Pallet boards

Beekissed

Mountain Sage
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
12,320
Reaction score
2,778
Points
417
Location
Mountains of WV
We do the same. I've used pallets in so many ways here, so it's the gift that just keeps on giving. I'll be using some for walls on wood shed and sheep pen unless a better material becomes available.
 

Beekissed

Mountain Sage
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
12,320
Reaction score
2,778
Points
417
Location
Mountains of WV
So you've decided to get sheep again? Seems you have been thinking about it but, undecided. Nice. Sheep are nice.
Yes! If the Lord wills it and I can find the right stock, I'll be getting three lambs this Aug. Two ewes and a ram. I'm looking at two different sources right now and need to go look at the second one this next week, if I can.

Sheep are lovely, sweet and my favorite livestock to raise. Can't wait!!! They are part of my long term plan to decrease the mowing around here~we mow around 4 acres right now and gas ain't getting any cheaper, nor is mower repair~ and also produce more healthy meat than I can produce with my chicken flock.
 

flowerbug

Lovin' The Homestead
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
191
Reaction score
178
Points
84
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
anytime i can get free wood i'll take it, but i much prefer wood without nails or screws in it.

i'm in the middle of a large project here right now where i have about 50 pallets that have rotted that i'll have to get rid of and not by burning. it took me about a month to just get them taken out of where they were at and stacked more out of the way. a lot were so rusted out and rotting i could remove the nails by pulling them with my fingers or even scraping them up with the trowel and removing them and putting them in the jug for recycling.

i'm not sure yet what i'll be doing with the pallets that haven't rotted all the way yet, but it is going to take a lot of time to deal with them. i don't want to risk stepping on rusty nails so burying them isn't what i'd want to do, but i may be forced to use them as fill anyways. luckily if i do end up having to do that it won't be in any place that will be gardened or disturbed much, but i'm hoping to avoid that if i can. i want the wood if i can cut along the edges and get the decent wood that can be used in places until it rots. then i would only have the ribs of the pallets with all the nails left to deal with.

i don't want to burn it. too bad i can't get a big tub and throw them all in there and then worm compost them until i can go back through and get the nails out. i'd do that in a big pile just on the ground someplace but Mom will have something to say about that... hmm, gotta keep thinking about this...
 

milkmansdaughter

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
1,295
Reaction score
1,503
Points
217
Location
Alabama
anytime i can get free wood i'll take it, but i much prefer wood without nails or screws in it.

i'm in the middle of a large project here right now where i have about 50 pallets that have rotted that i'll have to get rid of and not by burning. it took me about a month to just get them taken out of where they were at and stacked more out of the way. a lot were so rusted out and rotting i could remove the nails by pulling them with my fingers or even scraping them up with the trowel and removing them and putting them in the jug for recycling.

i'm not sure yet what i'll be doing with the pallets that haven't rotted all the way yet, but it is going to take a lot of time to deal with them. i don't want to risk stepping on rusty nails so burying them isn't what i'd want to do, but i may be forced to use them as fill anyways. luckily if i do end up having to do that it won't be in any place that will be gardened or disturbed much, but i'm hoping to avoid that if i can. i want the wood if i can cut along the edges and get the decent wood that can be used in places until it rots. then i would only have the ribs of the pallets with all the nails left to deal with.

i don't want to burn it. too bad i can't get a big tub and throw them all in there and then worm compost them until i can go back through and get the nails out. i'd do that in a big pile just on the ground someplace but Mom will have something to say about that... hmm, gotta keep thinking about this...
Just curious, but why don't you want to burn them? I burn wood like that and then use a large magnet to pick up all the nails. Then the ashes can be put in the compost bin, garden, or chicken dusting area.
Could you start a compost pile with them? That wood is already decaying and could create lots of air pockets. Later, you could sift the nails out.
The idea about using them for worms is a good idea too. Maybe you can find an out of the way area where you can start a good worm bed, and use it for adding worms when you are planting.
I'm not sure how you feel about wildlife, but a pile of those on the edge of the property could be left for a natural habitat area for rabbits, small animals, birds and bees. And as they rot, you'd have the worms.
 

