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Building a raised vegetable garden with 2x12s...
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You are currently reading a thread in /diy/ - Do It yourself

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Building a raised vegetable garden with 2x12s can I used treated wood or will that put chemicals in my plants?
Older/reclaimed ones, absolutely will. newer ones, some but almost certainly nontoxic amounts. my suggestion/plan is use untreated wood (if budget allows track down crappy cedar at lumberyards, resaw, and use to line structural pine). Or you can line with PE plastic (cheap source is dollar store painter's tarp).
the key is trying to minimize the moisture sitting against the wood. Pine will probably last about 2 years without needing to be replaced, cedar 5-10, even without any other steps.

charring the surface of the wood will also help prevent rotting.
Avoid treated wood if possible but it won't be a deal breaker. Go to your local junk yard and ask if they have scrap lumber, might be able to find enough to build your beds for half the cost of using quality lumber. After all you're just going to pile it with dirt and shit and water, no need to get premium locust from a lumber supplier.
Hey that's some good info thanks!
What's the point of raised?
Always wondered.
Better drainage, ease of accessibility, more controlled environment from predators like gophers and rabbits. Plus its less likely to come in contact with contaminated flood water. And you can grow invasive plants like mint with out fucking your whole yard over.
Taised beds have numerous benefits.

They thaw faster in the spring allowing earlier planting.

Drain better. Many soils dont drain or are just shit for growing. Using raised beds lets you make your own soil that is perfect for growing.

The biggest benefit in my opinion is how nice and loose the soil stays since you've cordoned off a plot to grow in and you dont need to trample on it to get to your plants.

My beds are all 4' wide and have paths between them around 2-4' depending on whats growing in them. My lettuce beds are spaced 2' apart while beds with bushy crops like maters and bush beans are all 4' apart.
Thanks. Makes sense.
>ease of access
>loose controlled soil

Might try it this spring
If you ask me it also looks cleaner. Will pretty up the yard if done properly and maintained.
Air. You dont need to till the earth. Just pour compost into box. Also weeding is easier. Also avoids soil compaction
Also make sure you mulch. at least 3" of it. It helps lock in the moisture,

I used wood chips from a tree service company. But you need to let it age at least a year. So all the rows between my beds are covered in wood chips which get tossed onto the beds in spring to get back to the 4". The fresh wood chips I get are then put between the beds to age so they don't rob nitrogen from the bed during that first year.
Get a plastic pipe like for plumbing and drill holes in the side on one end. A bunch all around. Drive that end in the dirt leaving the top half out. Put red wriggler worms in there and then toss scraps from the kitchen in there.

Not bread of meat just vegetables fruits and stuff. Worms live in the bed keeping the soil loose and eat the stuff in the pipe. They then shed their skins throughout the bed fertilizing everything easily and constantly.
Maybe because im really tired, but Im gonna need a diagram because I have no idea what thats supposed to look like.
try topping your raised bed with a wood pallet. it an give you an even space to grow your plants, OR look up hay bale gardening, by the end of growing seaso, the haybale rots into the soil below, giving it added nutrients.
worms eat bacteria, not the food. what you are getting is aerobic decomposition then worms eating the bacteria then shitting it all through your garden.
Please see this thread: >>>/out/661534

The best material for raised beds is stone. You never need to worry about man-made chemicals, you normally have a wide place to sit on if you want, and it looks better in most cases. You also don't need a boarder for raised beds if you are unable to get a boarder. When in doubt, don't use. I personally never use treated lumber near my food crops

NEVER use scrap lumber from sources you don't know 100% where it came from. There are more types of wood treatments for non-residential use that are actually highly toxic to animals and plants and will leach out into the soil and be taken up by the crops

-Better drainage and soil air flow.
-No need for tilling since it never gets compacted. Just planting and digging up crops is tilling enough
-Due to the lack of tilling, mycorrhizal symbiosis is enhanced, increasing water and nutrient uptake, resulting in higher yields, better drought, cold, pest, disease, heat tolerances, and soil toxicity
-Soil temps are higher at the beginning and ending of the seasons to extend the season a bit
-You can more easily use polytunnel systems to have year-round gardening
-You can more easily cover with cloth or netting to prevent frost or certain pests from harming crops
-Permanent watering systems are easier to install and maintain
-Reaching things is much easier, especially if your raised bed has a wide wall you can sit on
-You always have well established walkways for you and your tools/wheelbarrow
-It creates a buffer zone for weed seeds and many crawling pests
-Less need for weeding and when you do need to weed it is super easy to reach and pull out of loose soil
-Easier to apply intensive gardening techniques for much higher yields
-Complete control over soil composition
-Landlords normally allow it, because it does not destroy the hardpan of the yard and can be easily moved/removed
-You can more easily employ a wide range of permaculture techniques
>wood pallet

Never use pallets. They do not have the same regulations for use and chemical treatment as wood used in homes or for residential use. Even pallets that have the heat-treatment stamp may have been used by a 3rd party company and sprayed with an assortment of pesticides/fungicides. International pallets may also be subjected to illegal spraying. No need on taking the chance.


Also, before anyone recommends them, don't use vehicle tires. The rubber leaches a wide assortment of chemicals/heavy metals.

for a more perpanant raised garden considder building it with brick. you can make your own bricks from 1 part portland cement and 4 parts sand. cheaper than replacing rotten wood even once cost me about a dime a brick
OP, as has mostly been said, new PT isn't that bad. I wouldn't sweat it. And plastics are probably just as bad (being not too bad) as PT.

