Pallet Garden Blunders –

At first glance, the pallet garden idea seems great. It is easy on top of simple, with convenient spacing and rows, right? We thought so last spring and were more than a little disappointed by fall! It just didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. After dumping out dirt and restructuring the garden this week, we felt the need to advise other gardeners looking for new methods against using this one!

Here is what we found out:

  • Wooden pallets are susceptible to vermin and insects infestations.
  • Soil compaction leads to smaller crops and difficult tending.
  • If a pallet has gone across a border, they require fumigation – which is often performed with methyl bromide, a highly toxic, ozone-depleting chemical. Scary!
  • Shipping pallets contain e. coli and Listeria, and are prone to mold growth when left out in the elements. Not ideal for a gardening in Oregon.
  • Contamination from chemicals used to treat the wooden pallets can leach out onto whatever is placed on them or into the air. Which can also compromise soil quality!
  • Wood pallets made with “engineered wood” components contain urea formaldehyde – a known carcinogen.

We are all about using recycling materials where possible, but we now strongly advise against using pallets in the garden, as tempting as it may be! It looks nice, but is not worth the risk or time spent on a system that can only lead to small crops.

So I am including a short list of articles found online – both pros and cons – to let you make your own informed choice about whether or not you’ll use pallets in your garden.
Are pallets safe to reuse?
Don’t reuse wood pallets.
Recycling wood pallets and packaging.

What are your thoughts on reusing pallets in the garden or as furniture?  Have you done it already?  And will you do it again?