Sometimes you’ve just gotta get by with whatever works. Our front yard garden area is steep, as I’ve mentioned before. We’re planning to install rock walls, but so far it’s not exactly working out as planned. Last year at this time, my husband was working away from home so I tried my (failed) straw bale retaining wall experiment. This year, he’s battling a back injury and he hasn’t been exactly thrilled about hoisting rocks around.
So, I came up with Plan C. I’m sure you’ve all seen the images of the vertical pallet garden floating around the web, right? Well, why not expand on that idea and use those pallets to retain the soil in my garden? I’m always willing to try something new - especially if it’s not going to cost me anything to try it – so I picked up a few pallets and brought them home. (There was only a little eye rolling from other members of the family.)
We dug trenches about 18″ deep where we wanted the walls to be and then set a pallet into the trench with the boards situated horizontally. We filled the trench up, making sure to pack soil between the pallet boards, as well as in front of and behind the pallet. As we set each pallet, we added another adjacent to it. The lengthwise stretch of pallets is held in place only with the soil. We did add a couple of screws at the corner to hold the end pallet in place. The entire structure is surprisingly sturdy.
To prevent soil from falling out of the open spaces in the pallets, I filled them with straw (from that failed straw bale wall experiment) before we backfilled. Then I tucked seeds and plants into the gaps. The nasturtiums have taken off; the lemon thyme is a bit slower to get going.
This is what the “wall” looked like when we installed it:
Three months later, it looks like this:
The garden is still just getting going, but once it’s filled out, I don’t think the pallets will be visible much at all. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for!