Running Out of Room in Your Balcony Garden? Try Going Vertical

Pallet Garden

Knock on wood: You can likely find a free pallet at your local grocer or gardening supply store, but try to nab one that’s in good shape, i.e., with no protruding nails or broken boards. (various brennemans via Flickr)

If you’re an apartment gardener in, oh, how about Silver Spring, looking for a way to save space, you can always go vertical with the use of a pallet. Both Design Sponge and Life on the Balcony provide informative articles on the subject. You can probably get a pallet at a few places like your local grocery store. There are some out there who are paranoid about what chemicals or bacteria may inhabit their chunk of wood, and for them, they’ll feel better about buying a chemical-free pallet. One caveat, you’ll have to plunk down a hundred bucks or so if you purchase from this site, which only sells them by the 10s (of course, you don’t need 10, so if you could get, say, three or four friends together who are interested, this might be feasible). [ Related: 5 Tips for Starting Your Own Apartment Garden ] You’ll need to shell out some more money for other materials though: You will need a roll of landscaping paper or at least someone’s leftover roll, sandpaper, a staple gun and staples, a hammer and nails, potting soil, and of course, your plants of choice. So now that we’ve spoiled things for you by pointing out all these costs, I’m assuming your love of plants will cover the expense. So basically, sand down the rough spots on the pallet, double or triple the landscaping fabric, then staple it to the back, sides and bottom of the wood. Make sure the fabric’s on tight. Then lay the pallet flat and pour your soil through the slats, making sure you press the soil down firmly: This step would seem vitally important, because when you eventually stand your pallet up, the last thing you want is for the soil to come tumbling out on your balcony. Next, plant your plants, adding more tightly pressed soil where needed. When you’re done, water your pallet garden thoroughly, and let it lie for a week or two to allow your plans to take root. I would veer more toward two weeks (since I’ve never done this before, I’m the one who’d be paranoid about all the soil coming out). After you let it rest on its back the required time, take a breath, say a prayer, and sit the pallet up right and proper. [ Related: How to Turn a 330-Sq. Ft. Apartment Into a 24-Room Mini Mansion ] Once you’re all set, a good tip is to water from top to bottom, using more at the top than the bottom, as water will seep down. I’m assuming herbs and flowers would work best here, but if you’re a gardener, you’d know better than me what to grow. Both the sites I’ve linked to will give you great step-by-step pictures of this procedure and a lot of good apartment gardening tips.

Good luck! And don’t forget that you can always find your next apartment with Apartment Showcase. 

Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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