View Full Version : Elevated garden table from reclaimed wood

January 26th, 2015, 09:39 AM
My latest project doesn't involve fabric. I welded up a tool (http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h170/HandsomeRyan/IMAG1027_zpsqvvzuaad.jpg) which helps me quickly and easily take apart shipping pallets which I can collect for free at my office. I have been using this free reclaimed lumber to make a few projects around the house. First I built a brooder (http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h170/HandsomeRyan/IMAG1170_zpshoqk8jqx.jpg) which is a heated box to keep baby chicks in until they feather out and can be kept in a coop. After the success of that project I decided I wanted an elevated garden table for my front porch to grow some lettuce.

I already have about 1/10th of an acre of vegetable gardens in the ground but growing lettuce you fight with rabbits, slugs, and just about every other critter who wants to eat the greens before you do. If you put that same lettuce in a bed of soil elevated 2-3 feet you can keep it out of reach of some of these problems.

The wood for this project is a mix of oak and fir, neither of which is very rot resistant. I expect the thing to last about 2-3 years before it needs to be replaced because the constant contact with wet soil will promote rot. I could make a 10 year+ version using cedar or redwood but that is expensive and all I have in this project is a little wood glue and a few dozen nails so remaking it in a few years is not a problem.

[In the USA] Pallets used for international shipping are often treated with chemicals to avoid introducing pests. Domestic pallets on the other hand are either raw wood or often they are heat treated (cooked in an oven) to kill pests. The untreated or heat treated pallets are both suitable for use in gardening applications.

The legs are made of the stringers from some pallets as they are heavier 1.25" by 3" wood. The sides and bottom are made of the pallet slats which are ≈3/4" thick and usually 3.5 to 4" wide. The entire thing is glued and screwed together.

It will be filled with peat-based potting soil (I manage a greenhouse where we discard soil after one use so I have an almost unlimited supply of free, gently used, soil).

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h170/HandsomeRyan/IMAG1180_1_zpskjumgygi.jpg (http://s64.photobucket.com/user/HandsomeRyan/media/IMAG1180_1_zpskjumgygi.jpg.html)

The finished product is about 3.5' wide, 3' long, 3' high, and will hold about 7-8" of soil allowing for some free-board space. I probably wouldn't try to grow large crops like tomatoes in something like this but it will work fine for greens, and even root crops like carrots if they are not long varieties could be grown with no problems. No more rabbits eating my salad and I don't even have to bend over to work in this.

January 26th, 2015, 09:43 AM
Love the repurposing ethic Ryan. I'll bet that frame works out just fine. Clever you! And was the baby ever so helpful during the process?

January 26th, 2015, 09:50 AM
And was the baby ever so helpful during the process?

Mom took Wiggles to Costco while I built this because although I said, "The boy is old enough to learn to shoot a nail gun" mom said no. (I guess we'll just agree to disagree)

He is pulling up on things and "furniture cruising" a little bit. He'll be walking and helping dad out in the workshop in no time.

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h170/HandsomeRyan/IMAG1184_zpsjadhjeto.jpg (http://s64.photobucket.com/user/HandsomeRyan/media/IMAG1184_zpsjadhjeto.jpg.html)

January 26th, 2015, 09:56 AM
Wow, I bet your greenhouse could sell a lot of those to folks like me :)

January 26th, 2015, 09:57 AM
Cool idea ryan! I have been mulling raised beds over in my head for a small garden. Hmmmm you give me ideas!

Sandy Navas
January 26th, 2015, 11:30 AM
Hey, Ryan, have you given a thought to adding some plastic to the bottom of your lettuce garden table with a special slot so excess water could drain? It may help your tables last longer . . . (remember some my Dad made).

Simply Quilting
January 26th, 2015, 12:53 PM
That table is very nice. Love the use of the recycling and not having to bend over to work in the garden.

January 26th, 2015, 01:18 PM
The care center my mom lived in had a courtyard full of these type of boxes/beds and they were available to the residents to fill with whatever plants, flowers, vegetables, etc they wanted to grow. The height made it easy to work in and pretty to view as you walked in the area. A great donation plan.......when you become over run with pallets and soil and lack in other project ideas.....HA~! I think the ones at this care center were built by Boy Scouts.

January 26th, 2015, 01:40 PM
That looks fabulous! We reused pallets for years built my compost bin out of them among other projects. Back when my friend worked for a plumbing supply they would get special long pallets for tubs and thing that were made with really decent 2x6 pine boards that were 8 to 10 foot long. We would break them down and remove the tons of nails or staples. After about a year of saving it all, we used it all as the framing on my little barn and the frame for a storage shed saved us serious money and kept them out of the land fill. Only thing we had to buy was nails and the upright posts.
Funny thing is even the siding and roof was a reuse from someone else projects!

January 26th, 2015, 02:25 PM
Really nice, Ryan! My daughter has one in our backyard but it sits on the ground and is probably 3X the size. It would be nice if it was on legs. I guess it would need a lot of support to hold the weight of the dirt for a bed the size of hers. Your's be would make a wonderful spice bed as well.

January 26th, 2015, 02:46 PM
You should make Wiggles a small version and let him tend his own garden. By the time he's walking he'll have produce. Might be fun for him (and you!). Great idea! I'd love to have one about 2 ft square for my balcony so I could get to my herbs easy.

January 26th, 2015, 03:25 PM
Wonderful raised garden table Ryan! I watched Rabbits outside my kitchen window devour all my herbs (except Basil, they apparently don't like that) in about ten minutes flat. No sense in chasing them, they would be back again. That table would be wonderful on my deck. Your little guy is a handsome cutie. His face makes me smile. Many Blessings to you and your family.

January 26th, 2015, 10:19 PM
Love it! I have been thinking of making something similar. Great job!

Jean Sewing Machine
January 26th, 2015, 10:48 PM
Very cool! I tried to do a patio raised bed last year, I think we got too late of a start and didn't have much choice in plants by the time we were ready to plant. Plus the raised bed dried out really fast. We got a few golf ball size tomatoes, and that's it.

February 20th, 2015, 03:19 PM
Love the repurposing of pallets - something we do a whole lot here. You are one smart cookie!

February 20th, 2015, 07:16 PM
Hey, Ryan, have you given a thought to adding some plastic to the bottom of your lettuce garden table with a special slot so excess water could drain? It may help your tables last longer . . . (remember some my Dad made).

Ok you took the words right out of mouth. What Sandy said.

February 20th, 2015, 07:43 PM
I love what you 've done. I love container and raised bed gardening. It's works so well, especially for us older folks.

February 20th, 2015, 08:48 PM
Dang Ryan you are clever. Something like that would work here. Beautiful where i live however extemely rocky .

February 20th, 2015, 10:01 PM
Love it. I am in awe of some of the things people are making with pallets.

February 20th, 2015, 10:10 PM
Great job! I would love a plan!

We currently grow our veg in various pots and polystyrene boxes (from our veg. shop) on our "Aussie" North facing roof. We grow tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, aubergine, zucchini, cucumbers, silverbeet , spinach, lettuces and rocket, the best selection for us of the original 35 different veg. we grew when we started. The herbs are at ground level on a table as I do not like to climb the ladder, let alone clamber around on the roof!

We are moving house soon and will need to re-establish all of our veg beds above ground (too much builders rubble and no suitable roof).

Roof gardening sure keeps the snails and slugs at bay. We pick tomatoes right into the middle of winter. As for the chillies and other greens all year round.

Any other ideas for above ground gardening would be greatly appreciated too.

Cheers Aussie Jan