Flowers and Plants

Making a Strawberry Planter from a Pallet

Pallets are great to use for various gardening projects. They are cheap and you can easily transform them in various items you may need in your garden. Strawberry planters are a great way to grow your strawberries, but commercial planters can be expensive. This is where pallets come in handy – a homemade strawberry planter will save you a lot of money and provide you with those tasty, fresh strawberries.

Strawberry Planters Made of Pallets

A single wooden pallet can successfully be turned into a handy strawberry planter. There are different ways to do about this. The easiest one is to simply fill a pallet with soil, with plants inserted in the gaps. Such a planter can be placed against a wall or fixed in some way so it doesn’t tumble over.

The downside to this method is that such a planter requires constant watering as well as erosion control. They are also not long-lasting and therefore not always practical. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that your planter is stable, offers enough soil capacity, lasts long enough and looks better. To create such a pallet planter for your strawberries, you will need some common tools and materials that can be easily obtained (chances are that you already have all of them in your home).

Choosing the Pallet

The first step in making a great strawberry planter from pallets is to find a suitable pallet for your project. You will need a pallet that is in a very good condition. Make sure that it has no rotting or signs of damage. Another thing to keep in mind is that it should not have any traces of chemical insecticides on it. This is why only pallets that have never been treated with insecticides good candidates for this project.

You might assume that pallets are never treated with insecticides, but this isn’t true. Actually, all pallets that cross international borders must be either heat treated or sprayed, in order to kill potential pests. This is why you need to make sure that your pallet has never been treated with insecticides. You don’t want any furniture and other items treated with pesticides anywhere near your garden or home. Insecticides kill beneficial insects along with the harmful ones, not to mention that they endanger the environment. There is also a chance that your plants will absorb these chemicals and they will end up in your strawberries. For these reasons, it’s important to choose pallets that haven’t been treated with pesticides.

To spot a pallet that has crossed an international border, look for the stamps. International law says that all pallets must be stamped twice with various information, including whether it’s been sprayed. Sprayed pallets have printed letters MB. Use only pallets without these letters to make sure you are using safe materials for your planter.

There’s another thing to keep in mind when choosing a pallet for your strawberry planter. It has to be of appropriate size. Look for a pallet that’s has 6 or 9 planks. This pallet will make the pain surface for your planter. You need to look for such a pallet because you will have to slice the pallet up into 3 equal sized pieces, so pallets with 6 or 9 planks are easy to divide. Even better, if you find a pallet with 12 planks – it will allow you to make an even larger planter.

Materials

Top build a homemade strawberry planter, you will need:

  • A good pallet (as described above)
  • Screws and nails of two sizes (1 ½ inches and 3 inches work the best)
  • Hammer or an electric drill
  • A hand-saw or a jigsaw
  • Optional: chisel/wedge and iron mallet, non-toxic paint (and paintbrush)

Instructions

Here are the basic steps you need to follow to build your strawberry planter:

1. Cut the Pallet. The first step is to cut your pallet into three equal pieces. This is why pallets with 6, 9 (or 12) planks work the best – it’s easy to cut them in three equal pieces with a saw. The goal is to get three equal pieces, so the place where you should cut will depend on the number of the planks of your pallet. If your pallet has 6 planks, saw the wood between second and the third plank, and then after forth and fifth. If your pallet has 9 planks, saw the wood between the third and fourth planks and between sixth and seventh. In case you have a pallet with 12 planks, you need to saw between forth and fifth plank and between eighth and ninth plank. It’s important to saw right in the middle, to make sure that the proportions are correct. Keep in mind that you will have to saw in the exact places on both the front and back of the pallet to make sure all the sides are even.

2. Trim the Wood. The next step is to trim and remove all of the excess wood pieces. Depending on the number of the planks in the original pallet, you will have two, three or four equal pieces. Some of them will come from the top and bottom so they will have chunky blocks fixed to them. You will need to trim this excess wood. You may also want to remove a single plank on the back side. It’s not necessary but it will give you a deeper planter. Also, make sure to remove or hammer down any nails sticking up after removal of the excess wood from the pallet.

3. Build the Base. Using screws and nails, connect the two pieces of the pallet to the third. The two end pieces will serve as the sides for the planted, while the third one will be used as the bottom. For the most stable results, it might be good to attach the bottom piece to the wooden blocks still attached to the side pieces.

4. Finish the Construction. The next step is to use the leftover wood you cut in step two to build shorter sides for your planter. Attach them with nails and screws to the base. Finally, take any of the small wooden blocks you removed in step 2 to create legs for the planter. You may think you don’t need feet for your planter, but they are actually very handy. They help with drainage and make sure that the bottom doesn’t rot easily. They also make the planter look more aesthetically pleasing.

5. The Final Touch. After you have built your planter, make sure that it feels sturdy and well-constructed. If anything is not as good as it should be (wobbly feet, extra bits of woos sticking up), fix it. It will be more difficult to do it later, once the planter is filled up. As a final touch, you can paint your planter using a non-toxic outdoor wood paint. It will not only make the planter look better but it will also slow down the rotting process and extend its life, so you can use it for a longer time.

Plant Your Strawberries

Once you have your planter completed, it’s time to plant strawberries.

The first thing to keep in mind here is that soil and compost will easily erode through any opening in the sides and bottom of your planter. This is why you need to install some sort of barrier material to prevent erosion. This material will keep the soil in place. Scraps of wire is a good material to line the bottom of the planter. After this, add a layer of gardening fabric that can let the water out but keep the soil in. On the sides, you may use straw as an organic erosion barrier.

When it comes to planting itself, the easiest way is to start from the bottom. First, you will have to prepare the medium and fill the planter with it. Add a layer of compost mixed with rotted horse manure and a bit of slow-release organic fertilizer to the bottom. After this, place the plants in the bottom slots and add a bit of straw. Build another layer of the compost mixture and repeat the process for the next set of slots.

When planting, make sure to space out your plants enough so they can grow properly. They will need to be spaced at least 14 inches apart. It will give it enough place to grow. Also, make sure that the each plant has enough place to spread without damaging any plants underneath.

After you have finished you will have a nicely packed pallet planter full of strawberries. Take a good care of them so they can grow strong, tasty and healthy. It will provide you with enough fresh strawberries for your family.

Photo credit: Mr & Mrs Stickyfingers via photopin cc