July 23, 2010, Newsletter Issue #140: Cedar, Pine, or Cypress?

Tip of the Week

The poet Ken Mikolowski humorously wrote, "Someday soon/nothing/will be/made/out of/wood/not even/trees." (Big Enigmas, 1991) It seems true even when you're building raised beds, because there are many types of wood available for borders. You can even buy composite plastic timbers.

Many experts on how to build a raised garden insist that cedar or natural wood timbers are the way to go. Others, when talking about how to build raised bed gardens, will argue that composite plastic timbers won't rot or splinter--though plastic can warp. Other experts, such as HGTV "Seasoned Gardener" host Chris Dawson, argue that wood works well as long as you use cedar, cypress or redwood when building raised garden beds.

Remember, if you're using pressure treated lumber, check to see that they don't contain any toxic materials that might leak into the soil and poison your garden. Let poetic musings on the state of the environment guide you to be an ecologically responsible gardener. After all, you're learning how to build a raised bed garden because you love nature.

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