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What wood to use for building a raised outdoor container bed

Discussion in 'Small Spaces' started by dougmays, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    i want to build a raised garden in my backyard.  i know i'm not supposed to use treated wood.  so what kind of wood should i use.  i've heard cedar...but in home depot it was very expensive...but i think i might have been looking at indoor cedar?

    any advice? i dont wanna spend a arm and a leg
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My dad and his buddies all have raised gardens in their yards and they all use old rail road ties.
  3. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    that's actually what i wanted to use....but have no clue where to find them....any idea?
  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    If there is a RR yard  or office nearby ask them .

     We have alot of tracks here and they usually don't mind us hauling off some of the old ties when they do change outs . Alot of the bigger garden centers will have ties for sale.
  5. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you're concerned about using treated wood, then definitely do not use railway ties, as they are also treated.
  6. I don't pretend tobe a gardening expert, but I can't see the harm in using treated wood.  I've seen hundreds of raised gardens and flower beds using RR ties.  And like AK1 said, wood doesn't get any more treated than that.
  7. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    i did some reading and they say not to use ties for edible gardens because of the creosote...or plant plants atleast 6 inches from the border.

    i think i'm gonna go with Cesar boards from lowes or home depot...looks like that's the only non treated lumber commonly found
  8. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    We used regular treated lumber and just don't plant the edges
  9. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i used cinder blocks stacked with no mortar...............
  10. grampyskids

    grampyskids Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Do not under any circumstances use railroad ties! hey are treated with creosote and other nasty stuff. After a few years, they will contaminate the soil rendering it unplantable.

    Last year, after an exhaustive search, I determined that PT wood sold at HD would not hurt the plants or my family.
  11. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I can't see how the treated wood of today can hurt anything or anybody.

    It's really weak compared to the old stuff they stopped selling about 6 years ago.

  12. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would sooner use treated wood from HD or Lowes etc, than old railroad ties.

    Actually, at my previous house I just used regular 2x12 boards (either spruce, pine or fir). They lasted around 7 yrs before I had to replace them.
  13. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The most preffered natural wood would be cedar, but if you cant afford that then use the treaded wood over railroad ties. Like Bear said they have changed how they treat the wood considerably, not nearly as bad as it used to be.
  14. smokeamotive

    smokeamotive Smoking Fanatic

    I would not use railroad ties as the creosote contains PCBs. I built my garden with 6x6 CCA timbers. Nowdays PT lumber goes by ACQ. Have never had a problem with planting around them. Put them in @ 15yrs ago and have no problems with rot. Would take a pic to post but all you'll see right now is snow.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  15. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Been using cross ties for years with no problems,but I always have 12-14 inches on the edges and till up and replace alot of the soil every couple of years.
  16. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    I would'nt have a problem with using treated wood there's not much in them these days.if you are still worried you could line it with plastic.i would'nt touch railroad ties in a million years
  17. captsly

    captsly StickBurners

    I am going to use landscape timbers for mine ( when I get around to building it!! )
  18. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Have to agree with the above posts about RR ties....nasty chemicals used. I debated this for weeks last year when putting in my raised bed. Finally settled on the treated lumber from HD even though the price had jumped a few bucks per board from when I first looked.....grrrr.  Got the longest they had in stock.....2X8X10 and had them cut one in half for the end caps. I put old cardboard in the bottom to keep the grass/weeds from growing up and had a nice plot. Had 2 yards of garden loam/compost mix delivered and dumped in with a little extra left in case it settled over winter. Worked great....good luck
  19. biggeorge50

    biggeorge50 Fire Starter

    I have to agree with Chefrob.  I have always used cinder blocks.  Used ones are usually not hard to find around here.
  20. I used Cedar fence boards to build 12"w x 18"h x 36"long boxes for my mom.

    10 of them.

    Expected them to last a couple of years.

    They finally failed at eight years.

    Cost about $16 and 1 hour each.

    No chemicals. Just some yellow wood glue and drywall screws.

    Years of dill, coriander, sage, oregano etc.

    I think that the daffodils and tulips finally did them in. ... [​IMG]