Lazy Gardener

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
2,207
Reaction score
1,965
Points
232
Location
Central Maine, Zone 4B
Are you urban, suburban, rural? Have neighbors that would have issues with how you manage your property? Zoning laws? HOA? If they are not too rotten to burn, I'd do that, then use a magnet to get the metals out. But... are you sure they are not PT? If you can use a sawz-all, to cut out the naily portions, you could then build a hugelkulture mound with them. Use the free of nail portions to line paths of your garden? Again, PT would be the deal breaker for me. But, if they are rotting, it's most likely they are not PT.
 

flowerbug

Lovin' The Homestead
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
191
Reaction score
178
Points
84
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
my preference would be to compost them. burning is a last resort because we are both very sensitive to wood smoke (we do have a fireplace but it is converted to burning propane). if i do go that route i will dig a pretty deep trench in the clay and then try to make as much biochar/charcoal out of them that i can. i've done this once before and really liked the results and the effects upon the clay, but it really was hard on my lungs. i will need a burn permit. then the ashes and char would be contained in one pit and i would be able to sift that smaller area to get the remaining nails out.

none of the pallets appear to be pressure treated wood. cutting up with a circular saw is one way i may go to salvage whatever wood i can reuse as mulch or coverage for areas around fences and such. we have a lot of that type of edge in places so i've already got that kind of thing going on. the friend who burns wood and splits a lot of wood used to bring us his chunks of bark and any rotting pieces of wood he can't burn, but he's injured now and not doing much wood making so that hasn't happened for a few seasons. still i would take all wood debris he would bring along with his fireplace ashes. i can always find places to use those (but not fast enough to make Mom happy lol).

we are rural, site maps, descriptions, tons of pictures at www.anthive.com which will give a lot more context for my comments. :)

as i noted, i will take any wood that is free and use it all around the gardens or yard in various ways. as it breaks down it is habitat for many creatures and it gives the raccoons, skunks, possums, etc places to hunt for food. when it is broken down it becomes humus for gardens or is just left in place. we use wood chips in a lot of perennial gardens and around trees and eventually i scrounge up the partially or fully decayed wood chip remains and use them as part of the buckets when i restart the worm farm each spring (after taking 80-90% of them to the gardens to be used as my fertlizer for the heavier feeding veggies). it's a nice system other than moving the buckets is heavy, but i only have to do that once a year. when i bring the buckets back in from the gardens they are partially full of garden soil to be recharged by the worms (a variation upon what most people do with worm composting, but i also use a mix of worm species including native worms so that i am encouraging about 4 species of natives along with the european/belgian night-crawlers which do not survive in our climate.)

i try to keep all the rotting wood at least 50ft from the house to discourage the foraging carpenter ants from thinking the house should be their next home... i do have to use some borax/sugar solutions at times to get rid of ant nests closer to the house for that reason too. i also caulk up any cracks i can find around the perimeter of the house because it helps keep the bugs out. always stuff to do for sure...
 

Lazy Gardener

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
2,207
Reaction score
1,965
Points
232
Location
Central Maine, Zone 4B
Do you find that the native worms tend to crawl out of your bucket? Any issues with introducing unwanted insect pests when bringing worms/soil back into your house? I had a massive crawl off with native worms one year. It was pretty gross. Thankfully, the bucket was in my garage at the time! My recent supply is a combination of native reds that were collected from a cardboard layered area in my garden, and several lone survivors from casings of cultivated reds (bucket froze). These guys behave themselves very well. Have not harvested castings since initial set up. Need to do that some time!
 

