Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sustainability & Recycling Ideas

Hi All,

Well recently I started looking at different ways our family can work with the environment rather than always buying new things to use!
I stumbled upon this website while surfing via Facebook: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-turn-a-pallet-into-a-garden/

The owner of the site, Fern, shows some really interesting ideas for re-using items as simple as an old timber pallet and turning it into a real garden feature!

Please check her website out as I can take no credit for this idea, this article is more so to bring awareness to the idea and demonstrate how my family and I created our pallet!

Heres a list of things you'll need to get your pallet going:

1 Timber Pallet
1 Roll of Weed Matt
1 Roll of Sandpaper (Medium course)
1 Staple Gun with plenty of staples
5 Bags of 25L soil
10 - 15 punnets of plants


So, Step 1 is basically get your hands on a timber pallet, there are usually heaps lying around in nearly every suburb you drive through. I noticed this morning nearly all businesses have a pile out the back and you will also find one or two out the front of houses if someone has recently renovated...


Try and find a nice one but if possible one which has thinner wood than most heavy duty ones, you'll thank me later as the weight of these once soil added is huge!





Step 2, once you've lugged it home you need to nicen it up a bit with a solid sanding, my view on this one was the idea that little children can be involved so try and round off the edges, sand back any bits sticking out that could give off some nasty splinters and fix up any big bits that have come off.



Step 3, this bits easier, take out the weed matt and place it over the pallet, have enough extra on the sides as this can either be doubled up or trimmed off later. For extra durabilty we decided to double ours up on the edges just to make sure.

Once you've stapled them in, just run over all the staples with a hammer to make sure they're all in fully!





Step 4, lay down the pallet and proceed to add fill with soil, remember you need to make sure you pack soil at the bottom and top of each railing, pack it in really tight once plants are added to ensure the soil doesn't all drop out.







Step 5, the fun part! With the soil already added part the middle of each row to create a channel for you to add the plants, for ours, we managed to get our hands on super cheap punnets of flowers for only $1.50 each so we ended up buying 24 of them which helped give it an already established look.



Step 6, once the plants have been added now pay particular attention to filling the gaps up with soil, with a spare mini bucket add clumps of soil around the outside and inbetween plants and press it in firmly - this will help ensure that the plants and soil don't dislodge when you stand it up.




Step 7, give your new plants/pallet garden a thorough drenching! New plants love a big drink once they've been added to new soil and new surroundings so fill the water container up 3 or 4 times and drench it!




Now Step 8 is really up to you when you do it, stand up your pallet and attach to wall via bolts/brackets if thats how you intend to use it.

Myself, and I believe Fern via her website did also, couldn't resist and stood ours up not long after the drenching - I was too eager to see how it looks..

Must say, the sheer weight of my pallet was immense and I struggled to move it against our shed! So make sure you have two people to move the pallet and help you secure it.

I found this to be a really enjoyable little venture, it was fun to do and the kids loved helping too! This is a really family friendly thing you can do, it not only gets the kids outdoors and active but teaches them to think outside the square and see what you can create out of items which are usually discarded!

My boy Noah helped me throughout the whole process, my younger daughter Mia more so got involved with the planting side. I think this is a great venture schools and childcare centres should look to adopt, my only concern with it is the weight, so if anyone out there is considering doing this please make careful consideration to how you will use it after its finished. If its to be a feature against a wall standing up you must look at bolting it or some other way to ensure this can't fall over - the sheer weight would seriously harm a child or kill them if it landed on them! I'm definately no expert in this side of things so would consult a tradey or even pop down to your local Bunnings as i'm sure their team of experts will guide you!

Mine is placed nicely on a slant, my kids are big enough now to know not to climb or pull it over however I wouldn't recommend every do this if kids under the age of 6 are present..

With that in mind I still think this is a great, fun, environmentally friendly venture anyone can do! The pallet can be loaded with your favourite plants, or, whack a heap of herbs and veggies in there to grow fresh consumables!





Here's a list of the plants I used in the trenches:

Pansy
  • Pussycat
  • Masterpiece
  • Caribbean Sunrise
  • Priscilla
  • Breaking Dawn
Viola
  • Space Crystals
  • Harbour Lights
  • Babyface

Dianthus - Gemfire

Once it was stood up and against the shed I originally just had some potts sitting on the top as I was experiencing soil loss on the top level, I found some gutter mesh I had left over in the shed so added that to see if this would stop the soil running and dropping out - worked a treat!

So with the soil now sitting nicely I added some Brussel Sprouts, Snow Pea and a couple of other small flowering plants (Can't remember their names...). With any luck we will get some yummy sprouts!

The first pallet cost me approx $60 but some of the items such as Weed Matt, Sandpaper and Staple gun can be used for multiple pallets - i'm hoping to get around 3 more pallets out of the initial purchase.

Give it a go and please share your experience and if you rate this as a good venture to do or get your children involved with! The beauty of the pallet transformation is you don't have to stand it up! This can also be used as a new veggie patch laying down instead of digging out one and fencing it off!