Raised beds made from Chinese shipping pallets

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Ever try to type with a Siamese perched on the back of your neck? It’s a challenge. So much so that it took me three tries to type ‘with’ just then. Lokii’s in Super-Love-Me-Mode, despite being held and cuddled and snorgled to the point that I had to pick hair out of my mouth.

It’s just never enough with these guys, sometimes. Oh, what a hardship.

But, I wanted to talk about my new raised beds, or big planters, or whatever the hell they are, so I’ll just hunch over a little more and ignore the claws that occasionally dig in to my back.

iDJ works at a company that gets products in from overseas. Sometimes they come in really useful boxes. We currently use a former shipping crate as a coal/briquette bunker, for instance. I stained it mahogany to match the door to our shed and our garden bench. It’s a bit rotten now, but still more ecofriendly than some ugly plastic yoke. And we can always burn it for heat when it totally collapses, of course.

Anyhoo, lately he got it into his head that some of these crates would make good raised beds. He talked about the idea for a few weeks, a lot, as he is wont to do (oh iPad, you just let me down, trying to put an apostrophe in wont). One day I came home from work and found this:

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Three. Three! huge crates in my back garden. And not a lot of room for even one. Two are deep and match, and one is shallower. Where was I meant to put them? What was I meant to do? And how the hell did he get them home when he rides a bicycle to work and I have the car? Which even if he’d somehow spirited it away from my job and back again before I noticed, is a freakin’ Mini Cooper that is barely larger than one of these things?

Right, so – smile and nod, and leave them there to kill the grass for a few weeks while I figure it out. The usual! He gets the ideas, but I’m the handy-man around here. And I wasn’t ready for an invasion of timber.

Ah, worse – possibly chemically-treated timber. Nasty chems to kill any potentially imported insects. I heard about a slug as long as your arm that showed up in his warehouse. And I’ve seen pics of some dammed big spiders, too. Not that I mind them, of course – but big slugs can just DIE. The chemicals were a potential problem. We wanted to (iDJ wanted me to, that is) grow carrots, in particular, in one of the deep boxes. Would we be at risk of poisoning ourselves? The consensus was that a few weeks in the rain would wash most of it away. And lawd knows, we have enough rain around here.

Last weekend I finally had my plan, and a donated roll of the stuff you line planters with. So we set about measuring, cutting, and stapling liners into two of the three boxes. The third box is now holding the many, many bags of coal that have been slumped at the side of the house since winter.

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Half-way done with the second one. By then my back was screaming and I finally had this brainstorm; ‘Hey, we should stop and take pictures! So I can go sit down for a few!’

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All done! But now we needed dirt, and a lot of it. This is the shallower box and it got the remainder of what I dug out of the compost bin, along with some native soil picked clean of most rocks, and then a topping of two different store-bought bagged potting composts.

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Shallow box; named box 1 in my head, full of pretty, pristine soil!

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The Stupid Girl box, so named in my head because of my thinking about this post by Sledpress the whole time I slowly, not-back-breakingly, dumped in 3.5 bags of compacted potting soil and broke it up by hand. I love fresh clean slug-free soil without rocks. It’s fun to play in, and smells good, and I know there’s no accidental seeds like in my own compost, or bits of glass, plastic, mould, and huge chunks of wood like in one of the store-bought brands we purchased recently – oh yes, they are getting a nasty email very soon.

So! What to plant, when summer here is nearly over?

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11 responses »

    • I don’t really like many of those things :( It does stay warmer here I think, hardly any snow usually, so maybe spinach. I have carrots and beets and tomatoes and garlic and rocket and ornamental gourds, but I still have room for more! That’s just in the deeper ‘veg’ box, Stupid Girl.

    • I have sweet William in the shallower box. I tried dianthus, and thought of you because it sounds like Dianda! But nothing grew. Have to read the directions next try :) I have a ton of flowers in pots! Just not posted about them yet.

  1. Glad you didn’t hurt your back and perhaps these raised beds might help going forward. Isn’t iDJ insisting on carrots? Or do you feel you have carte blanche now you’ve created them ;-)

  2. How much light does it get? Believe it or not, I actually also have a raised bed made from shipping pallets from China in my back yard. In it, I have an apple tree, rhubarb, lady’s mantle, rosemary and a north facing clematis. And a compost cone. It’s the healthiest, lushest part of my little patch.

    • I put them in two different places – one gets more light all day than the other. That’s a pretty impressive crop you have there! Today I put in ‘spinach beet’ seeds, because they were free. Never had it but supposed to grow easier than spinach and be just as tasty…

  3. Pingback: Green fingers and thumbs and toes, oh my | heretherebespiders

  4. Pingback: Growing not a whole lot | heretherebespiders

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