What if I made my bed out of these?

sarahs_edenFebruary 14, 2009

Has anyone seen these??? (like below)

I just stumbled across them this morning while I was looking for prices on composite lumber (like trex).

I am pretty much paralyzed by the inability to decide what to build my raised beds out of. For those of you that might remember from last year, I built some boxes out of untreated wood on top of existing raised beds. It seemed like a good idea, but at the end of the summer, I found my soil was infested with termite larvae. Not to mention, despite the fact I rubbed linseed oil all over the wood, it looks like it's pretty much at the end of its life right now (after less than a full year since we built it).

I am on the fence about using pressure treated wood... it seems a little against the idea of organic gardening, but I don't know that I have a whole lot of choice. My husband says that metal and concrete also leech stuff into the soil. I don't want to have to replace these beds every year either! But the heat and humidity of Florida summers is pretty intense...

Here is a link that might be useful: Composite Plastic Timbers

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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

Ouch! I am so sorry about your beds. Termites and everything! Yikes.

Well, I'm in the Pacific NW and it's just wet here, but most folks I know just go pressure treated out of necessity also. Hasn't hurt us yet. Besides, the treatment's "safer" now.

I too looked into the composites. Problem is that 1x6 plastic bends way too easy. And 2x6 boards are prohibitively expensive.

I don't envy your decision, but mine was pressure treated out of necessity and I'm fine with it.

Good luck and get past this to the fun stuff. You've earned it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 12:45PM
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I think the product would be fine, but the cost prohibitive. It looks like a 4'x4' bed would cost around $52, not counting the corner posts, and it would only be 5 1/2" deep. Once that was filled, you would have settling and would be lucky to have 3-4" of actual soil depth. So that means, to make a really good bed, you would have to build it twice as high...$104 per 4x4 bed, plus those corner posts.

I've seen a lot of beds made of concrete block or cinder block, even some commercial ones, so I doubt they worry there will be much leaching. I also like the fact that you can cap some of them for a comfortable sitting area, and leave some uncapped and plant cascading flowers (like nasturtiums) or herbs in the holes. If I had it to do over, and hadn't already had the lumber, I would opt for the cinder block gardens.


Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Kitchen Garden

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 12:49PM
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I was going into the local BMC today to buy 2X6 cedar to make more raised beds. That costs $2 a linear foot there, and since I'm building them 2 boards high (11" total), it runs $4 a linear foot. On the way in, I saw that they were having an end-of-season sale on Trex, the 'plastic decking material', 2X6s, at $1.99 a linear foot - the same as cedar!

I decided to go for it, and built my first 4X8 bed. Thoughts? Difficult to work with: kind of warped so I needed to use vices as I screwed things, and I had to predill and countersink every hole. It took me twice as long as building a bed out of cedar did. BUT, reading about the termites after only ONE year, I think I'll be glad I did this in two years.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 8:54PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

We don't have termite problems here, we do have rot though. So, if you got the Trex to work, that's great! I was considering going that route myself. I'd love to see pics of that!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 11:51AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Just priced cedar 4x4 here and almost $2/lf, Trex more. Trex 2x6 needs reinforcement, using pipe or rebar on the outside and a brace on the inside, else you'll have bowing from the weight ( I used to have a landscaping business, so I might overengineer stuff a little).

AND, Trex will easily last you 20 years with zero problems - no splinters that fester, no critters, and you can tell your guests about the miracle material. And it's recycled.

Plz post pics!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:52PM
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I would love to find Trex on clearance... but I was a little concerned about how I would brace it and screw it together, etc. The link for the stuff I posted is not a trex-like material, though it is composite. It is mostly hollow, 1.5 inches thick and only 45 inches long. They sell the connectors that also work like anchors (stake into the ground) and work to connect the second level of "wood" to make it 11" tall. There is a video on the company's website that shows a guy putting together a 4x4 bed. It looked incredibly easy - solved all of the concerns I had about how to put together a trex bed.
Anyway... since I didn't win the lottery this week, I guess I'll be using 2" pressure treated wood - should be able to get the wood for my beds for around $100.
I stopped by my little local nursery today and it really gave me the bug for getting stuff planted! They have HUGE onion sets for a buck a bag, marigolds and nasturtiums for a $1.49 and all their veggie baby plants looked amazing! SO EXCITED!!!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 2:29PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

It depends on what your age is and how long you plan to be at your current location. If I were a young man and knew I would be here at this location 36 years later, I would have gone for the synthetic lumber. I hate spending $$ just to get back where you were (maintenance).


Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 5:04PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

One thing you have to consider is that a quality garden raises the value of your home. I had a house in Sacramento on 1/4 acre that was maybe 50% landscaped from leftovers from my landscape business, wonderful layout, fragrance, bloom period...sigh...anyway, it was the highest value on the block. This house here, same thing. It is quality landscaping obviously by someone who knows what they are doing.

Bottom line: Trex beds give you your money back in value. When the market returns, you'll see it. Make them properly, support them every 4', and you'l be fine.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:51PM
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Okay, please bear with me as this is the first time that I've posted a pic here. Per the suggestions on this thread, I pickaxed down 5" and buried the support that you can see on the long side. Will this be sufficient?

Also, thus far, I've been sticking with the cedar 4X4s for the corners. Yes, this will mean maintenance down the road, but I'm leary about the rigidity of using the Trex for the corner posts. I've thought about doubling them up several times.....

a href="http://s690.photobucket.com/albums/vv269/Cherylco/?action=view&current=FCGarden-4X4.jpg" target="_blank">

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 9:51PM
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? O.K. cheap, lasting & funky? See www.noble.org for free detailed do-it-yourself plans online of recycled automobile "Tire Berm" raised beds.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 11:02PM
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I like it, but I don't plan on being in my house 20 years, let alone 10 or maybe even 5 if the economy turns around a bit, so something that lasts a long time was not advantagous to me. How many people buy a house because of a veggie garden? Most people either put a pool where the garden used to be or put a dog run or something.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:00AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I for one would never buy a home without an excellent southern exposure for a garden. If there was one there already, bonus. Just saying... Hehe

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:29AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

People DO buy houses for nice landscaping, and a neat veggie garden is a component of that (sez the biased guy who used to own a landscape design business). Raised beds like cheryl's are just enough for a Realtor to sell to anybody - our raised bed of Allan Block and spigots and height changes and stuff is for dedicated gardeners only (but IME those who want it will pay to get it, like what happened to me in Sacto).

To the picture, cheryl from here you're fine, cedar 4x4s are fine, hopefully 5" will do it. You may want to think about keeping an eye out for needing to screw in a couple of anchors on either side of the center support to help keep the trex from bowing out under the weight.

Yay! Time for some veggies.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 12:34PM
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Okay, point taken. One option that's a HECK of a lot easier is this, which I did on a 4X4 bed. A second easier option than what I first did is pounding rebard down several inches on the insdie and attaching with strapping. I don't want anything bracing on the outside as I think I'd be cursing it as I hit it with the wheelbarrow and my shins!
a href="http://s690.photobucket.com/albums/vv269/Cherylco/?action=view&current=FCGarden4X4bracing.jpg" target="_blank">


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:04PM
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I have 4 raised beds, 3 are made from lumber and one is made from cinder blocks, cos that's what we have laying around and the back of the bed is a cinder block wall. I quite like the cinderblocks and come the time when my wood ones disintegrate a few years down the line I wouldn't hesitate to use cinderblocks!

Here is a link that might be useful: My gardening blog

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 6:33PM
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I use some 6" x 8' x 1" rough sawn oak boards to make beds...2 of these make one 4 x4 bed. No need for posts in the corners...just two deck screws for each corner. I coat the inside and bottom of the boards with roof tar...and also the area where the boards are fastened together.

You can find these local sawmills here and there. Inexpensive lumber.

I thought maybe 8" or 10" might be better...but 6" wide has done OK. I just put them where I want them and fill with inexpensive "potting soil" and cow manure. Do need to add a bag of each to each 4 x 4 every year.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Just made a new 1.5' x 5.5' bed. Paid $8 for two 6" x 1" x 10' rough sawn oak boards. The first 2 beds that I've used for 3 years look about the same as when put in...except they are silver colored.

Dug down to loosen the soil up and found that it was very loamy even down below the original grass surface that the bed was laid on. A good many earthworms even right after a thaw.

Beds are spaced just wide enough to get a push mower through.

Have a high water table here...some minor flooding in spring.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 6:18PM
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