flowerbug

Lovin' The Homestead
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
191
Reaction score
178
Points
84
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
Do you find that the native worms tend to crawl out of your bucket? Any issues with introducing unwanted insect pests when bringing worms/soil back into your house? I had a massive crawl off with native worms one year. It was pretty gross. Thankfully, the bucket was in my garage at the time! My recent supply is a combination of native reds that were collected from a cardboard layered area in my garden, and several lone survivors from casings of cultivated reds (bucket froze). These guys behave themselves very well. Have not harvested castings since initial set up. Need to do that some time!
haha, worms... love questions, sorry to side track (not really :) )...

yes, worms will crawl out if they are not covered. i use a fine mesh over the buckets (you can use an old t-shirt without holes in it - cheesecloth is not a fine enough weave and worms will crawl through it) to keep the worms and bugs in or out. if you can source buckets with lids usually there is a rubber ring in the edge of the lid as a gasket. that also makes a good rubber band to hold down the mesh cover. :) i wish we had an entire basement to work with but it is a not to easy to reach crawl space (which is actually nicer heat and air conditioning than the house because the furnace/AC is down there). we joke about having my brother come live with us and him being down there... i could live down there too. i've lived in an attic before without issues... :)

the fun thing i had this season for the first time was i had some crickets in the buckets including what i think was a mole cricket which would sing to me. it didn't bother me and if it got a bit loud at times i'd just put the blanket over my ear and that was fine. it was fading away about a month ago and i had finally gotten to that bucket in the feeding rotation and so i disturbed it or killed it accidentally (i was not able to find it when i started to isolate it when feeding the worms so it may have gotten buried too deeply to recover).

i have found many different kinds of creatures in the buckets besides worms for sure because a part of the bucket ecosystem is based upon detritus/partially decayed wood chips and humus from outside. i have had population explosions of fungus gnats so bad that i have had to take buckets outside before opening them as it would not be a good thing to have thousands of those released into the house. some fruit flies and other flies, various other bugs, roly polys, millipedes, centipedes. to combat the small flying bugs i have found some tiny tiny spiders which help. i've been trying to introduce these spiders to all the buckets they are proving to be so helpful, but with limited success so far. i think i have 3 or 4 of the 12 buckets with those now. spring tails, etc.

i do not work to separate the worms from the castings. when i take the buckets out in the spring i just scoop some of each layer of a bucket into another bucket as i am putting the bucket into the garden so i will restart a bucket using the whole system i have in place. the worms that get put into the gardens mostly die (they are conditioned to the bucket and not the more harsh conditions of the garden soil). the non-natives will die off and the tiny natives will survive, but not as many as will survive in a bucket. then the cycle starts again as i bring in a partial bucket of garden soil/clay/sand and then that is topped with a layer of detritus/partially decayed wood chips and humus which gradually get mixed into the bucket as i keep feeding the worms the cooking scraps, paper scraps, bean pods, etc. i want to encourage the broadest diversity as i can in the buckets and in the gardens so this is a way of doing that and it really is working. i do have fungal issues from our location and soils but the worms and all the bacteria they generate (along with their own fungal companions) seem to help moderate that in the gardens as i keep amending each year. alas i don't have enough buckets to completely redo entire gardens, but about 100-120 lbs of basically free fertilizer/prime garden soil each season is a great resource and i have a lot of fun seeing what happens in each bucket through the years i've been keeping them. i have studied how various things are broken down or rot (bones, rolled up newspapers, pieces of wood, etc.). nothing gets wasted here if possible. though Mom is not as tight as i am about this.

i've also learned what not to do... :) mistakes have happened. that is what experimenting can be like...

like i learned after i'd already put night crawlers in some buckets that they really were not well suited for that so eventually i released them into the gardens where now i do keep finding them and their large burrows. i found one cocoon from them (there is a picture of that and the comparison of size between them and the other worm cocoons i was keeping on the worm page on the website).
 

CrealCritter

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
3,981
Reaction score
4,247
Points
257
Location
Zone 6B or 7 can't decide
My wife seen this and wants me to make it.. Although i think i would go wider. Your pile of boards looks perfect.

 
Top