Greenhouse Raised Beds

Modular Growing

I’ve always loved working with pallets, in fact, during my uni days in interior & furniture design I used them for a project. I love making something new out of something old and free! There are several ways of dismantling a pallet and make the most use of the wood as possible (more about that later). For my new greenhouse I wanted pallet planters that could be wheeled about. Moveable planters mean the space will be easier to clean and I can move the planters around if something isn’t doing well in a particular spot. It also meant I wouldn’t have to dismantle everything and rebuild but simply, move one bed to a different space. What I also wanted was that they could be used as seats in winter, for greenhouse cocktail parties. And in spring as seedling shelves, I wouldn’t grow anything in the greenhouse over winter so no need to worry about seedling space once they outgrew my kitchen window!

These beds have to do quite a bit and the wheels even more. I researched my specs and found wheels that could do what I needed them to do and look nice. The wheels I ended up getting can carry up to 600kg in weight, two wheels have brakes, they drive smoothly, can go inside (like in my greenhouse) and outside (like out front). This means that even with 150L of compost each, the beds can still hold a person sitting on it – including all the wood of the bed & lid itself.

In spring they can hold all the seedlings that have outgrown the house and are still too tender for the outside world!


Back to the planters

I am very lucky to have a husband who will help me with the heavy stuff in the garden as I either don’t have the strength or stamina (or desire) to do certain things. One of those things is taking apart pallets. Now, we do this in 2 ways, first one I let him tackle the pallets with two hammers and I remove the nails after he’s done smacking the sh*t out of them, or we do it together by sabre saw. One holds the pallet (usually me), the other uses the sabre saw to cut through the nails. I tend to prefer it this way as I don’t tend to need to remove the nails afterwards. Plus there’s less chance of the wood splitting (brute force isn’t everything) and you get to use the most of the wood. I won’t go into full detail how I’ve build the beds, I’ll add them to the Make section at some point. I do want to mention that all the raised beds & lids are made out of recycled wood. Not a single piece of wood is bought. The lids are all made from roof battens that my neighbours let me have (or their builders rather) when they had their roof replaced.

In the first year of the new greenhouse (2020) I build 4 raised beds + 2 lids. Apart from replacing some screws with longer ones and tightening some others, the beds have held up really well and are going into their 4th growing year now. The following year (2021) I build 4 more beds for the front yard – no lids for those though. Their first year underperformed massively and I blame part of that to the weird weather we had in 2021, the other, on my bad composition of soil used. Lessons learned, green manure grown and the second year was a big improvement on the first. with this year being absolutely brilliant with my spring bulb display. Last year (2022) I created 3 more beds + lids for the greenhouse and I’ve run out of space again! This year (2023) I’m adding 2 more beds + lids to the greenhouse and these two will be different in size and shape to all the prior ones. They’ll also have smaller wheels as they won’t exceed 600kg. These new ones will for this year house various cucumbers and whatever else I can grow with them. Maybe radishes of carrots & spring onions – or even all of those!