Railroad ties for raised beds?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by JRuthe, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. JRuthe

    JRuthe Member

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    Can I use old railroad ties for raised beds without any ill effects? My husband bought a semi-truck load for a landscaping project he was working on and has some left.

    Does anybody know the pros or cons of using them for veggies & fruits?
     
  2. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    I read somewhere that they should not be used for gardens unless they wrapped and completely sealed with plastic.
     

  3. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

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    Railroad ties are made with Creosote, this can kill plants as it leaches ut of the wood. shadowwalker
     
  4. Ray_Scheel

    Ray_Scheel Well-Known Member

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    Let me put it this way: RR companies essentially give used RR ties to the wholesalers because distributing them to the consumers beats paying the hazardour materials disposal fees that RR ties require if they are to be disposed of in quantity. Do you really want to grow food crops next to a decomposing something classified as hazardous waste?
     
  5. JRuthe

    JRuthe Member

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    Thanks for all your input. I guess I'll be using them for the raised flower and perennial beds and wait for a more appropriate material for the veggie beds.
     
  6. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

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    Ugh. Sounds like I need to replace some railroad ties! Glad I read this post!
     
  7. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    We removed all the ones we were using for toxic reasons as posted by others here. For some reason the fire ants here seemed to love them. We are using cinder blocks now because wood here attracts termites and other critters.
    We have a constant war with fire ants and termites. I don't use chemicals as I have too many yard pets: birds, lizards and beneficial bugs.
     
  8. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Creosote doesn't just kill plants...it kills people too.
     
  9. Christine in OK

    Christine in OK Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have old utility poles around our two large "raised" beds(read that - raised on one end and ground-level on the other due to slope). We were just discussing the fact that we need to remove them, I heard that they use arsenic or something in them. We are going to use some rocks that we have lying around for now, and I'll probably start hunting for what I want to use as a more permanent replacement for them.

    No point in gardening and avoiding chemicals if your bed "frame" is made of poison!