Building Your Own Pallet Garden (part 3)

My mom lives in Toronto and with me being in Oakville, we check in with each other pretty regularly so a typical phone call with her sounds something like this:

Mom:    Hi honey. I wanted to see how things are going.

Me:        All good. But we just saw each other yesterday. Nothing much going on.

Mom:    Oh. Okay. Well, I just like to know what’s going on. Let me know if anything

exciting happens.

Me:        Will do mom. You have a good week.

Mom:    Thanks, you too.

While the pallet gardening is going well so far, not much to report so this is going to be a bit of a “mom phone call” this month. In the last article, there was a lot of action ... sourcing materials, getting the pallet garden constructed, selecting the plants. As most gardeners are familiar though, next comes …. the waiting period. The weeds haven’t taken hold yet, the plants are doing their thing and nothing to do but water. Which is one thing I can provide a small update on. Although we’ve had plenty of rain so far, it does look like the self-watering system is working. I have done a few top-ups though as the plant roots are still fairly shallow and the water from the reservoir does not seem to be making it all the way to the top layer of soil. My preliminary hypothesis is that the use of a bottom reservoir system will work great with deeper rooted plants such as tomatoes, particularly later in the season, whereas it might not necessarily be ideal for shallow rooted items such as lettuce.

I can also report that the dog is completely ignoring the structure, which means my plants are safe from being crushed. A big “check” in my world. She is still escaping into the neighbour’s yard by jumping the fence though. I did come up with a solution to that using some of the leftover PVC pipe from the reservoir system I constructed. It works like a roller bar (or, to be more precise, a giant toilet paper roll) that is situated between the two fence posts. When she tries to jump, she falls back as the bar just rolls her off. A bonus “spin off” (get that…a little joke there) from the construction materials.


My final note for this month’s “lessons learned” – I’m not loving where I placed my garden. It’s located with lots of sun and it works, but I’ve been thinking about putting a shed in and I’ll have to tear down the pallet structure and relocate it if I do. While it will be possible, it’s going to take more work than it was to construct it so something to keep in mind.

Next month, I should have a good opportunity to test the reservoir system. I’m out of town for 10 days in July and I’ll be topping up the system to see how it works while I’m gone. I may be reporting on my dead plants or, hopefully, on the lush garden that has magically appeared in my absence. I do have a neighbour that will be checking in just in case.

Till the next episode, the Black Thumb signing off.

By Donna Doyle