Need as much help with wood help and building raised beds ASAP

freedomgardenApril 24, 2010

I need some help with making raised beds. I'm from Toronto, Canada. I think I'm in zone 6a.

Ok, I'm looking to make raised beds in the backyard. I'm looking for a total of 4 with the aquaponic greenhouse in the middle. Right now because some neighbours long ago imported some wood (or salvage wood) which had termites the neighbourhood was under termite control a long time ago and involved the University of Toronto and I think the City of Toronto to go around doing termite testing. Because of this I can not use salvage wood as I'll have neighbour/hood down pressure because of the termite thing which everyone is already bitter over having to have called for inspections and such.

I'm looking to use cedar as man made wood is uber expensive. I need some wood experts here as I spoke with a CSR at Home Depot @ St. Clair and he recommended me use 'deck board' cedar as the cheaper option to 2" x X" x 8'.

Because of the threat of termites my options are limited to man made wood, cedar, or brick/stone/concrete.

With 5/4 x 6 x 6 it is already ~$16

I'm looking to make 4 raised beds at 3' x 8' with probably 10-16" deep as that would give me the most planting options as I've got root and above ground crops. Could some one help me out if I went with the deck board what size posts would I need to screw those deck boards into and what length screws will I need to get a secure screw into the board? Also longest lasting screws or mid grade ones.

How long does untreated cedar last? I don't want comments on this from those without experience with cedar making suggestions. I'd like real world stats if you could. Yes I know some years it's more wet then others so a ballpark from experience would be nice. I'm thinking I may use linseed oil to coat the cedar which on the flip side may give me 1-2 yrs longer on the other end of the line.

Thank you kindly in advance.

I do need help on this ASAP as I've got ~4cu. yard of compost in the backyard which I think rabbits borrowed into over the winter when the trap flipped over I saw holes in it. I'm going to get another 3-4 cu yard of compost this year from the city so I can complete this project. Without the raised beds built first I can't move the compost pile.

Oh yes..will 3-4cu yard of compost be enough to fill 2 3' x 8' grow beds at the depths I asked for? What if I added 2 x 3.8cu yard of peat moss to each bed?

Thanks and sorry for the long post. Had to spit everything out quickly which I had the questions fresh.

I need to get at least 2 beds done before May 4/2010 so I can ready the area to recieve more compost from the city to fill the other 2 beds. The compost from the city is well broken down already.

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freedomgarden

Some of my plans

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49633415@N08/

Here is a link that might be useful: My flickr page

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 6:27AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

My largest bed is 4' x 25' x 14" deep, and is made with rough cut cedar that a friend with a small sawmill operation cut for me. This is the cheapest source that I know of, and you might be able to find a similar deal in your area.
I would expect the boards to last at least 15-20 years, and no additional protective coating is necessary.

Mine are supported by 4x4 posts cemented 18" deep in the ground, but I tend to really beef things up that are built on the property.

Hope this helps.

EG

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 2:36PM
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freedomgarden

"My largest bed is 4' x 25' x 14" deep, and is made with rough cut cedar that a friend with a small sawmill operation cut for me. This is the cheapest source that I know of, and you might be able to find a similar deal in your area.
I would expect the boards to last at least 15-20 years, and no additional protective coating is necessary.
Mine are supported by 4x4 posts cemented 18" deep in the ground, but I tend to really beef things up that are built on the property.

Hope this helps.

EG
"

EG,

Where does one find such a sawmill? I also forgot to mention the tools I have on hand and my situation. I'm currently unemployed and funds are very tight. The veggie garden is my freedom for healthy foods and saving traveling costs AND I CONTROL IT so I know that there are NO PESTICIDES. Sorry for the caps there. On a ventage over that.

I only have a cored circular saw (old, likely dull, spot rust, and can't find it right now), corded Borsh (sp?) hand drill, 12v Mikita cordless drill (both batteries dead, would wiring it to a 12v car battery straight make it work?), cheap hand rotary tool w/~100pc kit, corded jig saw, small hobby belt/disc sander (belt ~1" wide and disc ~5" diameter), large range of socket set heads, large set of hand tools +/-/[].

I have access to Lowes (not far from me), Home Depot (not far from me), and Rona (not far from me).

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 5:29AM
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freedomgarden

Any Torontoians (sp?) think they can help me with some support groups in T.O? I prefer free as I can't afford much other then perhaps a barter or helping back at the local garden care in exchange for the lessons and such.

I have a little bit of gardening experience from container gardening ~2 yrs, simple hydroponic setup ~1yr, and soon aquaponics. I do have Tiny Tim tomato stems in exchange. :)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 6:23AM
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engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

An amish community would be the first place to look - although i'm not sure any are located that far north. Small communities is another place to look, as I can think of at least 3 in my area already...

The drill will definitely work from a car battery, but be prepared for the torque that the drill will have. I've done it, and it's pretty impressive! I'll include a link to a blog post I did on it....

EG

Here is a link that might be useful: 12v drill and wheelchair battery

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 3:48PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

EG is correct almost any Amish farm will have a saw mill and Zone 6a should have some Amish. A source of lumber would be old telephone poles above the creosote treated area. They are red cedar and the Amish will saw them cheap. John

Here is a link that might be useful: John's Journal

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 7:06PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Lots of portable sawmills out there. Cities should have some as there is a small market for urban wood - ash, cedar, oak, walnut, maple. Yellow Pages/Google 'portable sawmill'.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 11:23AM
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freedomgarden

If I use 2x4 wood what size posts should I be using?

Also

If I use the deck boards as mentioned in my OP what post size should I be using then?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 6:48PM
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