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Try Using Pallets For Organic Vegetable Gardening In The Fall

Updated on May 5, 2015

Fall Vegetable Gardening With Pallets In Texas

You haven't lived, until you have tried to grow any kind of a vegetable garden in Texas.

With our clear blue skies, our searing temperatures from April through October and only a moderate rainfall? Well, let's just say it can be quite a challenge.

But, gardening is an endeavor worthy of any challenge. Whether you prefer organic or regular vegetable gardening, now is the time to think about fall (or any time really) vegetable gardening.

So does that mean it's time to start turning the soil? Or not? What if you don't have the room for a traditional garden or you have bad soil, on a slope, poor drainage, it doesn't matter.

I'll show you an easier way, easier than all of that tilling and fertilizing. Gardens do no have to be traditional as in the picture above, nor do they require building a raised bed garden or any of the other types of gardens you may have heard of. Try using Pallets for Organic Vegetable Gardening in the fall (or anytime)

Follow along here today and I will show you a simple and inexpensive way to grow a vegetable garden in the fall.

Using pallets standing up or lying down.

Instead of Tilling and Fertilizing - Try "Pallet Gardening?" (Standing up, Part 1 )

It sounds so simple it can't be true, right?

Wrong! It is simple.....and easy to do. Innovation is a by word here in Texas and finding ways to garden when the soil won't cooperate or the weather is just too dog gone hot? Well, there are still ways to get the job done. All that is necessary to try using pallets for Organic vegetable gardening in the fall or anytime as I have said? Is to select the right number of pallets to grow the number of vegetables you plan to plant and grow.

Used or New pallets?

NOTE There seems to be concerns as to the safety of using used pallets and that's ok. If you have no way of cleaning and treating the pallet before use or are worried about it's previous life, there are many, many, many pallet manufacturers out there with brand new unused pallets that are available for purchase.

Used pallets

If you have the ability to clean and/treat your used pallets once you get them, then by all means do so. Check around town where you live, because most companies are happy to get rid of pallets and will supply them to you for free.

Cleaning and treating used pallets:

A good pressure washer does the job nicely. Don't have a pressure washer? Your local self service car wash does. Brush the surface of the pallets with bleach before washing, by using a good hand scrub brush and wear gloves. Vinegar works as well. Next, pressure wash the pallet with soapy water, covering the pallet thoroughly. Then use a brush to once again clean in between cracks and to avoid getting splinters. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and viola'? Done.

How many plants to plant per pallet

For myself, I plant two tomato plants per pallet row max. Beans, I plant no more than a dozen per pallet, allowing them to climb and spread easily. This gives them plenty of room to grow "out" as well as "up." I can help you with what and when to plant also. I will start with the vegetables that can be planted in September and October

Veggies that will grow in the fall

( a ) Beets:

( b ) Beans: Plant them no later than the end of September

( c ) Broccoli:

( d ) Cauliflower

( e ) Cucumber: The earlier the better

( f ) Peas

( g ) Radishes

( h ) Swiss Chard

Vegies that grow best when planted by November at the latest:

( I ) Carrots

( J ) Garlic

( k ) Cloves

( L ) Leek

( m ) Lettuce

( n ) Onions

( o ) Spinach


Choosing what and how much to grow depends upon what I plan to do after harvest. Can, freeze or just plain old eat? I plant and have grown all of this, so I know they will grow well. The Pallets needs to be stood on it's ends (Upright) I prepare the ground ahead of time by watering it so that all of the moisture in my compost isn't drawn out immediately. I loosen the ground under where I will place my pallets.

There's a couple of ways to use the pallets. One is standing upright ( Like in the Picture above ) But, so that the weather and/or your plants do not topple them, I drive a long stake down (inside) the middle of the upright pallet, to hold it in place. But, wind can be a problem here in Texas, so I drive a stake through at both ends.

The other method is lay the pallets flat on the ground and simply put the fertilizer in between the slats

Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Garden Soil - 1 Cubic Foot
Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Garden Soil - 1 Cubic Foot

Miracle Grow as a product has a reputation that speaks for itself. It matter's not what your choice, their products are all excellent. This organic topsoil when ,ixed with almost any other soil will grow vegetables nearly on a rock it's that good.Evaluation: If you are unsure of the nutrient content of your soil, but this. It will make a world of difference and it's organic.


