Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinterest Pallet Garden Update

At long last...an update on the Pinterest-inspired pallet garden.  First let me say that I have loved the low maintenance involved with this garden.  And please note that these are all totally unedited pictures.  It has been virtually weed-free all summer - well Creeping Charlie has crept in just slightly but he's very easy to pull.  Don't mind the long grass around it - the hubster was trying to avoid running over my tomatoes.


And speaking of tomatoes, this has by far been the best results I've had with tomatoes.  They have stems like tree trunks, are mostly kept off the ground so the slug damage has been minimal, and the best part is that I have seen not one single tomato horn worm all summer.  I do need to find a better way to "organize" them and I'm thinking that I can make a string trellis by running string from the pallet to the rafter of the barn overhang and back down to make tee pees.  For now I am sorting through them carefully and trying not to step on anyone.  I am getting a few tomatoes every few days - just enough for eating fresh.  There are lots of green ones I expect I'll be harvesting the night before the first frost warning or perhaps trying to cover the vines with a blanket since this is a nicely contained area.  
The pallet boards seem to help keep the roots shaded which puts less stress on them - even with the drought we've had and the fact that I still do not have enough dirt in them for it to be level with the top of the boards. 
The openings between boards makes an easy spot to stick the hose to water the tomatoes when I don't get a chance to water until the evening.  This has kept the moisture off the tomato leaves and meant they had no mold problems.
The squash, however, are another story.  They have been leggy (I know they need more dirt) and the leaves have been moldy all summer even though the plants themselves have done well.  They blossomed all summer but the heat did seem to keep them from putting out squash.  I got one small zucchini and one small crockneck before they stopped but once cooler temps hit they have started producing again.
The brussel sprouts are a conundrum - they are big hearty plants but have not formed sprouts...
Some sort of bug apparently took over the okra and collards - although I did get some goods from them early on.
The other types of squash, pumpkin and cucumber really didn't do much.  Again, I think I'll have better luck next year with more dirt and by getting things planted sooner.
The peppers were decent for most of the summer but seem to have either a bug or blossom rot now.  Only the little chili's are doing much now.  It has been really easy to water and monitor this garden all summer and it seems to conserve water much better than my old veggie garden.  The barn helps shade it just a bit through the hottest parts of the day and any rain we get drains right onto the length of the garden so it is a sort of natural collection system.  I have seen a couple of garter snakes find their way into it chasing the few slugs I had and taking refuge from the heat.  The dogs stay out of it - although I had to place a few decorative stakes here and there to discourage them from laying in the more open spots on the cool dirt...  Because of its proximity to the barn and dog kennel I have not had to worry about deer and rabbits this year - also a nice thing when we are surrounded by them out here.
This weekend's project is to pull the plants that are obviously not going to produce before the frost like the okra and transplant my strawberries and chives from the old veggie garden that will now become part of the new horse pasture.  This will give the strawberries a good month or so to get established in their new home before it really gets cold here and once it does I will pack them well with leaves to protect them from winter. The leaves will also decompose and provide some fresh nutrients into the soil.  I'm also going to be putting away some of the summer containers and will empty the dirt in those into the pallet garden to help fill it a little more.  I'll be taking some small field rocks and lining the pallet openings at both ends of the pallet garden with the rock to prevent the dirt from leeching out with the fall and spring rains.

Overall I really recommend trying a pallet garden for just about anyone.  If you don't have a lot of time for maintenance or a good area to till, or for seniors and those in town who may not want a huge veggie garden, this is a great alternative to the traditional raised bed.  To see the "before" post, please visit here.

1 comment:

S. Franklin said...

What a nice idea! I've really gotten into low-maintenance organic gardening lately. I've had amazing results! I will have to try pallet gardening as yours looks to be doing great.