Herbs and vegetable planters from gear box crates!

As you may know I'm a keen recycler of pallets, I've used them previously to make a table and these cupboards.

Previously I've scrounged pallets from the local tip, they are often of quite poor quality though so I've been searching for a new source. Popular classified ad site www.leboncoin.fr was where I found one.

Not only does this guy have a huge selection of all different types of pallets he had some old Ford gearbox crates too. These looked interesting and as we need to start planting our summer herbs and veggies I though these would come in handy as cheap planters.

Patrice was very open to a bit of negotiation and as I was buying a load of other bits and pieces to I got the three crates for 45 euros.

They wee a bit rickety so the first thing to do was add a load more screws to strengthen them.

They would have required way too much soil to be practical at this depth so I used the lids that came with them to create a new floor.

To offer them some chance of protection from the elements I've painted them with linseed oil paint. A five litre container of oil is just 15 euros. Using some black pigment mixed in with the oil makes a cheap and effective matt black coating.

I've placed some polythene to help retain the moisture in the soil and also to protect the timber from direct contact with the wet spoil. This will help with their longevity.

Using a mixture of horse manure and topsoil I've got some nice deep planters ready to grow us a summers worth of lovely fresh herbs and vegetables.

With the screws and oil, I reckon they cost about 20 euros a piece, what do you think of them?


Nice work Val, keep the photos coming!

Okay, so nowhere near an expert as James but I have a work in progress - I need somewhere to store the firewood as opposed to in the driveway so I'm building a shack. I've not yet worked out exactly how to do the roof (considering a lop sided A frame but options are limited when I have only one rusty saw) but I've ordered some pliable roofing sheets which hopefully I'll be able to work with solo.

The shed roof is too low to just do a lean-to so I've bought guttering to fit between the shed and the 'pallet house' roofs which will feed into a barrel. The pallets fit very nicely around the support beams for the most part which hopefully will increase strength once they're nailed too.

Once the 'walls' are finished I can tack plastic netting or similar to the interior to keep average rainfall out.

Okay, not brilliant, but I'm trying.

James, you & your palettes, really good idea, no bending down all the time when weeding out those unwanted plants! Also, leaving the plants in such palettes so they can be moved around (wind and increasingly strange weather). Its perfect for lazy people like me, because I'm still collecting palettes for the tables. Using linseed oil paint instead Lindan or other gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane is indeed necessary.

Hi James,

Very handy, just the right height, you don't have to strain your back!

I read that you use linseed oil against the sun and the rain. I've never used it, but usually use wood stain (v33) Would you recommend linseed oil ?

James, you have overlooked some of the benefits here. For anyone who is handicapped, raised bed gardening is a necessity. Only attention should be paid to ensure they are no nonger twice the distance of which you can reach and they should be made, as in your case, in rough wood to prevent snails and slugs from climbing in. You will then never need to walk on them thus they will not need digging. Any vegetables can be planted much closer together as you wont need space to walk in between. The PH can be controlled much more accurately. In England, we had thirty square metres of veggie garden and had ample crops.

Hi James,

I was telling a new local store here on the Isle of Man about your skill with pallets! The store here is called Interior Rehab (they are on FB) and they are rehabilitating pallets, old furniture, etc very professionally in a "loft" style. here's a pic from FB of one of their pallet coffe tables (they also burn in the writing)!!

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They are great, James. I use the crates slates come in for my logs as they keep them tidy and together. I've never had to pay for any, I've either seen them around and asked if I could have them or advertised on AI and found them that way. I have used ordinary pallets for my five compost bins and produced all the compost I need for this years veggie beds and the polytunnel.


How insensitive, James! You make me feel so inadequate with your DIY-posts.Don't you realise there are people that are all thumbs, none of them green? ;-)

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Very good.

I have one planted up with azaleas and begonias. The begonias have died off over the winter but the azaleas are now in full bloom and look pretty good.

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