Pallet Gardening - ( Part 2 )

Pallets lying flat

Try using pallets for your Organic vegetable gardening by using pallets lying down. As you can see from the picture, the pallets are arranged in whatever order works best. However,they must be far enough apart to leave enough room around each one. This allows me to get in and plant, water or harvest. Or in my case: "Tail wagging room." (my Black Lab helper) but however you decide, just make it convenient.

Compost, topsoil or potting mix?

I loosen the ground under the pallet ahead of time with a rake or shovel before placing my pallet) I then use a combination of all (compost, potting soil and top soil) and I just pour it in between the slats of the pallet. Automatically allowing plenty of room in between, for each plant. If planting bushy plants like tomatoes, plant every other slat. (four tomato plants per pallet seems to work best) It's simple, easy, convenient and effective. This does take up a bit of space, but is a simple and effective way to garden if you have poor soil or maybe gravel where you want to plant.


With this style of gardening, I use a water can in the beginning until my starts are strong enough, then I run a soaker.

A Fiskars watering can works great. They are inexpensive and last forever.

Bloem 2 Gallon Watering Can, Thyme Green (20-45222) (20-45222)
Bloem 2 Gallon Watering Can, Thyme Green (20-45222) (20-45222)

Fiskars quality is known well. I have had my watering can for years and left it outside in all kinds of weather and it still works great.

Unco Industries (WWSB15LB) Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Unco Industries (WWSB15LB) Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound

I have used Earthworm Castings for years with great results. When I was a kid, my Grand Father raised and sold earthworms, and when he would clean out the worm beds in preparations for the new batch, he would collect the soil and spread it in his garden. Evaluation: You think "Miracle Grow" works? Buy this product and use it with Miracle grow or your favorite Organic compost and you will be amazed by the results.


Gardening Supply Corner - Choosing the right supplies is the key

A CampingmanNW Tip: If ordering items through Amazon, consolidate your orders to obtain the free shipping. After all, it's not about being cheap, it's about shopping smart.

Straw Bale Gardening ( Part 1 ) - Straw bales are available almost everywhere

Soil Preparation:

Another simple method to try planting your organic vegetable garden, is to use straw bales. They require ZERO" soil preparation. if you don't choose pallet gardening, then this just might be your right fit. Here is an example of tomatoes with this method. I have found that Straw Bale Gardening has proven the easiest for plants that would have a tough time in pallet gardening. Like carrots, onions, radishes and the like. So again, depending upon how much I intend to plant? Straw bale gardening might just be for you too.


I decide the area to lay out my bales. I place them end to end, (keeping the wires from the bales on the sides) three or four to a row is plenty really. Remember to leave space in between each row, to walk between for harvesting or watering or whatever. My dog likes to walk with me in the garden and he is a black Lab with a big tail, so I leave ample "tail wagging" room if you follow me?


Depending upon which method I have chosen, I'm ready to plant, just as if I were planting an in ground garden. In this method, I start by breaking an opening in the top of the bales, just large enough for my "starts" or seeds. If I am using seeds, I dig the opening just about big enough for a good sized fist full of organic fertilizer. For onions, carrots and radishes, I plant about three or four seeds in a short row, repeating my way down the bale. I then cover with about 1/2"- 1" of fertilizer. As the plants grow and mature, I thin accordingly.


How to water the garden is easy, I prefer the soaker system as there is nothing to maintain Once everything is planted, I just stretch my soaker hose down the length of the bales and viola', easy watering about every third day. The reason for the every third day, is that the straw bales act as a reservoir for the water, slow watering the plants and keeping them just right moist. If you live in a rainy climate, you may not want to use this method as nature will accommodate you.

OK....that is the first method of straw bale planting, and the method I like best for it's simplicity.

Exaco ECO-2000 2.4 Gallon Kitchen Compost Waste Collector
Exaco ECO-2000 2.4 Gallon Kitchen Compost Waste Collector

Do you have a back yard compost bin? If you do, you need the Exaco Trading compost bucket for your kitchen. These kitchen organic waste container's make transporting to the outside compost bin a simple chore.Evaluation: Not only inexpensive to own, and convenient to carry a batch out at a time. The carbon filter in the lid eliminates odors. Buy it.


