Teaching my kids where their food comes from and helping them to feel a connection to the world around them is important to me. Gardening with kids is the perfect way to do this. This year we wanted to do some fun things in the yard with our almost 2 year old. We decided to build a wall of strawberries. What kid doesn’t love strawberries?
The project is quite simple. All you need is a used pallet, potting soil, and some landscape fabric. And strawberries, of course. I highly recommend using organic strawberries and growing them without harmful pesticides. Strawberries have long been on the Dirty Dozen List as one of the fruits and veggies to definitely eat organic because of how much of the pesticides and herbicides they absorb. Pallets are pretty easy to come by around here. We see them for free all over the place. We decided to do 2 pallets next to each other because everyone in our house LOVES strawberries.
The end result is a fun wall of strawberries that kids can easily see and get to. What I love most about this is that it keeps the strawberries off of the ground and out of the dirt. The downfall has been that little one constantly picks off all of the strawberries, even the ones that aren’t ripe. Oh, well!!
How to Build a Wall of Strawberries
- one used pallet (make sure it is not pressure treated wood or sprayed with pesticides)
- landscape fabric (like this)
- Heavy duty stapler (like this)
- 5 cubic feet of potting soil
- 20-25 organic strawberry plants
Cover back of pallet with landscape fabric
Fill pallet with potting soil
Now allow strawberries to sit on ground for 2 weeks to settle in. Keep evenly watered.
After 2 weeks, carefully stand pallets upright. Plant the upper edge with strawberries if desired.
Add drip lines to keep strawberries evenly watered in hot weather (optional)
Click HERE to PIN THIS!
Be sure to safely secure the pallet either against a wall or with stakes to prevent from falling or injuring anyone. We also found that slightly angling the pallet backward allowed for more even watering.
Also, be sure to choose pallets that have not been treated chemically. Use ones that have been heat treated only. To learn more, read THIS.
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Heather R says
Do these winter over, or do you have to replant yearly?
I think it depends on where you live and how cold it gets. Strawberries grown in containers are more susceptible to frost than ones in the ground. I think you can experiment. Some folks take their strawberries out of containers over winter and put them in he ground with heavy mulch. You could also get creative and “insulate” the wall somehow in the winter. Some folks just let their plants fruit during the grow season and replace every spring. I have done both.
You could always move it in the the garage or shed over winter?
The only thing is that they are VERY heavy and hard to move. May be easier to remove plants and put them back after winter…. 🙂
Wheels attached to the base the activate at a certain tilt angle only, letting you wheel the structure to a different location?
wheels would be very handy 🙂
you could just put horticultural fleece over it in the winter, will keep out the worst of the cold.
It’s so fun with the kids. Have fun.
Wow. Great info and photos! What a great idea to use a pallet. We lost all of our strawberries during the hurricane last October, which was so disappointing since they take a couple of years to really take off and this was our third year growing them! So, thank you so much for sharing this. If I don’t get to it this season, definitely next year!
thanks for the feedback. I hope you get strawberries going again. They are so fun to grow and eat. I just wish my little one would stop picking the unripe ones….
Oh my goodness! This is so great! I can’t wait to try this, but my brain is running wild right now about how many I can fit against my fence line……….”oh sweetheart hubby of mine…………… Hahaha. Thanks for sharing this – my husband is gonna love you 😉
I would love to pin this but am not sure how. Great idea!!!
The photos on the post all have a “pin it” feature. When you hover over the photo, a pin it button should appear. Click that and it will pin it to your pinterest page. If that doesn’t work, you can find this pin on my pinterest board called “in the Garden”——> http://pinterest.com/savorylotus/in-the-garden/
debra@ HOMESPUN says
What a great idea! We love strawberries here too! 🙂
S. in WA says
how long have you kept one before the pallet started rotting? and have you had any problems with one molding on the backside of the landscape fabric? i’m really curious as to how long this would hold up. we live in a lot of rain here. strawberries are great here, but wood does rot.
This is my first season with them. I’m guessing it will last a few years (2-3) maybe more??? It’s definitely not a permanent thing. I don’t think the backside will mold as it is not backed up to a wall at my house so there is some airflow.
S. in WA says
thanks for the reply, and perhaps as part of this project, once they do start to give way you can tell us how long they went for! 🙂
also, i’m glad about the questions about HT vs. CT, i also wondered the same thing. the links and info are proving very helpful for me!
I did something similar to this, but I put landscape fabric on the front and back to hold the soil in. I didn’t plant as many as you have, but what I do have is shooting off runners and I am slitting the fabric and and tucking the runners in. I am hoping to put it in my greenhouse over the winter. IF we can move it.
Do you ever worry about the safety of using old pallets? I had a zillion ideas pinned of things to do with them because we have a ton of them at my work that are always up for grabs, but then I ran across some information about how unsafe many of them are. Especially to use for growing food. I did some more research and now I would never want to use one for anything inside the house or to grow food in. They are treated with heavy chemicals to last outside and to resist mold, pests and fire. They are usually treated with really strong pesticides and have been linked (suspectedly) to long term ill health effects in workers that are around them all the time. I am normally not an over the top worry wart type of person with this stuff and usually wouldn’t even leave a comment, but I saw the pic of your little girl (I have two little girls myself) and thought I would just mention it in case it might be something you would want to consider. You can find plenty of info yourself, but here is one that might be a good place to start… http://d-build.org/blog/?p=960
thanks for commenting. I definitely use the ones NOT treated with chemicals. You can find heat treated pallets. read more here about how to tell which ones are HT—-> http://www.ehow.com/how_10025800_pallet-treated.html
I posted a NOTE on the page about this too. Thanks again for speaking up. It’s important that we learn from each other. 🙂
” You can find heat treated pallets. read more here about how to tell which ones are HT—-> http://www.ehow.com/how_10025800_pallet-treated.html”
Thank you! I picked up 4 small HT pallets from a podiatry office. I am looking forward to planting strawberries in these.
