Garlic Tower: Project Fail

Remember back when I posted about dismantling a pallet so I could use the wood for a project? And remember when I mentioned that I’d be sharing both successes and failures in my attempts at becoming more sustainable? Well it’s time for a fail update.

This was my plan: turn the wood from a recycled pallet into a stacking tower for garlic. My tower would have the ingenious addition of planned gaps in the side, so that garlic plants would sprout and grow out the sides of the container. This would allow me to grow about 40 garlic plants in a single square foot. Brilliant, right? My own little version of vertical gardening. Here’s how it came together:

If you’re reading this on the front page, click through for photos.

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Dismantling the pallet

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Boards ready for nailing.

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Pallet wood splits easily.

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Square forms, with spacers.

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Planting the garlic.

I planted garlic like this on every level. See how I cleverly pointed the little cloves in the right direction, as if to say, “That way! That way to the sun!”

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Adding another level.

Mind you, the garlic did grow. And some of it even sprouted in the gaps as I’d intended.

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Garlic growing.

reuse pallet, recycle pallet, scavenged wood, garlic

Close up of garlic emerging from gaps.

But my general opinion of this project is not much. I didn’t get nearly as many plants growing in this small space as I’d hoped, but but the bigger problem is that this planter just doesn’t retain moisture. The garlic plants constantly look wilted, even though I’m watering daily. It doesn’t make good use of my resources to have to water this so frequently.

I’m trying to decide if I should just give it up or continue using lots of water to keep them growing. Alternately, maybe I’ll try to transplant the plants directly into the ground. Have any of you had luck with transplanting garlic?

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  • Devany Vickery-Davidson ,

    Sure, transplant it in pots or re-build the planter making a few smaller ones. You may even be in time to recover some of the bulbs you buried and plant them. Garlic likes very loose loamy soil.

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      Thanks, Devany. As soon as we get some sunshine, I’m going to see about relocating the garlic to an in-ground space!

  • JoVE ,

    neat idea; reminds me of using stacks of tires for potatoes (as they grow, add tire + soil and you get more potatoes from each plant)

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      I’ve worried about the potential for the tires leaching chemicals when used for planters. Do you have any knowledge on that?

  • Susan ,

    I wonder if you could coil a soaker hose between layers to make this work? It’s an idea. 

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