Straw Bale Gardening ( Part 2 ) - Building a modified raised bed on top


This method entails a bit more preparation, but is by no means, a lot of work. I build a framework on top of the hay bale. (Some use 1" x 4" 's but I like the sturdier 2" x 4" ) I build it slightly smaller than the size of the bale itself. I then fill it with Jobes Organic Compost and plant accordingly. This method allows me to use the bale a couple of years in a row, so it is something to consider. The previous method depletes the hay bale which I then keep it as compost for my spring planting.

Layout and Watering

The layout remains the same, you place the bales end to end as before, with the wire wrap for the bale on the sides to keep your bale from falling apart. String a soaker hose as I described in the previous segment, for watering or if you have a moist enough climate, you may choose to water by hand. But if you do, I would recommend using a water can so as to NOT dislodge your seeds in the beginning or to damage the leaves later when they are growing.

Either method works well, you simply choose what would work best for you.

Swan Products SoakerPro Landscaping Soaker Hose 50 ft, 3/8 Diameter, Black Element ELSP38050
Swan Products SoakerPro Landscaping Soaker Hose 50 ft, 3/8 Diameter, Black Element ELSP38050

I prefer the element soaker, as it is round and water weeps all around the line in a slow but dependable process. I just unroll it where I want it and that's it. This is a fully functional soaker for almost any environment.


How about some shots of both styles of planting?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
To the extremeSimplicityWhen there is roomSimplicity againEasySimpleBy Joel KarstenResults
To the extreme
To the extreme
When there is room
When there is room
Simplicity again
Simplicity again
By Joel Karsten
By Joel Karsten

Additional Items To Have On Hand - I like to make my life easier, not harder

A Campingman Tip: When ordering items through Amazon, consolidate your orders to receive the FREE Shipping. After all, it's NOT about being cheap, it's about shopping smart.

Ringer 3050 Compost Plus - 2 lb.
Ringer 3050 Compost Plus - 2 lb.

A two pound box of Ranger Compost Starter contains pretty much anything and everything needed to compost your waste from your kitchen and turn it into rich ORGANIC compost. Evaluation: One box is enough to make several loads of rich organic compost. It will pay back in dividends far beyond the cost. Buy it.


In closing

Today's exercise has been a simple presentation of inexpensive ways to garden if you still want to garden but don't have the time or space to plant an entire garden or a traditional garden. Plus, the added benefit, is that you can do either method in the confines of a balcony patio, regular patio or garage or somewhere that natural sunlight can still get to the plants. Pallet gardening or straw bale gardening can be rewarding, fun and easy.

I have even taken to planting one bale for tomatoes and one bale, just for onions and carrots, right on my patio.

Thanks for reading today, stay safe and I'll see you on the trail --CampingmanNW--

Greenes Fence Cedar Raised Garden Kit 2 Ft. X 4 Ft. X 10.5 in.
Greenes Fence Cedar Raised Garden Kit 2 Ft. X 4 Ft. X 10.5 in.

Greenes raised bed garden kits are made from American grown cedar and snap together. The sides just slide into the end posts and the end caps need only a screwdriver. What could be easier?Evaluation: If you want a garden and you want it in a hurry and you want to know the soil being used? Buy this. Besides, they ship FREE right to your door.

Gorilla Carts GOR200B Poly Garden Dump Cart with Steel Frame and 10-Inch Pneumatic Tires, 600-Pound Capacity, 36-Inch by 20-Inch Bed, Black Finish
Gorilla Carts GOR200B Poly Garden Dump Cart with Steel Frame and 10-Inch Pneumatic Tires, 600-Pound Capacity, 36-Inch by 20-Inch Bed, Black Finish

You gotta love the Gorilla Cart. Tough to tip over, easy to use and carry's a ton of stuff. Haul your compost, tools and vegetable starts and all, out at once. Once everything is ready to harvest? You can carry all your veggies back with ease.Evaluation: Time proven back yard work horse. Can carrytons of stuff and bulky hard to carry stuff with ease. Stop breaking your back and buy one. After all, Shipping is FREE


Do you have any comments or stories to share on Fall Vegetable Growing - Feel free to leave a comment anyway

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    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @smine27: Thank you smine27

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Lots of good advice for those interesting in gardening.

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Melissa Miotke: Thank you for your visit. It is far easier than it looks, good luck if you try it.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I'm a beginner gardener. Great tips!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Countryluthier: Thanks for your visit and kind comments. Both are much appreciated.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      5 years ago from Virginia

      Great veggieful lens!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Stuwaha: Thank you and I am glad you enjoyed it. Cheers.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This truly is a wonderful and informative lens!


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