I know I have talked about the pallet beds a few times over the past few months, and while my intentions have been good, the follow through has been less than ideal.
While we put our pallet beds together in March, it has taken months of planning and trying and failing and trying again to get anything to actually grow in said beds. Why? I blame the wind. Truly and honestly.
Let me explain...When we first put the beds together, we simply used potting soil to fill them. This was a bad idea since the wind that whips around the back of our house steadily removed most of the soil in the beds since it didn't have anything to hold on to. So, I added some more soil and put a few seeds in the pockets in the hope that they would germinate and grab onto the soil.
Nope, the wind was too fast and watering with the hose was too harsh.
Then, I decided to add some straw to the soil and map out where everything would be planted. I started some seeds in my little seed pods thinking that I could place the seeds pods into the soil and therefore provide some more support for my little seeds while they germinated. Good idea, right? Yes...except that I planted a ton of seeds into their own little individual pods, left them outside on my potting table to germinate and watered them twice a day. This worked great for a few days before the wind picked up one day while I was at work and sent all of my pods flying. Seeds and dirt everywhere.
So, I replanted more seed pods and placed them on the ground, tucked into a corner where the wind couldn't pick them up. It worked! Until one of the neighborhood cats decided to jump into our yard and play soccer with them all. Ugh!
Around this time, we decided to finally invest in a drip system for the front and back yards. As part of the drip process, Tool Lady laid a few lines across the red pallet bed where I had stuck a few nasturtium seeds and a couple of cucumbers and another line along the top of the yellow pallet bed where a few lemon cucumbers had been transplanted. We quickly noticed that the drip on the yellow bed was dripping down into the subsequent layers below so I stuck a few seeds where the water was dripping and crossed my fingers!
Here's what we have so far...a few cukes along the top that are learning how to hold on to the wire mesh trellises we built, some bush beans, a few nasturtiums, some chard and a little spinach. Lots of empty space, especially since we haven't done anything with the blue bed, but some hope (and growth), at last!
Here's what I've learned:
- Drip is much better for pallet beds than watering with the hose
- You must add some straw (or other organic material) to your potting soil so as to allow said potting soil to have something to hold onto until the roots take hold
- When planting seeds in seed pods, ensure they are secure against wind storms and roving cats
- Because the depth of the soil is not great, the sun is hot and the wind is wicked, the beds dry out remarkably fast here
I am still incredibly hopeful that we'll be able to harvest a few things from our pallet beds this year but here's what I'll do next year to ensure better harvests:
- Start my seeds inside in pods and then transplant them out as soon as they're big and strong enough
- Continue to add more soil and straw as necessary to ensure a nice cozy space for my transplants to live
- Ensure the drip can reach all of my little seedlings