Our UPcycled Handicap-accessible Pallet Garden

I love planting but my PH makes it very hard to get up and down…gardening is harder than you ever think it can be when you are physically challenged. I’ve learned with my PH to accept that there are just somethings I just won’t be able to do and every year as the disease progresses, there are more things to add to this dreaded list. I added gardening to this list a few years back.

But don’t despair!

I am blessed with an amazing husband who finds creative ways to ensure I still continue to live life to the fullest! Our weekend warrior project was an UPcycled Handicap-accessible Pallet Garden. We used different ideas from various sources and came up with our own version of a pallet garden!

Total cost  was approximately $30.00 ($16.00 of which was for the plants)!

So this is how we did it:

The hubby, Steve, brought home 2 reclaimed pallets. I found poster paint left over from a prior craft project with our youngest son, Spencer, in my craft supplies. Using a cheap foam brush, I painted what plants each row would have.

Next, Steve flipped over the pallet (after the paint was dry) and began to attach fabric-weed-preventer-black-cover-thingy…ok, so I don’t know exactly what this stuff is called, lol. Normally it is put on top of a garden to prevent weeds from popping up. The fabric-weed-preventer-black-cover-thingy was used to cover the holes and sides up on the pallet so that the dirt doesn’t fall out. The really great thing was that it was fabric so this allows for water drainage. Steve tacked down the fabric in various spots on the back of the pallet. Then he flipped the pallet over.

You can see that Steve and our oldest son, Stevie, folded over the edges and attached it to the wood frame of the pallet (going all the way up the sides).  Yep, we just named our oldest after his daddy…now that he is a teenager, it really sucks calling “Steve” out in the house because both of them answer…actually it isn’t that bad now is it? I would suggest using a staple gun to attach the fabric but the hubby had some old nails he wanted to recycle into the project so our fabric-weed-preventer-black-cover-thingy was tacked onto the wood with good ol’ hammer & nails.

The last 2 open slotted areas will be the 2 rows of tomatoes we will plant. Because tomato plants get tall and heavy, the hubby is attaching a twine support system. In the second to last slate, Steve drilled .25″ holes approximately every 4-5 inches…perfection is not necessary for this project. He drilled the holes all the way across.

Yes, the picture is dark because, well…we got caught up watching Cougar Town on our DVR and lost track of time, lol. Steve took a piece of wood that was 2×3″ and 8′ long. Is it really 2×3″? I don’t know and I don’t think anyone at any hardware store does either, lol. Whenever wood says it is 1×4 or 2×4….actually measure it…you will find it is not the size it says. I really don’t get that? Anyways, he took the wood and cut approximately a 4′ section (he eye-balled it) and then took the remainder 4′ section and cut it in half. He then laid the 4′ piece of wood on the edge of the pallet slate that was drilled with holes. He then marked where he needed to drill the holes on the 4′ wood piece to match. So out comes the power drill and he drills again. I think all men love their power tools, don’t you? After the holes were drilled, he nailed the 4′ piece of wood on top of the 2′ pieces of wood creating an upside down “U”. Next, he hammered the 2′ wood pieces to the side of the pallet so that the holes in the slate were directly below the holes in the 4′ piece of wood. Tying 4 knots to anchor the nylon twine, Steve began stringing the twine through the bottom, through the top, over the top, down the top, down through the bottom, across the bottom, up the bottom…repeat, repeat, repeat several times over until the end is reached. In hindsight, the knot should have been on top because the last hole ended up being on the bottom. It was impossible to tie a knot underneath since the sides were already covered with weed fabric and you couldn’t get your hands in their to tie it taut. You can see in the following pictures how we resolved this issue in our own tacky way.

Steve found a perfect spot for my garden and then used cement blocks to elevate the garden for me. My PH makes it hard for me to bend over, get down and get up…yep, PH sucks. Anyways, he then used another recycled pallet on top of the cement blocks to further elevate my garden. Since we used a fairly thin fabric-weed-preventer-black-cover-thingy, Steve wanted to give it more support to prevent the 240lbs of dirt from falling through. Last year our awning on our pop-up tent went kaput so Steve poked holes in it and laid it between the two pallets. Slowly he added 6 – 40lb bags of cheap ol’ soil into the slate openings shoving the dirt into all the corners. Oh no! All my pretty artwork is covered in dirt! After throwing a fit that would rival our 2 year old’s tantrums, Steve assured me my immaculate letters would not be harmed by all the dirt. After 17 years, I guess I have to trust him…

Now came the fun part! We planted, okay, Steve planted (& I directed) the veggies into their designated rows. After all the veggies were planted, Steve filled in any shallow areas with more dirt.

Then it was time to give those plants their much wanted water while also spray-cleaning the dirt off of the slates!

In this pic you can see the cement blocks and patio pieces used to elevate my garden up approximately 2 feet from the ground! Nope not necessarily pretty…but I wasn’t trying to get published in Landscape Digest. Practicality was the key. Raising it up a couple feet makes it possible for me to garden. What a difference this makes for someone with PH! Two feet may not seem like much but let’s all remember I’m just over 5′ tall, lol (Ok, 5’2″…ok, ok, ok, 5 feet & 1-1/2 inches…so it’s way ok I round up to 5’2″)!

So our Upcycled, Handicap-accessible Garden is complete & I LOVE IT! I’ll be sure to post a pic when the plants start growing in and veggies begin to appear! At the end of summer, we will cut the front fabric and dump the soil into our wheelbarrow. We can reuse the soil next year in another pallet garden. The pallet wood will then be broken up for a good ol’ campfire. Isn’t recycling just grand?! Hope you enjoyed our weekend warrior project!

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