This inexpensive and creative small garden will even fit most apartment patios! Cool design by Old World Garden Farms:
A simple crate planter made from pallets and using a straw bale for a growing medium
So you have little space, little time, little money and you still want to garden. Or maybe you would like to add a great looking focal point to your existing garden or landscape to grow something unique. Even better, maybe you know of someone who still likes to garden but can’t get out or handle as much of the physical activity anymore.
Here is a great solution to all three! Create your own Pallet Straw Bale Crate Garden. It’s attractive, simple to build, and best of all, low or no cost to make.
To build on the cheap, you can create the straw bale frame using the slats from a single pallet
With a single pallet, (3) 2x4x8′s, a bale of straw, and a bag or two of soil and compost – you can create an instant garden space that can provide fresh vegetables or flowers all summer long.
You can purchase all the materials you need for under $15.00 – or build for virtually free using pallets and scrap lumber. We made a few single bale boxes last week for our garden – and will use them along our fence row to grow our cucumbers in. You can also double the measurements to make a double bale box and plant to your heart’s content.
The straw bale crates have a lot of built-in advantages! They are easy to maintain – with little weeding ever needed. The 2’ high design lends itself to less stooping and bending while tending, and the combination straw, compost and soil make for a great instant growing medium – without the hassle of digging up the earth.
The best part of all – at the end of the season – you can add all of the contents to the compost pile –or start a compost pile right in the pallet box to have fresh compost next year when you’re ready to grow again!
Here is how we made ours:
Start by assembling 2 rectangle frames from scrap wood or 2 x 4′s.
Next – attach the two rectangles with four of your slat boards in each corner
Next – screw in additional slat boards to create the crate “look”.
(1) Straw Bale
(4) 2 x 4 x 20”
(4) 2 x 4 x 44”
(1) Pallet – for vertical boards – be sure to use untreated pallets to be “food safe”
(1) bag of compost – substitute your own for free material
(1) bag of topsoil – substitute your own for free material
***The straw bales we use measure 20″ wide, 18″ high and a little less than 46″ long. Bales can vary in length – so be sure to measure your bale to adjust the length and width of frame boards. You can also reference our previous post’s on How To Disassemble A Pallet Quickly, and How To Make Your Own Compost for more info.
Building The Garden:
Assemble 2 rectangles from your 2×4’s – screwing or nailing together 2 of the 20” pieces and 2 of the 44” pieces. Once you have both rectangles together – use your pallet boards to attach vertically to connect the two rectangles to create your straw bale box.
We cut our pallet slat boards into 18″ lengths, (we got about 2 boards for each slat) and then screwed them into the inside of the two frames to form the crate. The spacing is up to you – we put about 4” between each board for ours – we wanted the look of an “old-time” crate.
Planting The “Garden”
Next -use a sharp knife, reciprocating saw or shovel to dig out a 6 to 8″ planting hole
Simply place your plant in the hole and cover with more soil.
We like to put a layer of compost or mulch over the top of the bale to complete the look.
Now it’s easy – place the bale down inside the frame – you may need to wiggle a little and cut a little off here and there to get it to fit depending on the size of the bale.
Simply use a sharp knife or blade to cut out your planting holes – we went about 8” deep and 5” around– filling them with a good mixture of garden soil and compost. Plant, cover up, water – and the garden is in! Depending on what you plant – you can fit in 5 to 6 tomato plants, or a combination of pepper and tomato plants per bale, etc. You can plant a little closer than traditional garden rows because of the raised beds. Only your imagination is the limit to what you want to grow!
You will get some compression of the bale as the season progresses – the bale will slowly decompose, giving even more nutrients to the plants. Your plant and roots will thrive in the soil, compost and straw because the garden is off the ground – there will be very little weeds that develop, and should be easy with the added height to pick and maintain.
End of the Season :
If you have a compost bin already set up – you can certainly take the contents and throw them into the pile. The decomposed straw and soil mixture are great for a pile – adding a lot of carbon material. If not – use the crate box as a compost bin! Mix up the bale and contents right in the pallet box structure – and start adding some shredded fall leaves, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps , lawn clippings and more. By next spring – you will have enough compost made to use in the next bale for planting, with extra if you need it.
So how about trying a straw bale pallet crate garden this year! And if you have a neighbor or relative that loves garden but finds it difficult now – it’s a great gift to let them have their very own garden
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary
Wow – this is taking the recycling effort to a whole new level! I had posted this example earlier, but take a look now!
The folks over at CollaCubed spotted these great custom lights by Christian DuCharme installed at the Lafayette Espresso Bar and Market in New York. The first is the 300 Cups Lamp made from, yes, 300 paper coffee cups while the others are made from plastic spoons and coffee filters. A really striking use of materials. See more photos here.
I’m pretty sure most of my spending money goes towards books and fabric. I have more books than I know what to do with and probably ten more books on the way from Barnes & Noble as I’m typing out this post. What do I do? Get rid of some? Nonsense! Make room for more!! This bookcase was inspired by this lovely pin that I stumbled upon a few months ago. My hubby has a bunch of these fabulous spools at work and I made him bring me one this week so I could make this beauty!
