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Raised Garden Beds


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#1 Fauschanator OFFLINE  

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Posted May 21, 2012 - 02:48 PM

Anyone know any good articles about using pressure treated wood in garden beds?

Was thinking about using 4x6 cedar tone treated wood. Are they supposed to be safe?

#2 Kurtee OFFLINE  

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Posted May 21, 2012 - 03:06 PM

I would not use treated wood in that application. Here is a link for you.

http://www.mass.gov/...dqa.htm#fifteen




http://findarticles....2/ai_107201207/

Edited by Kurtee, May 21, 2012 - 03:11 PM.


#3 dstaggs OFFLINE  

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Posted May 21, 2012 - 04:47 PM

Have used old crossties for years!!!!!!! In the prossces of building 2 4/18 beds today.

#4 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 21, 2012 - 05:20 PM

I would use cedar for long life or pine if you don't have cedar available. Do a search for "Square Foot Gardening" if you really want to see raised beds taken to a new level. It's a good way to garden if you have limited space and no machinery is required.

#5 Fauschanator OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2012 - 08:04 AM

Thanks, I'll probably go with some untrated Cedar or something.

#6 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2012 - 09:12 AM

Boy is this a good way to start a fight!! :mecry: Actually there are a lot of opinions on this subject. None necessarily wrong by the way!
And at one time there was a very good reason to not use treated woods, since they used arsenic in the treatment.
EPA, got involved and the chemicals used have changed so it is not near as dangerous in food production as it once was.
Can the chemicals leach out and contaminate the soil? Yes,No,Maybe! I Have row crop farmers on two sides of me, and have come to accept that I can never go totally organic on my place due to wind drift and water runoff.
And there are a lot of people using Treated lumber in raised beds,my dad's tomato patch for example.
With no obvious effects, other than the fact that's he's becoming a grumpy old man. At 83 and having raised 7 children he's earned that right?
With that said, I agree that there are rot resistant, natural woods that would be better. The availability and pricing can be regional. Try to find Red Wood at a reasonable price in the midwest( I love the stuff but it takes a ton of gold to buy it). Cedar is more universally available around the country, and I particularly like to use and work Western Red Cedar. If one were in the South and South East, I would be partial to Cypress.
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#7 MH81 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2012 - 11:28 AM

Locust posts last a very long time. May be an option in some places of the country.

#8 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2012 - 12:08 PM

Locust posts last a very long time. May be an option in some places of the country.


They Sure are(Never thought of that) and should be very available in Minnesota. Another good choice is Osage Orange(many local names for same species) We call it Hedge in Iowa and many call it Iron Wood.
Either will last 30 yrs + buried in the ground.
Pioneers planted both all over the midwest as they traveled through and Homsteaded. As it makes very durable Fencing.
And those wicked thorns( biggest drawback) kept stock in and varmints out.
I once worked for a farmer, while layed off at the factory, cutting Black Loocust out of a pasture, they took off like a Noxious Weed and saplings were everywhere.

Edited by JD DANNELS, May 22, 2012 - 12:09 PM.


#9 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2012 - 06:49 PM

I went through this very thing a few years ago. I looked for some study on treated lumber and couldn't really find any scientific study that proved it was not good for crops. Using standard reasoning, it would tell you not to use, but I have not found proof either for or against.

When I built my raised beds I used treated lumber.

#10 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted May 23, 2012 - 09:53 AM

Hey Chuck: knowing that you and I share the hobby of Woodworking, if you have not tried using Western Red Cedar.
You might want to give it a try. I've made some beautiful picture frames from relatively cheap 5/4 Decking planks.

#11 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted May 23, 2012 - 10:37 AM

I built my rasised bed year or so ago with old 2 x 6 x12' treated lumber that the neighbor was throwing out because it was weathered after 20+ years on his deck . I figured that after that amount of time it wouldn't bleed anything out and the best part it was FREE!! So maybe that's a way to go for you , Al

#12 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 23, 2012 - 02:42 PM

I am trying a raised bed approach to potatoes this year. I knew one reason not to use treated lumber was that they did in fact use arsenic and other health hazards. I had some treated 2x8 though, that came off a wheelchair ramp and was purchased only 2 years ago, so I decided to use it. I figured that the worst of the chemicals were gone due to exposure, and besides that, the wood was free. I'm not sure I'll do it again next year, we'll see how the potatoes turn out.

#13 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted May 24, 2012 - 06:56 AM

Aged wood (more than 5 years) is generally okay to use, since the various chemicals have already dissipated. So are the new pressure-treated, as they don't leach. I like old fence posts instead of landscape ties because I generally have some around and they are free. Old railway ties are a no-no for food crops as they leach creosote forever, but we use them for flower beds.

To keep the lumber for the beds in place, simply drill holes in the wood every 3 feet or so and pound a short piece of rebar through the hole into the ground.
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#14 Fauschanator OFFLINE  

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Posted May 24, 2012 - 08:40 AM

Thanks for the advice. I have some untreated boards I'll start with they will probably rot out after the first year so I will switch probably next year.




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