I want to make some raised beds for gardening. I'm going to use pipe
supports, which I have a lot of. I want to make 4' x 12' x 12" deep or so
beds. What would be a good lumber for this? I want something that is going
to last for a while, although I know nothing lasts forever.
"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere
critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly,
If you have a local lumber mill, go for locust. It's a tough wood that's
been used many years for fence posts and has a proven track record. I had my
boards cut to 8-inch width. My beds are deep enough to grow very good and
long root crops (carrots and parsnips) in those beds. There are a couple of
boards that have warped a llittle, but it's only cosmetic. I've had my beds
in place for five years now and they look good. Life expectancy for the
locust boards is probably 25 or 30 years. . . I hope I live to see them rot.
I made some raised garden beds with green-treated lumber a few years ago
(the new green stuff, not the good old arsenic kind.) I had read that
you have to use hot-dipped galvanized nails, or the salts in the wood
would rust the nails completely in two in a short time. I used 16d
bright common nails, not galvanized at all. I knocked one of the beds
apart this spring, and the nails were rusty but still strong and
holding. Maybe the problem is just with flash-galvanized nails?
If you want a wood that's just naturally decay resistant, cypress is
about the best there is -- assuming you can find cypress lumber.
Galvanized or stainless requirement is for homebuilding. IE: generally in
the framing portion where treated lumber is used. One example that comes to
mind is the sole plate that is usually treated lumber. Over a period of
many years, a hand driven concrete nail may rust through. The bottom of the
framing is loose in the wind as a result so to speak. Stainless "shot"
nails, and ceramic screws don't have this problem. This is typically used.
Oddly, its common to see the nails holding the studs to the sole plate are
the same old ones. Another method used to hold the sole plate is dropping
all-thread into the concrete when its smoothed out at time of pour.
Typically, was 3/8" diameter, now, requirement is 1/2" diameter with newer
treated lumber. A hole is drilled into the sole plate to accomodate the
all-thread, nut and washer secure.
I forget whats its called out I changed mine out to the plastic wood stuff
Lowes sells. They will last forever and they look good. Its not cheap put my
other ones rotted away. They use the stuff for decks and you see it on boat
I found using treated lumber works well it use use the trea cotta clay
inserts so the dirts does not come into contact with the wood. You
can also look at composite lumber as well. This stuff does not rot
but will color fade a little. Good luck with your boxes.
Yeah, rough cut cypress that's the ticket.
To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the
men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what
evil men count upon the good men's doing.
- The Outlook
December 21, 1895
I made mine out of used roofing galvanized iron supported by a treated
wood frame held together with stainless steel screws. Expensive, but the
iron was free and I have yet to see any proof that there is signifigant
leaching from the wood. These beds are about 18" deep so I could plant
citrus and asparagus in them. The supports are buried in the ground and
the sides are wired together on top to keep them from spreading, as they
are 2 yards wide. You can sit on the edges and work without squatting, a
consideration for us older folk.
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