27 Aug. 2009|
Raised garden bed wood,build a outdoor wood bench,daybed plans ana white - Try Out
Raised garden beds have become very popular in home and commercial gardens as gardeners learn of their many advantages. Most raised beds available today are made of cedar, recycled plastic or a composite material using wood flour and polypropylene.
Garden beds and planters have been traditionally made using one of several varieties of cedar.
When treating cedar with a preservative such as Eco Wood Treatment, treat the wood on both sides and all edges with a liberal application.
HDPE (High-density polyethylene) plastic is the type used for most recycled plastic raised beds. It’s best to leave the cedar fence boards unstained and untreated when used for compost bins or raised garden beds. We used to sell vinyl raised beds until we learned the environmental implications of vinyl.
Cedar is commonly used for fencing, although other lesser quality woods are sometimes used. Even with these signs of decay, the boards may still give you years of use when put together for raised beds if they are cedar. So a couple of weeks ago I hauled the boys to Home Depot determined to get the supplies I needed to build my own cedar raised garden bed. A little quick improvising and in less than an hour I had made my own raised bed, albeit a little smaller than I originally planned! When I had it all built I removed the weeds underneath and turned the dirt over as deep as I could (this area of the yard has a lot of clay and not so great dirt due to the construction of the house last year as you can see from the not so pretty grass around the garden…the dirt is super hard!) Then I filled it with six 40 lb bags of 99 cent topsoil and 2 large bags of miracle grow garden soil. You could choose to remove 1-2 feet of dirt below the raised garden or add a 3 or 4th layer of the cedar to the sides then place logs or branches on the bottom then topsoil.
Although you can fashion a raised bed out of other materials such as heavy timbers, landscape blocks or water-filled plastic, commercially available raised beds usually stick to tried and true materials, and designs which are easy for a gardener to assemble. Cedar is a premium wood characterised by its natural resistance to rot and its ability to hold up well to the extremes of weather.
Many gardeners consider the aesthetic appeal of their gardens to be as valuable as the harvested crops. Woodworkers enjoy working with cedar because it is stable, once dry, and does not split readily at the ends.
At the end of its lifespan, a cedar bed can be left in a low spot of your yard to slowly melt into the earth. Once the bed is filled with soil it is too late to apply this treatment, since rot in cedar beds commonly begins on the inside of the boards, where the wood is in contact with the moist soil.
This is an extremely durable and non-leaching plastic, commonly recycled from milk jugs, which is used not only for raised beds but for outdoor fixtures such as picnic tables, park benches, boardwalks, municipal waste bins and similar applications which must be durable, long-lasting and able to withstand the extremes of winter freezing and summer hot spells. The appearance of recycled plastic garden beds remains consistent even after years of exposure to weather. Recycled plastic garden beds can be cleaned easily by washing the surface with a wet sponge or power washer. Should the time come to dispose of your recycled plastic beds, after decades of use, the material is still 100% recyclable. When the package arrives at your door, have a few dollars on hand to tip the deliveryman and have a friend or two ready to help you move it to the garden. So recycled plastic beds need some form of cross-bracing to stiffen the sides and prevent them from bowing outwards.
Composite timbers have a wood grain imprint, and at a casual glance give the appearance of solid wood. You need to be careful with the wheelbarrow and shovel because these beds will mark, or even crack, if hit hard enough by a heavy tool.
As a raised bed is taller and longer, the increased weight puts pressure on the sides and can bow them outwards. They have been developed for gardening and are stable from any leaching to the garden beds. Putting a liner beneath is not recommended, as you want the plant roots to access the subsoil, where they will find trace minerals, garden amendments which have migrated downwards, and drainage.
Any wood piled flat and exposed to rain will develop the white mold you describe, as well as the dark patches which are usually the onset of rot.
Definitely inspires me to get this house unpacked from moving so I can get outside and work on some gardening projects. We’ve used them all in our own gardens, and have years of track records to help you decide on the ideal bed for your garden. Available in a variety of species, such as Western Red Cedar, Atlantic White Cedar, Yellow Cedar, Port Orford Cedar and Juniper, cedar is the wood of choice for patio decking, fencing, outdoor furniture and many styles of garden raised beds. Or the usable parts of the wood can be split into smaller pieces and used for garden stakes and trellises.
It is difficult to predict how long a cedar raised bed will last since there are variables such as the type of cedar used, the soil conditions in your garden, and the weather patterns of different regions. Because HDPE is a stable material it does not leach any chemicals, toxic or otherwise, into the soil within the garden bed.
And because the color is added before the molten plastic is poured into its mold, the color runs through the boards, so if you should scratch the sides of the beds it hardly shows because the color is the same.
This may not be necessary for most gardeners, but since recycled beds are available in different color choices, some colors (especially white or grey) may lend themselves to cleaning at the end of each gardening season.
A common solution is the use of aluminum “flat-stock”, which is just a straight bar of aluminum drilled on each end and secured to either side of the bed. The raw material is costly to manufacturers of raised beds, and this cost is reflected in the price. They are designed to be used with flanged corner joints which can be stacked to make the bed any height in increments of 5.5”. Take special care when using the weedeater, or the plastic whip may scuff the bottom edges of the composite bed. Wood is a natural material, and lends itself perfectly for garden beds which complement the natural beauty of the plantings.
The outside of the beds can be treated with an exterior finish such as Tung Oil Finish, which will brighten and preserve the original cedar color. Recycled plastics can also be considered an investment since they improve the perceived value of your property, so cleaning the beds can be of benefit especially if you plan to resell your home in the years ahead. Some gardeners use this only on the inside of the beds, since beds deteriorate from the inside. If you wish to apply such a finish, it is recommended to do this before the beds are assembled and crops are planted.
In the rainy Pacific Northwest, the wood may retain moisture for longer periods which eventually creates the conditions for rot and deterioration. However, it is easy to calculate the long-term savings with recycled beds, since they do not need to be replaced.
But in a commercial garden or garden center, the recycled beds make a lot of sense because they hold up to heavy use, occasional abuse and still look like new after a quick wash. Or you can ask a friend who knows wood identification, or take a sample to a building supply and they will know. However, there are inexpensive and non-toxic wood stabilizers such as Eco Wood Treatment which are effective at creating a moisture barrier and thus preserving the wood and increasing its lifespan. And creative gardeners will appreciate the myriad design styles available with the composite bed system.
However, stains are available with these treatments which can impart different shades of color to the wood.