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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    226

    Default Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    I hope someone can point me in a good direction here.

    First I purchased Railroad ties (6) of them for a border around my fruit trees. (A week ago)

    In the past week I posted on "Craigslist" free grass (Zoysia) and all they had to do was help me dig it up. This was so I could plant all sorts of great Bee plants! I had a guy reply and we spent the past few days working in the yard. He pointed out that the Railroad ties have creosote and probably other nasty stuff. So I did some research and his comment is true however weathered railroad ties more than likely have already leached it out but of course there is probably some nasty stuff still in them.

    So I thought, what about Cinder Blocks. However not real happy with how they would look but are a great option otherwise.

    I also looked into wood, sure there is Premium wood (cedar etc..) but for the size I want to do I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of cash. SO I looked into pressure treated wood as it should last much longer than wood not treated (And usually only lasts a season or 2 depending and I don't feel like rebuilding every few years). Problem is, pressure treated wood is full of copper that may have issues with gardening.

    I feel stuck. I want something nice but in a medium budget range.

    My other thought is, I'm not eating some of this stuff so maybe railroad ties would be ok, but if it's bad for me it probably is bad for the bees (Honey) but on the other-hand growing tomatoes and a few things would be nice so...

    I have to raise the garden as I have a PUNK tortoise that I love and hope he never leaves but he chomps down on my plants so...

    I'm up in the air at the moment.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    Stop over-analysing. If you use wood, you have to have some kind of preservative, creosote is better than most of the others.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    The pressure treated wood they sell these days is absolute garbage... I put out some raised beds for some side food crops out of the main garden bed and the dag blasted things rotted out in 2 years... Above ground.. Well.. Except the inside.

    And it was rated for burial.

    Railroad ties will be fine. It's the same stuff in them as in telephone poles, though more of it. Unless you're chewing on it, it's all good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    I did check my RR Ties I already have, some have already leached long before I got them while others still have spots of leaching but not much. I might see if I can find some that have completely leached out. I looked at 2 x 4 x 8 cedar boards, $8.00 each. If you do 4 sides 2 high it's not that much more ($3 or $4 more depending) than buying a RR tie for $13.00 ish.

    Has anyone worked with Cedar and how did it hold up?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,030

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    Get pressure treated. Arsenic hasn't been used in it for decades.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    264

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    Only issue I've had with Railroad ties is black ants getting into them and causing problems.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Casper, Wyoming
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    If you are not opposed to plastic line the inside and bottom with black plastic will keep stuff from leaching so much.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    580

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    Don't they sell landscape rock or edging at the local lawn and garden stores in Fl? Cedar is natural and has it own built in rot protection. Most lawn and garden places offer some plastic edging also. Brick works great too.

    The problem with wood is that eventually it will rot and you will have issues with ants and other beetles. Rock or brick is a permanent solution.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Shediac, NB, Canada
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Garden border for a raised garden. (Chemicals in wood)

    I'd check with local lumber mills to see what they have available. They may have local varieties that aren't commercially valuable but do have rot resistance.
    Up here, I use rough cut larch (2 x 6) to make my raised beds & 6 x 6 for posts/arbors, etc. Larch isn't as good as cedar for rot resistance, but is cheap (12' 2x6 is less than $6) & will last a long time (at least 10 years for a raised bed).
    I stay away from pressure treated wood for anything close to plants as a majority of the chemicals will leach into the ground very quickly.

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