Here is what you’ll need to make your own:
- A small cable spool
- Wooden dowels
- 3 to 4 casters (swivel wheels)
- Molding glue
- Measuring Tape
- Drill and screws
I’ve been asked where you can find these types of spools. They come in a variety of sizes, this being the smallest one. Mine measured a little over 1 foot. These types of spools or reels are used for cable or electrical wire so you might want to check your local Home Depot or ask your electrician if they have any they’re throwing out. My husband works in the oil field and they are everywhere so it’s easy for me to get my hands on one.
To get started, you’ll need to paint your spool and your dowels. I used a white Behr paint with the primer already mixed into it. I tried covering up one side of the table using four coats and did not like the result. The flaws stood out a lot more (and not in a good way). I painted the other side with only two light coats and loved it. It has a beautiful vintage and worn look.
After it dries, turn it upside down and position your caskets where you want them. This picture shows three wheels but I ended up using four so it wouldn’t topple over. Just drill them into place.
Next, measure the gap between the top and the bottom of the table. This will be the size your wooden dowels should be. Using the saw, cut about 5-6 dowels.
Using molding glue, position and place the dowels around the table about a foot apart and hold in place while they dry. If you cut them down to the perfect size, you don’t even need to hold them. They should just stand on their own.
Now fill it with books and admire your new bookcase!! It’s not too fancy, but it’s cozy and it makes me smile. Enjoy!
I have posted about upcycling shipping pallets before, but I wanted to have one post with some of my favorite things you can do with these wonderful things! Take a look (click on the pictures to go to the specific instructions):
How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden
Turn a Pallet into a Rainy Day Shoe Rack
Folding Pallet Chair
Entertainment Center (TV holder AND Theater Seating!)
Paracord Laced Pallet, Hanging Chair
Here are some great ideas for outdoor planters from Momtastic:
I love planters over flowing with my favorite flowers and like to keep herbs growing in an easy to reach outdoor area so they are easy to clip when I need them for cooking. Here are nine unique and easy to make planters and vases that will grace any outdoor space- all made by simply re-purposing ordinary items.
1. Create chevron planters with scrap wood and paint. 91204
2. Paint juice cans in your favorite colors. Display a collection of them to create impact. Dos Family
3. Paint and pile old tires to create a large and colorful display of flowers. Inspire Bohemia
1. Fit concrete blocks together to fit your space. Fill the holes with soil to grow succulents or herbs. Remodelista
2. Strap canning jars to old wood to create a wall hanging planter to grow herbs. Not Just A Housewife
3. Mount a pallet on a wall to fill with potting herbs. Life On The Balcony
1. You can pick up old chandeliers at thrift stores for a few dollars. Re-purpose one to use as a unique hanging planter. Modish
2. Use hooks and chain bought at the hardware store to hang a colander. Inspire Bohemia
3. Snip the tops off of light bulbs. Wrap wire around neck to hang from tree branches to create pretty hanging vases. Pinterest
After you’re done enjoying a nice bottle of wine (perhaps with a slice of pizza), don’t toss the wine cork. Recycle it into a plant label for your garden.
With a bamboo skewer or other stick to hold the cork, you can make this label as tall or short as you need, and the cork will really stand out in your garden.
Cork as plant labels | Recycleart
We seem to use a lot of wipes around our house – always have and probably always will. Here is a tip from NewOldSchool on how to make your own cleaning wipes:
make your own cleaning wipes
The Damsel loves cleaning wipes, especially for those oogie jobs. It’s always going to be cheaper and greener to use a cloth that can be washed and reused, but sometimes you don’t wanna. Cleaning wipes have become hugely popular, and some people keep a container of them in every room. They’re pretty nice for a quick, easy cleanup.
But they ain’t cheap. So here’s how you can make your own, and take away some of that guilt. The Damsel is all about guilt reduction.
First you need a roll of paper towels and a container. The Damsel used a leftover empty wipes container. When she looked at its size, she noticed a new roll of paper towels would be too big. The half-used roll in her kitchen ended up being the perfect width to slip into this container.
Cut the roll in half. If you have an electric knife, so much the better. If not, a serrated bread knife works, but it takes patience. Persevere, darling readers, and you will conquer.
The Damsel had thoughts of her Knight’s Saws-All (name a power tool: he has it) but forced herself to keep sawing. (Keep the other half for a refill)
Slip the paper towels into the container. Someone told the Damsel it’s best to put the cut side up, but she can’t figure out why it would matter.
Pour a cleaning solution over the towels to saturate. You can customize your cleaning solution: vinegar and water would be cheap and good; bulk-purchased Lysol type stuff; window cleaner, you decide. The Damsel discovered it takes less than she thought it would.
When it’s wet, you can now take out the inner cardboard tube if you want. This step is optional, but if you do, you can then have the towels feed from the center, making your homemade wipes even more like the store-bought ones. If you care. When the Damsel did this, the cardboard tube came apart and she had to fish it out in a few pieces, but everything turned out okay in the end.
Over time, your wipes may dry out (hey, just like the store-bought ones!). In that case you can just pour a little more solution in.
The Damsel figures she used 1/4 of a roll of paper towels and maybe 1/2 cup of cleaning solution for a total cost of somewhere less than fifty cents. Yay!
Lots of people have used a similar method to make their own baby wipes. Just don’t put Lysol in those! Google it up for recipes on baby-bum-friendly solutions.
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