questions about making a raised vegetable/flower bed

Semidevil

Diamond Member
Apr 26, 2002
3,017
0
76
1. I just went to Home depot and bought some random wood(cheapest wood) to try my first vegetable bed.

Now, after reading around online, some sources mention to not by certain wood that are treated with chemicals(arsenic??).

now I"m kind of scared. will using the wrong type of wood taint the vegetables enough that it can make me sick or affect my health? kill me??

or am I worrying too much?

2. In making a vegetable flower bed, is it a requirement to completly plow the grass out? I've done maybe 80%, but it is not completly clean(and it is hard work to get every piece of grass out). If I pour topsoil over it, will it prevent grass from growing? If not, what do I do?

I thought about putting the landscape fabric, but I"m not sure how that works. If I put landscape fabric, pour topsoil, will my vegetables be able to grow just on topsoil and without the 'natural' ground soil?

I heard about poking holes in the fabric idea, but I want to see what my options are.


 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
19,161
4,104
136
Pressure treated lumber shouldn't be used as a planter for vegetables. It is treated with chemicals, and those chemicals do leach out of it to some extant. You can tell if it's pressure treated by the color (green, brown, and black) and the wood will also be perforated (looks like little cuts all over the face of the board).
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
49,958
642
126
Originally posted by: Greenman
Pressure treated lumber shouldn't be used as a planter for vegetables. It is treated with chemicals, and those chemicals do leach out of it to some extant. You can tell if it's pressure treated by the color (green, brown, and black) and the wood will also be perforated (looks like little cuts all over the face of the board).
extent, not extant.

Sincerely,
your personal ex Mod.

 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
19,161
4,104
136
Originally posted by: oldsmoboat
Originally posted by: Greenman
Pressure treated lumber shouldn't be used as a planter for vegetables. It is treated with chemicals, and those chemicals do leach out of it to some extant. You can tell if it's pressure treated by the color (green, brown, and black) and the wood will also be perforated (looks like little cuts all over the face of the board).
extent, not extant.

Sincerely,
your personal ex Mod.
What's up with the ex BS? I expect my people to stay on their toes. A personal mod that isn't a mod anymore doesn't do me a whole lot of good.
I need answers mister, and I need them yesterday. Do I need to send a stern memo to the other mods to get this straightened out?


Heads will roll if I find out my team is slipping.
 

fatpat268

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2006
5,853
0
71
I just built a raised vegetable bed about a month ago myself.

I did the same as you, I didn't clear out all the grass (My vegetable bed is 10 feet by 5 feet) but I got a majority of it. I covered the entire ground in newspaper and wetted it down and poured the topsoil on top. Supposedly the newspaper is supposed to be a weed barrier... we'll see. I've never had any luck with those landscape/weed fabrics, the weeds come through anyway.

As for the wood... I think you're just being paranoid. Sure, you're supposed to use untreated lumber, but any possible seepages into the soil will be minimal in the grand scheme of things.
 

runzwithsizorz

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2002
3,500
14
76
Originally posted by: Semidevil
1. I just went to Home depot and bought some random wood(cheapest wood) to try my first vegetable bed.
What the heck is random wood?, err, maybe I should rephrase that question. Cheap is, cedar peeler cores and re-bar, more expensive is rough sawn 2x12 redwood
Now, after reading around online, some sources mention to not by certain wood that are treated with chemicals(arsenic??).Arsenic, was only used with old lace. Back in my day we used the good stuff, ceosote, vapame, and formaldehyde, none of which is used today, mommy government loves you

now I"m kind of scared. will using the wrong type of wood taint the vegetables enough that it can make me sick or affect my health? kill me??No, No, and No

or am I worrying too much? YES

2. In making a vegetable flower bed, is it a requirement to completly plow the grass out? No, but its a good idea I've done maybe 80%, but it is not completly clean(and it is hard work to get every piece of grass out). If I pour topsoil over it, will it prevent grass from growing? No If not, what do I do? Brake out the pick axe, maddox, cultivator, 8hp tiller, or dynamite, and till that soil son! While your at it add some sand for drainage, and braking up clay, and mulch for water retention, in the end your area will be so light, fluffy, and aeriable, that the grass/weeds, and their roots can simply be screeded out with you fingertips. weeds will spout up now and then, but they can be pulled rather easily,do so before they go to seed. In the old days we called this,"tending the garden".

I thought about putting the landscape fabric,Don't bother but I"m not sure how that works. I could explain it to ya, and I do use it from time to time but NOT in this venue, it is totally unnessessary If I put landscape fabric, pour topsoil, will my vegetables be able to grow just on topsoil and without the 'natural' ground soil? Never use just pure top soil, for nowdays what is being touted as top soil is nothing more than dyed dirt mixed with steer manure. Unblended the nitrates in the manure could burn your tender young roots.

I heard about poking holes in the fabric idea, but I want to see what my options are.
Good luck, enjoy, and don't eat the wood
Runz
<--------- Thirty years landscape business
 

Squisher

Lifer
Aug 17, 2000
21,207
65
91
OP, if you did buy pressure treated wood and didn't want to return it, I imagine you could staple some 4 mil plastic around the inside to isolate it from the soil.

It wouldn't hurt to do some tilling of the ground underneath where the beds are going to go. Raised beds are great, but do use a lot more water.

 

AlienCraft

Lifer
Nov 23, 2002
10,539
0
0
Originally posted by: runzwithsizorz
Originally posted by: Semidevil
1. I just went to Home depot and bought some random wood(cheapest wood) to try my first vegetable bed.
What the heck is random wood?, err, maybe I should rephrase that question. Cheap is, cedar peeler cores and re-bar, more expensive is rough sawn 2x12 redwood
Now, after reading around online, some sources mention to not by certain wood that are treated with chemicals(arsenic??).Arsenic, was only used with old lace. Back in my day we used the good stuff, ceosote, vapame, and formaldehyde, none of which is used today, mommy government loves you

now I"m kind of scared. will using the wrong type of wood taint the vegetables enough that it can make me sick or affect my health? kill me??No, No, and No

or am I worrying too much? YES

2. In making a vegetable flower bed, is it a requirement to completly plow the grass out? No, but its a good idea I've done maybe 80%, but it is not completly clean(and it is hard work to get every piece of grass out). If I pour topsoil over it, will it prevent grass from growing? No If not, what do I do? Brake out the pick axe, maddox, cultivator, 8hp tiller, or dynamite, and till that soil son! While your at it add some sand for drainage, and braking up clay, and mulch for water retention, in the end your area will be so light, fluffy, and aeriable, that the grass/weeds, and their roots can simply be screeded out with you fingertips. weeds will spout up now and then, but they can be pulled rather easily,do so before they go to seed. In the old days we called this,"tending the garden".

I thought about putting the landscape fabric,Don't bother but I"m not sure how that works. I could explain it to ya, and I do use it from time to time but NOT in this venue, it is totally unnessessary If I put landscape fabric, pour topsoil, will my vegetables be able to grow just on topsoil and without the 'natural' ground soil? Never use just pure top soil, for nowdays what is being touted as top soil is nothing more than dyed dirt mixed with steer manure. Unblended the nitrates in the manure could burn your tender young roots.

I heard about poking holes in the fabric idea, but I want to see what my options are.
Good luck, enjoy, and don't eat the wood
Runz
<--------- Thirty years landscape business
What he said.
and get a composting / vermiculture set up going. Make your own dirt.

mmmmmm worms mmmmmm

 

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