10 key tips to pallet gardening

Pallets were once seen as old, dirty scrap wood until the bloggers got ahold of them. Now, you can create just about anything with pallet wood -- from furniture to garden accessories, and even a garden itself.
The pallet garden became popular because pallets are super cheap (sometimes even free) and they are great for growing household herbs and veggies. You can even tip pallets on their side and use them vertically, saving space for those who don't have backyards.
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But, while the pallet garden trend is still strong, there are some things you need to know before you get started on your project.
1. Avoid pressure treated wood
Pressure treated wooden pallets have chemicals in them that can leak into your soil and ultimately your plants. Gardening Know How says avoid this, by all means, to ensure you grow happy, healthy and organic plants.
2. Look for the HT stamp
Karen, The Sunday Gardener, says you should always look for the HT stamp of approval when choosing a pallet. This stamp means the wood was heat treated or kiln dried -- meaning there are no chemicals involved.
3. If there are stains, don't use it
The Preparedness Mama says you shouldn't use a pallet, or parts of a pallet, where the wood is darker than the rest. She explains this darkening of the wood could mean the wood has been exposed to chemicals.
4. Don't use a pallet unless you know where it's been
Another helpful tip is to avoid using a pallet if you don't know what has been on it, or what it has been used for. While the pallet itself might have the signs that the wood wasn't treated with chemicals, it could have still been used for a product that leaked nasty chemicals.
5. New pallets are the best pallets
Essentially, the Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences you can avoid all these variables by just buying a new pallet -- one with the HT stamp, of course. Used pallets are often free whereas new ones will cost you. But, it does provide peace of mind.
6. Wash your pallet
Before you begin using your used pallet in your garden, give it a good wash. You don't need much, just soap and water to get any grime, bacteria or chemicals off of the wood.
7. Line the bottom with landscape paper
People often assume you just plop the pallet on the ground, fill it up with some soil and begin planting. But, to ensure weeds don't pop up, add some landscape paper to the bottom and secure it with some nails.
8. Fill it with soil
Since you've lined the bottom with landscape paper, you're going to need to fill the pallet with soil. Opt for something nutrient rich to help your plants thrive.
9. You can plant vertical or horizontal
You can use your pallet to plant the traditional way (horizontally lying in your garden) or vertically. Vertical is a great option if you have a small balcony or porch and you want to grow some plants at home.
10. Use plants that thrive in this environment
The bloggers over at Busy Creating Memories say plants that grow upwards and need a shallow base are best for pallet gardening. These kinds of plants include peppers, peas, beans, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuce, herbs and more.
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