Aesthetics are important, so decide what looks nice.

If you can afford locust, or cedar, they last a long time.

Obv stone type stuff lasts well.

If you have access to different materials, there are lots of options. You can get big tiles and line the wood, for example.

As above suggested, hay bale gardening works super well. I suggest you look into that, especially if you can get cheap/free mulch bales.
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relevant pic i saved recently

thinking of making some raised beds this year
cheap painters tarp degrades over time, yup falls apart like wet news paper! I think its made to do that.. to keep it from killing whales and shit when its dumped in the ocean. tried this with an experimental raised garden.

live somewhere where the ground is nothing but sand. you will understand.

this or you can get a couple of bags of cement.. like. 30 depending on the size. and buy some plywood, make forms with the plywood and pour the cement into the forms. I would advise away from wood unless you understand its gonna only last for like 3 years max before the rot gets too bad. and cement walls don't actually have to be very think like 5 inches is good for upward of 32" of dirt.

my other bit of advice if you are even still reading. just buy/find large plastic containers and start there.. why jump into a big project if you just wanna grow some veggies and herbs.

PS: Grow green onions in containers.. and have onions year round.
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2x4 8 foot sides and 3 foot ends used the cut offs for corner reinforcing. would also add on midway along the sides. line sides with the better landscape fabric to keep soil from washing out.
Dont make beds this deep. Most garden veggies are just fine and happy with 6" of fine soil with 3"of mulch cover. Any higher and the compost you use to fill it is going to waste. Only go this high if you want that aesthetic
I'm not getting on my knees for a few carrots. If I was thinking, I'd have made them 4 feet deep
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This is incorrect. With proper soil typical garden plant roots can go as deep as 4 feet into the ground on average. Some go twice that. The transition between the raised bed soil and the hardpan of the yard is normally enough to stop most root growth into the level of the yard. At which point they start growing sideways. This can lead to root competition.

Some of this can be combated by tilling the hardpan under the raised bed and incorporating some of the raised bed soil into it. Essentially, this problem also occurs in normal tilled land. The tilled section meets the hardpan and the roots generally stop there and go laterally. This is why industrial methods include very deep tilling methods.

I have all my raised bed 2 cinder blocks high and topped with bricks. It is a great place to sit and work.
so why exactly is it better when its rised above the ground?
been asked & answered
>what are feeder roots
yes, tap roots can go very deep. but below about a foot or two the ground becomes too anaerobic for aerobic nitrifying bacteria et al. feeder roots only go about 20cm deep.
If you haven't bought the wood yet, consider using cinderblocks. Just lay them dry, 2 courses, with a half block offset between courses.

Vermin and rot proof, last forever, allows for drainage and some air circulation, relatively easy to adjust bed size.

Downside- initial install takes longer, and probably a bunch of other things I haven't thought about.
painters dropcloth absolutely will with uv exposure. are you saying it does the same when buried? bummer.
Some excellent points anon, I can add a couple of things from my short experience with raised beds:

>Soil temps are higher at the beginning and ending of the seasons to extend the season a bit

Mostly a good thing, though the sun-facing end of the bed can get very hot and hurt plants that need cool roots like climbing beans (this is how mine died off) so putting plants like those at the back and plants that love warm roots like tomatoes, peppers etc at the front is a good way to increase yields.

One of the few downsides about raised be gardening is that unless you have clean fill lying around, you'll probably have to buy soil to fill the beds in for the first time, but it makes for a much easier to control environment and attracting and maintaining beneficial insects becomes much easier with a raised bed.

Irrigating at a depth of about 20-30cm with drip hose and using a sandy loam soil for water holding that'll allow a good balance of drainage in case of rain but still have decent capillary action for holding water in dry spells is important.

Filling the bed about 4 inches shy of the top and using a thick layer of mulch to keep the top layer of soil from drying out is a must, also burying one of pic related in the middle of the bed and throwing scraps in there from time to time will both increase yields and oxygenate the soil due to native worms and other critters making their way into your beds; though burying a pound or so of aggressive composting worms to start things off may be a really good idea too.

that's all I can add for now, Using cinder blocks and getting some good sandy loam soil and proper drip irrigation with a timer is all you really need to have a successful raised garden, pallets are lousy in my experience and let the soil become too hot and leak like sieves.
Also, one thing i forgot to add is that raised bed gardening makes watering super easy, most crops in temperate weather require around an inch of water a week and having raised beds makes it easy to work out what that that actually means.

Calculate the cubic area of the bed width and length assuming an inch of depth to get the volume in cubic metres, which converts easily to litres as there's 1000 Litres in a cubic metre.
A "standard" bed made from sleepers with dimensions of 2.4 M x 1.2 M times the depth of an inch (roughly 25.4 mm) would mean an inch of water equals 72 litres.

To make it easy for you, use a calculator like this:

If you're watering from above, it doesn't get much easier than this, although to be sure of what the flow rate of drip hose is, you would need to place the hoses in a container and see how many minutes it takes to fill to the desired amount of water and set your watering timer accordingly.
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>tap roots don't matter
aren't radishes, sweet potatoes, beetroot etc all taproots?
Thread replies: 34
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