Category Archives: pallet ideas

San Francisco Chronicle’s Rooftop Garden



I included two rooftop gardens in Backyard Roots and was  curious about the downtown San Francisco rooftop garden at the Chronicle ever since I heard about it.  When  the chance came up to visit it  I jumped. Editorial assistant Kim Gomes is also the gardener and she showed me around. It’s her “green sanctuary” she said, up above the hustle and bustle of the city below. It attracts a lot of birds including hummingbirds. They have two thriving hives despite the fact there is not a lot of greenery to be seen nearby. The plants get full sunlight and a lot of wind  so they are watered with a drip irrigation system ten minutes a day. Pests are few and easier to control on an isolated rooftop, although Kim says she still can’t figure out how the snails made it up there.

The garden is a place to experiment with plants and growing methods. One of the latest is a potato growing bag called a Potato Planter bag that has drainage hoes and two flaps at the bottom to retrieve the potatoes. She adds compost to the plants weekly. The potatoes grow faster in the solar warmed grow bag and the bag is a great rooftop option especially if you don’t have much space.  Harvest is easy and fast, just open the flap.

Another successful newcomer are the evergreen strawberries she’s planted this year.  They are planted in containers all over the roof, but I loved the pallet planter. She said to make the planter she simply stapled landscaping material on 5 sides and then filled with dirt.  After planting the strawberries and letting them get established she tilted the pallet up vertically. She did the same technique for a succulent garden. For step by step instructions for the pallet planter and other planter diy planter ideas check the SF Gate article she wrote here.



The Potato Planter Bag





Pallet Ideas for the Urban Farmer


While working on Backyard Roots I came across some great ways to use pallets. I loved this turkey coop that Tom Ferguson from Dog Island Farm made in Vallejo. He told me that he first built a frame out of 2x4s to fit the pallets, he then added pallet walls stuffed with straw and covered with chicken wire, then  added a plywood roof and  the door. A great coop idea if your climate doesn’t get too cold.


Here’s another coop idea below, that Maya Blow and Nevada Cross, Soulflower Farm, have in their El Sobrante Farm. They lined part of their coop with wood and added a recycled window. Soulflower Farm has some great classes coming up including Natural Beekeeping, Mushroom Cultivation, and Herbal Cleansing for Women at their East Bay Farm. Check them out.

Maya and Nevada's chicken coop made from old pallettes.

Below is Stacey Brewer’s herb planter, Seattle Seedling. She has a video on youtube explaining how she did it, but she basically stapled pockets out of landscape material and then planted herbs. Looks great!


And the last idea is Connie Van Dyke’s double wide composter out of 5 pallets screwed together into two U-shaped bins. Its helpful to have a double composter because once one side is filled you can start on the other. Connie composts one side for a full year. She checks the progress with a composting thermometer. The temperature needs to reach 140-150 degrees F to kill pathogens.