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April 2021

Raise your own veggies with a low-cost DIY raised garden bed

April 7, 2021

Whether you are an accomplished gardener or an aspiring one, you may want to check out the step-by-step guide to creating your own raised garden beds from pallets. The DIY plans are available from the RE Store, a non-profit program in Bellingham that diverts reusable material from landfills.

If you don't have time (or the confidence) to build your own DIY raised garden from pallets, RE Store has you covered. Its Manufacturing Waste Diversion program stocks some.

More than 500 million pallets are manufactured in the U.S. every year, which equate to around 20 million trees. An estimated 25 million pallets (roughly 1 million trees worth of lumber!) are discarded annually and wind up in landfills.

Benefits of Raised Beds
No tilling is better for the soil.
Your back will thank you.
Raised beds look nicer.
Raised beds help keep out critters.
Raising your soil means better drainage.
You will have fewer weeds and crab grass.
You can plant raised beds earlier in the season.
Raised beds can be temporary.
Raised beds avoid contaminated soil.
Raised beds are great for beginners.


Source: Nicole Faires, Eartheasy

By repurposing pallets, you're getting great lumber at little cost, you're extending the life of valuable building materials, and you are creating a container that can help solve myriad gardening challenges. Urban farmer Nicole Faires, a best-selling author of books on sustainable agriculture and food policy, wrote a blog for Eartheasy with a list of 10 benefits of raised garden beds. (See box.)

RE Store recommends using heat-treated pallets (designated by an HT stamp on each pallet), which are safe for gardens.

To build your own raised bed from the pallets in eight simple steps (with photos), click here.

If you need tips on what and when to plant, and other guidelines for becoming a green-thumbed gardener, check out the resources from Washington State University's Master Gardener program. The site includes an interactive map for finding your county's Extension Office, and even tips for when to plant various types of vegetables.

The RE Store, located in Bellingham's Fountain District, was founded in 1993 and operates as a program of RE Sources, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its retail location features salvaged and reclaimed building materials, vintage d├ęcor, and a facility to receive lightly used donated items. Its blog features other DIY projects and stores on creative reuse.