘shelves’ I cut the fabric lengthwise to cover the entire length of a shelf. Smaller pieces would also work if you staple them tightly at the halfway mark. Leave enough fabric on the middle and bottom shelves so you can staple around the vertical back planks to ensure the soil doesn’t escape.
Step.2 Staple fabric (make sure it’s the right way!)
I only realised after stapling my fabric that the part that would become the top actually had a chip out of the wood. Check beforehand which end you want to face up and then flip the pallet upside-down to staple the fabric to the bottom of each shelf. Hold the fabric taught while stapling and then trim the excess.
Step.3 Fill with soil and plant herbs
Once your material is stapled to the wood, take it to where it’s going to live and flip it up the right way. Add good quality soil to the shelves and plant your herbs/flowers. I added parsley to the top layer, basil and sage to the middle and rosemary on the bottle shelf. There’s also room for extra small pots if you want to maximise the space.