Donnos, 'a rot proofing liquid'

castorpSeptember 6, 2005

I read about this stuff in Martha Stewart's Gardening 101. I'm thinking about making some raised beds, and she says pine boards painted with Donnos make a good natural alternative to treated lumber.

Has anybody tried it? How did the wood hold up? (And do you think it would hold up in Florida jungle weather?) Or would I be better off in the long run with cedar?

Any advice/experiences with this would be appreciated. Thank you.

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squeeze(z8 BC)

maybe Martha's invested in the company :) it's basicly linseed oil, which is a good wood treatment by itself, but cedar is prolly yer best bet, w/ a good soak of linseed oil


    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:23PM
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I used cedar and have been very happy with it. It lasted over 10 years at my last place.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 9:46AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Hi Castorp - did you post a msg about raised beds on the FL Gardening forum too?

I meant to reply to that - IMPE, concrete/stone/brick is a very good choice down here - PT lumber seems to be about the only thing that'll last for years in FL & it's problematic if you're trying to reduce synthetic chems in your garden.

I have a pair of long, narrow beds surrounded by concrete pavers - which double as paths.They were my 1st garden beds & have been in place for well over a decade.My only problem has been the soil level increasing & spilling over onto the flat pavers.I started using ceramic tiles (free from a tile store), inserted vertically, to contain the soil somewhat.

That said, I also have a nice bed I made last fall from whole logs - w/ bark still on - from a hurricane-downed chinaberry tree.Logs are mostly more than 12" in diameter, so they're not going away anytime soon.I realy like the way that bed looks - very rustic.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 11:11AM
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Bill, Martha said it had citrus oil and other natural oils too. I don't know if these would make any difference.

If I go with cedar, would the 1" X 12" boards work? Or would I be much better off using something thicker?

Carol, I was hoping someone like you--with a lot of experience growing veggies in Florida--would write. I've been trying to decide whether I should go ahead switch to raised beds, or even a variation of the square foot gardening technique, where I would keep the soil basically isolated from the sand below, or to try to keep ammending Florida sand. I'm considering the former because all the organic matter I put into the sand seems to disappear (and I put A LOT) and I'm already having trouble with wilt diseases, and everything I see and read suggests that I'll have nematode difficulties sooner or later, probably sooner.
Have nematodes and other soil pests been a problem for you?
Is your soil sandy? Have you had any success at improving it? I've been ammending mine, mostly using heavy mulches, for only two years.

Thanks to you all for the information.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 11:58AM
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Given the drainage you have in Florida, raised beds would not be a good idea since they will drain even faster than the ground level soil and make it even more difficult to maintain adequate soil moisture levels.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 7:55AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

I recall a consensus (either here or @ 'Soil') that piling stuff on top of the soil is more effective than mixing it in - esp. here in Nematode Central.

That's what I've been doing for several years now & am very happy w/ the results.Digging into the sand just wastes good labour & materials, IMPE.

An exception would be digging a hole & filling it w/ compost/mix before planting - sorta like making an underground planting container.I always add compost/amendments to planting holes for veggies/edibles here.

In answer to your questions, Castorp, YES I have sandy soil (I'm on a barrier island) & YES I have root knot nematodes & they HAVE been a problem, but I've found more than a few plants that do not seem to be bothered by them: broccoli, kale, lettuces, Egyptian onions, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes - I think, for some veggies, it depends a lot on variety.

Some varieties I grow are:

Packman broccoli
Toscano & Red Russian kales
Tatsoi mustard greens
Long Purple eggplant
Hillbilly, Black Plum, Matt's Wild Cherry, Great White, Viva Italia tomatoes
Pasilla Bahio, Aji Dulce, Habanero chiles-in containers only
Purple & Chocolate Beauty, Corno di Toro peppers - "
Rattlesnake & Louisiana Purple Pod pole beans
Pinetree letuce mix
Pinetree cabbage mix
Lotsa herbs - basils, mints, marjoram(potted), rosemary, oregano, garlic chives, sage(potted)

I don't solarise, but I do let my beds lay fallow & dry out over the summer (not really on purpose, tho).

I've recently discovered rabbit food (alfalfa pellets) is a TERRIFIC soil amendment - 25# costs about $5 @ the local feed/garden store.& I also use Maxicrop seaweed extract powder & homemade compost/compost tea.I keep everything mulched well w/ coastal hay - also from feed store, or scrounged during the Fall - & seaweed (really eelgrass) from the beach, when I can get it.My soil levels have increased & the hay seems best for minimizing foliar diseases.

I've added (clean)clay cat litter to my soil too - not sure if it's helped or not, but it didn't seem to hurt = J

I'm definitely into no-till gardening & 'feeding the soil'
= )

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 11:03AM
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Thanks, Carol, what you say makes me think I should go ahead with the raised bed, since it seems to be more effective to pile organic matter on top of the sand, rather than mix it in, anyway: might was well package it all up with nice siding of some sort.

Still haven't decided about what to use for siding. You know I once used oak logs for sides to a raised bed and they didn't last nearly as long as I thought they would. First came the grubs, then the woodpeckers. But they were neat to watch! Wood chips were flying everywhere.
I'm seriously considering trying the square foot method, or a variation of it. I have limited space. I want to conserve water. So it seems to make sense. I'm going to hang out on the square foot forum for a while.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 1:38PM
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