It’s that time of year when an old woman’s fancy turns to garden planning. Whenever the snow melts down far enough, I start visualizing where I want raised beds, and which shrubs i need to kill, and where I need to undo the things the previous owner had done, which at the time I paid for the house I had found charming, and now I find an inconvenience. At the last House I had given up gardening about 15 years ago, I was sick of defending my little patch of green from the lawnmower men and my brother. Obviously HERE I can do what I want, where I want. If i want to rip out all the shrubs that annoy me I can. if I want to replace every blade of grass with something i don’t have to mow every weekend, I can do that too.
In essence I have planned to squeeze in as many raised beds as I can fit in any place that gets sun, which amounts to a straight 60 foot strip down the left side of the house. The patio bricks will come up and find their way around to the back of the house where If I wanted to sit outside I could. What I envision is a strip of raise beds, with less obnoxious shrubs on the fence side and a paving stone walk to the back door, curving away from the house on the right.
But when I think about 60feet of wood for those beds along with all that dirt not to mention seeds and such, i got very depressed. If i built the beds properly from pressure treated 2x10s lined with tyvek sure they will last 10-12 years…but that’s a very expensive way to go. But you can build anything you need out of pallets if you just think about it long enough. I figure just start building the beds….and down the road you can upgrade them as need be.
On Friday, the opportunity arose: someone downtown had free pallets on Craigslist, and it was warm clear weather and I was feeling rather ambitious. The benefits of owning a pickup truck, you can collect up anything you want whenever you want without having to make arrangements. What I did learn from having the 1st three pickup trucks, is that you have to REALLY WANT whatever it is you are picking up, or at least have plans to get rid of it if you don’t want it. Because it is so sinfully easy to just cart home everything you see, and this way madness lies….So after two trips, the pallets are now parked in my front yard. I have intentions of moving them around to the back, i just have to decide where. And if I wait long enough they will freeze in place and I won’t have to decide until mud season.
I think we all know that FREE doesn’t always mean FREE. It means free with a price you pay on the back end. Many years ago I spent an entire summer disassembling FREE pallets. BTW the BEST free pallets and wooden crates are behind the places that get windshields. And I wish I knew then what I know now. The fastest way to break down a pallet is to use a reciprocating saw and slice through all the nails. Here is a video. It also looks to be the best method to get the wood to stay intact. Now I am not the twenty something I was when i broke down the largest crates with the the longest nails, so just for giggles I checked out reciprocating saws and like everything else they are expensive. HOWEVER I did get an idea, and I found a listing for a..used, saw only, no battery, no charger, for $54 no shipping. SUCH A DEAL, I one-clicked that puppy immediately. CAUSE I HAVE a couple of 18v batteries and a charger that I got in the Pawn shop before I moved, when I bought the circular saw and the power drill. …yes I am feeling smug, that is working out to be a good decision.
IN MY MIND’S eye, I see the pallet wood being immensely useful. After I break them down into lengths I can design raised beds that fit the wood I have at hand. Though I think i need a few more larger heavier pallets if I can find them. I get the feeling my neighbors are going to be very unhappy with me for a while this spring.