From the employee-owners of Gardener's Supply

Warehouse Diva Recycles Pallets for Employee Garden

She’s crazy, but it just might work!


Bridget Kane’s employee garden

Because we are “a company of gardeners,” many of us have employee gardens right outside the office. Here’s the story of one of those gardens:

I have always loved to use found objects for gardening, so incorporating recycled pallets into my employee garden plot seemed normal to me. For example, I have been a big fan of using the sheets of black plastic that come off of our pallets of soil. I use this plastic to control weeds and for moisture retention (aka “plastic mulch”). But this year, it is all about the pallets.

Any quick internet search will provide a multitude of ideas for repurposing pallets (the Canadians have an offical Pallet Association, whoa!) So, after getting some online inspiration, I knew I needed to try them in my garden this year, since I work in a warehouse surrounded by them.

Bridget Kane

Bridget Kane

I covered the ground with Pro Weed Mat first. Next, I laid down seven pallets (flat) and filled them with potting soil. It definitely took way more soil to fill these suckers than I originally thought. My thoughts are/were to plant stuff that (I hope) does not need as much root space (lettuces, herbs, radishes, beets, peas, etc.) I do have a few tomatoes, beans, squash and melons for experimentation.

To finish it off, I planted some marigolds around the border to make it look “prettier”/less crazy until the other plants fill it in more.

Next year — when I am in the set-up phase — I want to incorporate some soaker hose action throughout the pallets (which I thought of in hindsight). Also, I need to think about upgrading my system of securing the sides of the pallets so soil doesn’t push out. Right now I am using the less-than-glamorous empty plastic soil bags.

—Bridget Kane

Gardener’s Supply employee-owner Bridget Kane works in the Milton, VT, distribution center.


  1. Anna Lapping
    June 18, 2013    

    If you need more root space you could always stack two together, the bottom one with the slats facing down, and the top one with the slats facing up.

    • Bridget
      June 27, 2013    

      Grea idea for next year Anna! Thanks. I have stacked two pallets as a second layer at one end and am trying some melons and squash there as it is somewhat “mound-like”..We shall see what the growing brings though.

  2. Patty
    June 18, 2013    

    Check for pesticide treated wood (look at letters/stamps on the wood). Pallets arriving from overseas are required to be plastic or treated to prevent unintentional infestations (e.g. Asian Longhorn Beetle). Do not use treated wood for food crops.

    • Bridget
      June 27, 2013    

      Yes. Good point. I was careful to select unfinished “clean” pallets….a warehouse perk I guess. Otherwise, I would only be growing flowers!

    • Gardener's Supply
      July 9, 2013    

      More about what to look for when selecting pallets, from the University of Illinois:

  3. June 18, 2013    

    Wonderful idea, I’m doing a video next week on growing melons vertically using pallets. I have a warehouse in the Central Florida / Orlando area and always have pallets in good shape. Any gardeners in the area are more then welcome to come get some free from me if you hit me up. I’m near the Florida Mall/Seaworld area.

  4. Linda Higgins
    June 18, 2013    

    Next year use those sheets of plastic to secure your soil. Staple one end to the last slat on top, wrap under pallet and then staple the other end to the last slat. Make sure you poke some drain holes in the bottom. Happy Gardening!

    • Bridget
      June 27, 2013    

      Great flippin idea Linda! Thank you! I am slowly replacing the plastic shoved in the sides with straw…but I love your idea for next year’s pallet garden sculpture!

  5. Jonathan
    October 17, 2013    

    Very impressive and remarkable way of an idea. You could also use plastic pallets.

    For me plastic pallets are more durable to use….

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