Hello fellow readers,
What a whirlwind trip venturing to Tennessee to attend my nephews’ wedding. Ellie in tow, brother Rick suggested a great walking spot in Knoxville called Lakeshore Park, with spectacular views of the Tennessee River and the Great Smoky Mountains. What a glorious day!
The next day we had brunch at Rick and Paulina’s. It was fun to see their digs I had heard so much about. Recall Rick’s rose dilemma caused by tent caterpillars shared in mid-June? Since then, they often think to Ask Mary. Such a good little brother…
Before the trip, we chatted about his pallet solution to screen the air-conditioning unit only a few feet away from their seating area. Filled with herbs and succulents, “it helps buffer the noise too,” Rick touted. I replied, “I wrote about vertical gardening a while back and I’m sure, dear brother, you know it’s best not to grow edibles in pallets.” Uh oh, Rick didn’t recall the column, so I sent him a link to the previous column. Pallets are often treated with toxic chemicals to prevent the transport of invasive insects and plant diseases as required by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC); though companies are starting to use heat treatment rather than chemicals which overcomes some part of the worry to reuse them. Pallets require an IPPC logo, with initials if heat-treated (HT) or fumigated with Methyl Bromide (MB) and includes the initials of the country where made.
After our gourmet meal, I couldn’t wait to see their outdoor living space behind their condo which is cute as a button and functional too. I congratulated his ingenuity as he described how he pieced the pallets together in such a way that no posts were needed, which allows for a section to be removed should the AC need to be serviced. In addition, he left a six-inch gap at ground level to allow airflow. Leave it to an engineer to think of such things. His clever pallet screening is stained grey to match their wooden table and is adorned with comical face sculptures hidden behind an assortment of succulents and herbs. “Impressive my brother! A perfect way to solve the in-your-face AC dilemma.”
There was a spare pallet leaning near the grill with no logo indicating MB (nasty chemicals) or HT (heat-treated). But even if heat-treated, my brother, it’s best not to grow edibles in pallets because no one knows if something toxic spilled on it, where it was warehoused, or how it was transported. You know, like Mom used to drill into us – “Don’t put that in your mouth – you never know where it’s been.” Garden dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com