I had collected a few pallets but didn’t use them. Two years later, they have termites. I am guessing they are not treated with chemicals.
Hi, when purchasing strawberry plants do they need to be non gmo or is organic good enough? Thanks
I get organic strawberries from a local place. I have never seen strawberries labeled as NON_GMO. I know some heriyage seeds are now labeling NON-GMO. If any one has more info, I would be happy to learn.
Hi, I am wondering what you think about using 2 pallets back to back. I have a fence section that we currently have strawberries on one side. Do you think I could somehow put them back to back & have both sides as a strawberry wall. Maybe if I left the Fence section in place & secured it to the posts on either side??
I imagine it gets very heavy, do you ever have an issue of the landscaping fabric ripping?? would it be better to add some wooden boards as supports across the back??
I love this idea!!
I think it would work as long as you had enough support. They are quite heavy. Extra support wouldn’t hurt. And no, I haven’t had any problems with the fabric ripping. I haven’t moved them from where they are. good luck!
Soozi Greene says
SAFETY FIRST! If you intend growing edibles in your pallet garden, do your due diligence – use heat treated (HT) marked hardwood pallets rather than those that have been fumigated and marked chemically treated (CT) or pressure treated. Check what the pallets have been used for to avoid chemical contamination. It’s wise to Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food especially with any material with a past life! Pallet timber varies widely – from new to old and how it has been used and treated. There are some useful tips on identifying treated wood and which to choose/steer clear of in the following articles: ‘How to Tell if Wood Pallets are Safe for Crafting‘; ‘All You Ever Wanted to know about Pallet Wood‘; The Scoop on Safe Shipping Pallets and ‘How to Determine if a Wood Pallet is Safe for Use‘.
YES!!! YES!!! thanks for the tip….. will put a note in the post 🙂
Aren’t pallets full of chemicals? Not to mention foodborn pathogens, mold, and animal feces. I would be careful about planting something you are going to eat in them.
Some are chemically treated… some are heat treated. I use the HT kind…. more here—-> http://www.ehow.com/how_10025800_pallet-treated.html
I don’t worry about foodborn pathogens from the pallet. and once the pallet rots, I will throw it away.
I love this! Just make sure you use pallets that aren’t treated with harmful chemicals as that would go against your organics. Bob Villa says to use the ones stamped with HT which means heat treated. Now I have to find some of those pallets and get started 🙂
Yes, thanks…. they should be stamped HT in order to be safe. more here—-> http://www.ehow.com/how_10025800_pallet-treated.html
Hi! Love the post and pallet projects. Our coffee table is a pallet on casters that we rebulit and stained.
Question about the drip hose. Where are you placing that? Just at the top of every few rungs? I know berries need a lot of water. Shared via twitter too! love the idea!
We put drip on each row of plants…and angled the pallet backwards a bit so the water wouldn’t just run down the front. Thanks for coming by…
What a great idea! Have you any idea, yet, as to how well the plants would winter over with this…paricularly in northern climates?
We have all been discussing this over the comments. Some people take strawberries out of containers for winter and put them in the ground with heavy mulch. Some people move them inside. This pallet id quite heavy so don’t know if it’s an option. We get a decent amount of cold in Northern California, and my strawberries winter over well. Gardening is always a total experiment. Every year is different for me. 🙂
Umer Tahir says
Great idea…thanks for sharing it…I will now apply this idea here in Scotland with my “wee” two year old boy. cheers
I just don’t get how the soil doesn’t ‘settle down’ and ooze out of the front slits.
Katja Heino says
Once you allow the pallet to rest on the ground and for the strawberries to take hold a bit, the soil stays in place. We have done many of these and have not had a problem with much soil spilling out. It works great!
Richard Yancey says
What would you suggest for watering if a drip system is not possible? Thanks!
Katja Heino says
You could water by hand. Allow the water to drip slowly down the front so it can absorb in.
probably should not allow non-treated wood with dirt and water to lean against a house though… will decay (even HT) slowly and be a “free lunch” sign for termites. Just a thought… just place them a bit away from the house… termites are everywhere in most areas of the US… but unless you literally “lead” them to your house it’s not usually a big deal.
Did you use June bearing, ever bearing, or day neutral? How far apart did you plant?
I can barely see the type because it is light gray. Please change it to black.
Katja Heino says
I’ve planted all sorts of strawberries this way. Last year I did June bearing. This year I did day neutral. I planted them about 10 inches apart and tried to stagger them from the row above. Hope that helps. 🙂
Jack Allen says
I want to try this but down in texas we get some hard rains that time of the year…i have a large gazebo I could lean them up in but not sure how much sunlight they need…
Katja Heino says
Strawberries prefer full sun. 🙂
I think it would work to lay the pallet down in the winter, in a place where you get snow. That would protect the strawberries over winter. Then stand the pallet back up in spring.
Any update on how long it lasts before rotting?