Unless it has to do with the overwhelming coolness of Loki and/or Tom Hiddleston's general superiority as a human being, everything Pinterest says is a lie. Those "easy, cute cupcakes"; they took four hours to decorate for that photo. That "simple rag rug like Grandma used to make"; yeah, right--Grandma did not have nearly that much time on her hands. And that "strawberry planter box out of a simple pallet"; all I can say is that whoever made that one up is the devil.
The first problem with the pallet-cum-strawberry-box is that the "simple" pallet shown is not a simple pallet. As a person whose husband brings many pallets home from his job at a diesel shop, the pallet shown there is sort of the the Cadillac of pallets. Not only that, but it looks like it was power-washed. What pallet is that pretty? All the pallet-based non life-forms around our house are much more workaday than that pallet.
Next problem: Oh, look how easily we just sawed that pallet into three perfectly matching pieces! No. That's a scam. Unless you are willing to use a table saw on that pallet, which seems a mite unwieldy to me, you're left with few tenable options. I suppose you could go all Texas Chainsaw Massacre on that pallet's expletive deleted but that also seems unlikely to result in even cutting. That leaves your trusty, rusty hand saw. That, folks, is how I sawed my pallet. It was a bit like sawing through a glass-sliver-encrusted piece of granite. Unless you have the patience of a saint and Kevlar gloves, that is just not going to go well. I have splinters in my splinters.
I admit, the instructions from this pin say something about trimming excess wood away and they also tell you to find a very specific type of pallet. That's where my trouble with the application of the word "simple" is entering. Going on with the instructions, we see the recommendation of owning a jigsaw (oops) and putting chicken wire in the bottom with a layer of weed block over that so you don't have to construct a floor (yay! more lacerations!) Then there's some gettin' fancy with straw and finally the most artistically planted strawberries you have ever seen. Bull.
Okay, now it is time for my disclaimer. The owner of the blog Lovely Greens did in fact make this pallet box. This blogger is clearly both more power tool savvy and better at planning ahead than I am. It is probably possible to make a pallet box every bit as swanky as hers if you follow her instructions to the letter. She deserved citation and major kudos for her beautiful box. She also has a very pretty cat. You should probably be reading her blog instead of this one if you have DIY aspirations. All I'm saying is it ain't as easy as Pinterest makes it look.
Now on to my tutorial for how to make a half-vast pallet strawberry planter with half-vast plans. I am nothing if not amusing, eh? So I started with my grubby, splintery, totally unlovely pallet and sawed it up using a hand saw and creative profanity, as I previously said. At that point, I was not thinking in terms of amusing blog anecdotes, so I wasn't taking pictures.
After I sawed mine up, I realized that I should have just left it alone. Since it was too late, I had already lost count of my splinters, and I had extra plywood lying around I began cobbling together a sort of shallow box with more slats on the bottom than the top. The slats on top were meant to divide the strawberry plants while the slats on the bottom were meant to hold in the dirt. The general idea was portability and keeping my strawberry patch from looking like an orgy of tarantulas (which is what happened last year.) I'm also working under the unsupported assumption that my apparatus might discourage slugs, since voodoo rituals seem to have no effect on them.
Back to my embarrassing attempt at carpentry... It quickly became apparent to me that there was no way I was going to create a solid floor with the plywood and spare pallet slats I had. For one, the thought of sawing all that plywood into appropriately sized pieces with a hand saw threatened to bring on a prolonged bout of hysteria. For another thing, prying slats off of old pallets that have been sitting outdoors for a year and more is every bit as easy as bench pressing the Rock of Gibraltar. It takes about that much strength too. The pallet slat will break into splinters perfect for staking vampires or starting camp fires before you will ever manage to pull those nails loose.
Once I got a box floor with gaps in it no more than an inch wide, I decided that was sufficient and I could now afford to cheat. I do not have a good relationship with chicken wire and I used up all the weed block fabric a couple of years ago when I was making my patio of which I am still intensely proud (see entry Last Week I Ruined the Lives of Thousands of Ants). I went for the old standby--newspaper. Layered newspaper is a great way to conquer many garden problems. You can make it into plantable pots, or lay it down as weed-blocker, or sort of mulch around plants with it to hold in extra moisture. As it happens, you can also put in in the bottom of your pallet planter box when you get tired of playing Unstoppable Force/Immovable Object with petrified pallet nails.
Incidentally, gardening/carpentry projects become doubly challenging in gale force winds. I have no evidence of the added difficulty except for this:
Katniss Everdeen's braids never had to put up with this expletive deleted...