Thursday, June 09, 2011

Question to the gardening blogosphere.



I am in the process of designing a new vegetable garden for the upcoming season this fall. My plan is to build several wood raised beds. I am conflicted with what kind of wood to use; the least expensive and longer-lasting solution is regular pressure-treated wood.
I read several articles on the Internet that caution not to use this type of wood for fear that the chemicals used to treat it would contaminate the plants. There are others experts that see no problem with pressure-treated wood.
Whom to believe??? If you have an opinion, please let me know.

I could also use cement blocks for the border but the heat of South Florida might cook the plants.

11 comments:

sherryocala said...

Rusty! How funny that I just posted minutes ago on my blog about growing veggies. A first for me. How about cedar boards? We made our fence out of cedar and a lot of the fence is now deep into the compost three or four years later. The boards are fine. I stained them with an oil-based stain which may be adding to their natural durability.

Creations and Inspirations said...

I used Redwood on my raised bed but it is defiantly not the most affordable but I believe it will last the longest I got mine untreated but for cost I would do Cedar...I would avoid Railroad ties or anything like that they have been heavily treated to not rot. Cute blog! I just found you and see we have a lot in common you should check out my blog and Follow me if you like

I always Follow back :)

FlowerLady said...

It will be interesting to see what you do Rusty. I'm thinking of growing veggies too this coming fall.

FlowerLady

Darla said...

Geez, no expert here....I am interested in the most cost efficient way to make raised beds though. Keep us informed.

NanaK said...

I think it would be better to avoid the pressure treated wood if possible. Although I have no real facts to back that opinion. It just seems sensible. Good luck with the veggies. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

ChrisC said...

I bought the plastic ones from Lowe's.About $44 for a 4 x 4 bed.Very easy to snap together.It takes about 15 minutes to put one together,and they can be stacked,and easily moved,if you aren't happy with where you put them.

David said...

Rusty,
I would NOT use pressure treated wood. It contains a naturally occuring creosote from desert plants here in Texas. It could also contain other types of chemicals that could leach into your soil. Untreated landscape timbers can last up to 10-15 years. I have some STILL around my compost pile that I'm trying to make rot and they won't. You could also use cinder blocks or cedar or redwood. These can cost twice as much as landscape timbers. Old railroad ties were all the rage for awhile, but again they contained creosote and tar. I would not use them even if they were free. David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston :-)

Elephant's Eye said...

Someone, sorry I forgot who, blogged that raised beds were intended to warm the soil early for northern gardeners. She dug down, and used boards to hold her lasagne bed. Ending with the soil level with the rest of the garden.

Andrea said...

Hi Rusty,

I have read much about pressure treated wood for raised vegetable beds. The basics is that the federal government regulates the amount of harmful chemicals used. The companies must abide by this or they are slapped with a huge fine and a huge lawsuit.

The reality is that yes, there is evidence very small amounts leech into the soil. But it is so minimal and the chemicals have only been found in the soil touching the wood.

Also, there is no evidence that suggests the vegetable or fruit is affected or harmful to humans. In fact, what we breath and what is in the air is more harmful than anything.

That being said, I decided to use untreated wood for my garden. It was cheaper and it will take a long while before the wood will rot anyway. So, my advice is that if it bothers you at all, just go with untreated.

Rusty in Miami said...

Thank you for all the advice, I am thinking to go with the untreated wood. Andrea makes a good point; it is in the back of my mind that it could be harmful, so why use it

Lisa Stamper Meyer said...

Rusty, We had the same concerns here in Texas. We used untreated pine. Much cheaper than cedar or redwood. It will eventually rot, but we've had it in the garden now for 8 years and it hasn't begun to break down. You can get it at the big home improvement stores but you may have to ask them to order it.