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On Tuesday, Erin called our attention to the beauty of the color-stained garden bed in Trend Alert: Stained Raised Beds. Above: Boddeker suggested using a Timber Pro Coatings stain following application of the Internal Wood Stabilizer if you want a colored finish. She noted that untreated lumber is still the gold standard for building raised garden beds, both for environmental and edible garden health.
We were reminded that naturally water-resistant wood like redwood or cedar may not need to be treated at all, though these wood species still will benefit from added protection. I spoke with co-owner Nina Boddeker, who suggested using a nontoxic product intended to make wood more water resistant: Internal Wood Stabilizer from the Portland, Oregon company Timber Pro Coating.
Entirely nontoxic and manufactured in Canada, LifeTime requires one application and no maintenance.

The stains are low-VOC, non-flammable, and are made from plant-based oils mixed with a small amount of acrylic for increased durability. Boddeker reports that the Belgian product is true to its name—it really requires only one coat in all applications, and it has a beautiful matte finish. But we love color, and we love the idea of protecting the wood in your garden beds so it lasts as long as possible. Second, we learned that the quality of wood treatment products varies widely; we use only stains and treatments vetted by people we trust.
The stabilizer is a clear liquid that penetrates deep into wood and hardens, but is invisible from the surface. LifeTime isn't ideal for adding color, however: on initial application, wood will become gray-brown depending on type and character, and over time, treated wood will take on the silvery appearance of untreated aged wood.

It's free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is specifically designed for use in sensitive outdoor environments such as edible gardens, animal shelters, and locations near water sources. Goat milk paint was also a recommendation of our friends at Star Apple Edible Gardens.

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