What kind of wood to use for raised bed garden

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jmeeter, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. jmeeter

    jmeeter Well-Known Member

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    What kind of wood do I want to pick up from Home Depot / Lowe's for a raised bed garden? Do I want something that will rot and break down naturally (untreated) or do I want pressure treated wood?
     
  2. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've done some research on the brand "yellawood", and it advertised being safe for garden beds.Pressure treated. You'll get a lot of different opinions, but thats how I'm going.
     

  3. peacebaker

    peacebaker Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't use treated for food space, but that's my preference.

    I used cheap plain pine 2 x 4s, and they have lasted several years--I finally had to replace a few the third year, but most are still fine. I found some used 2 x 12s and 2 x 8s and they have lasted much longer...so I will go with bigger boards as I replace them over the years (figuring the larger mass took longer to break down, but it could just be that older construction lumber was a lot better, lol).
     
  4. vegascowgirl

    vegascowgirl Try Me

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    I use treated landscape timbers. It just falls down to what you want to use.
     
  5. whinnyninny

    whinnyninny Crazy about horses

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    The SFG book says you can use 2x4 or 2x6 or 2x8 pieces of wood, and treat them with linseed oil. I bought cedar (pricey) and hope it lasts!
     
  6. PoorLiLRichGirl

    PoorLiLRichGirl Well-Known Member

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    We skipped the boards and used landscaping bricks. The cost wasn't much different (it was on sale) and we butted it against our privacy fence on one side so we didn't need as many bricks. 4 years and counting :)

    Our resident master gardener swears by pine 2x12's though. They do rot in time, but for what they cost you can replace them easily while the rotting timber is beneficial in the garden.
    The 12 inch board brings the garden up higher and saves on the back too.
     
  7. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I used untreated 2 by 12's they were used from the factory farm chicken houses payed $3 each I made 12 4 by 10 foot raised beds they are growing greens now under plastic or atleast 10 are I ran out of plastic.
     
  8. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I splurged for cedar- 1"x8" is all they had-and after 2&1/2 years they're fine while the 2x4 pine uprights I framed them with are rotting off at the top of the cedar.
     
  9. whinnyninny

    whinnyninny Crazy about horses

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    Thanks! That's what I used too, the 1"x8".
     
  10. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm using 2"x8"x16'--yellawood, treated, supposed to be for gardens, is $12.06
    Same size, cedar is $49.00
     
  11. Tricky Grama

    Tricky Grama Well-Known Member

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    Haven't done raised beds but read that cement blocks are about the best.

    Patty
     
  12. whinnyninny

    whinnyninny Crazy about horses

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    Patty, I wanted to do that and plant dwarf marigolds or nasturtiums or some other small flower in the holes all around the edges, but DH didn't like the idea of using cinder blocks.
     
  13. used2bcool13

    used2bcool13 Piney Girl Supporter

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    I used scavenged border bricks but love the small space and neat look of the boards. Mine doesn't look the tidiest.
     
  14. WillowC

    WillowC Member

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    We use 1 x 8 x 8 cedar and it lasts for years whereas other types of wood only lasts 2-3 years in our rainy climate. The cost differential for cedar is about 1-1/2 times more initially however in the long term, using cedar is the better choice financially wise for us.

    Willow
     
  15. peacebaker

    peacebaker Well-Known Member

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    Yowza! That's pricey for cedar. I picked up 2x6x8 pine for under 3 bucks each at menards this week. Untreated. I can see if you lived somewhere extra damp you might go with a cedar or non-wood product though!

    I used to just have mounded raised beds--you don't even need an edge really. But, I do think they look neater and you can plant right up to the edge and not worry about erosion.
     
  16. firegirl969

    firegirl969 Well-Known Member

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    You can also ask for wood that is not suitable for retail sale, such as a small split, or something and get it for 50% off. I did that at Lowes. I did make raised beds out of old tractor tires (work great) and used concrete blocks. Both work great and are free!
     
  17. MoonRiver

    MoonRiver SM Entrepreneuraholic Supporter

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    I cut down about 20 trees and have more wood than I need, so I am cutting a couple of trees into 3" lengths. Then I'm going to put some landscaping fabric down and place the 3' tree pieces in a circle with a 4'-5' diameter. If necessary, I will tie a rope around them to keep them in place.

    I'm going to create several of these and grow flowers in them. I already have plenty of 4' beds made with pine 1x8's for vegetables.
     
  18. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Bought some 1"x6"x6' fence board from Lowes over the weekend for $~1.70/ea. The boards are treated with ACQ, alkaline copper quat which is been deemed to be a 'safe' preservative by the EPA:

    http://www.thunderboltwoodtreating.com/treatments/18-treatments/58-acq-alkaline-copper-quat

    The 6' length kind of thru me as I wanted to build 4x8 beds. No biggie, I build 6x6 beds instead...couldn't beat the price of ~$7.50/ bed with tax. I cut some scrap 2x2 to use as corner braces and used galv screws to put the beds together. Took less than 90 minutes to put together 7 beds which is around 15 minutes / bed to build. Not bad. Have to wait to see how they hold up.
     
  19. casusbelli

    casusbelli Well-Known Member

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    IMHO, don't use pressure-treated.
    I think best wood is Western Red Cedar - same species used for shake shingles. Rot resistant, yet relatively light in weight, so construction won't kill you. Chain stores (here in the East, at least) don't carry. So check with mom & pop lumber yards.
     
  20. botebum

    botebum Up the Creek

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    We use cypress around here because I can get slab cutoffs for free from a local sawyer. In NY I'd be looking for a comparable deal in cedar.

    Doug