One neat alternative for growing winter greens and lettuces is in a vertical garden in a recycled pallet.
You can find free or cheap pallets on sites like craigslist or search your area for locations that sell used pallets. They usually run a few bucks a piece.
Note: These vertical gardens work year-round, but are a great alternative for small crop, backyard or patio gardening.
Your best bet all throughout the year is to find a good local nursery that has a seed stock. Usually late September and after you'll still be able to find onion starters, greens and lettuce, along with root vegetables like radishes, turnips and beets, all who have several varieties that still have time to produce a crop before winter.
Microgreens grow quick, and are a good choice for this project.
You'll need some soil, too. Organic manure and hummus mix is the best, and for root vegetables, you'll want to mix in some organic peat moss to allow them space and room to grow.
This project will only take one cool afternoon, and in a few weeks you'll have your own source for crisp, homegrown salads and veggies.
Vertical Pallet Garden
What you'll need:
- One recycled pallet with slats at least on one side, approximately 4-5 inches apart
- 5 bags of organic manure and hummus soil mix
- 1 bag of organic peat moss
- Staple gun
- Wheel barrow (or something else to mix your soil in)
- Gardening Gloves
- Extra set of hands
Dump all your soil into the wheelbarrow and mix.
Make sure when you are cutting your bags open to only cut a slit in the top. You will reuse these bags to cover the back of your pallets.
After mixing your soil well, lay pallet down with the slats facing downward and flatten out your empty soil bags.
Use another bag, or some leftover plastic if you run out of bags, to cover the end of the pallet. You don't want your soil escaping once you lean it up!
Flip pallet over and begin to shovel in your soil mix, patting it in loosely with your hands. Try and even out the soil as much as possible, and as tight as you can without over packing the dirt.
Once you've got enough soil inside the pallet, have your extra pair of hands help you lift it. Make sure you are working on this project pretty close to where it will stay due to the heaviness after you've filled the pallet with soil.
Lift gently from both sides and prop vertically against your house, shed or fence.
Tap gently to let the dirt settle a bit.
Fill in the top if you need to with extra soil if it slides down too much.
Begin filling in the space between the slats with your seeds. Switch out rows with different seeds or make several pallets, each with its own vegetable.
Water and wait. In a few weeks you'll have greens and vegetables to share.
Twinkle VanWinkle has more than 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and has appeared on Food Network's "The Best Of..." Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, urban gardener, chef, musician and social media fanatic.
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