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WOODWORKING-making raised beds for the garden

 
 
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2012 09:46 pm
I am going to make a seris of raised beds in which to grow veggies. Itll be in a small pasture that is sort of a front view of the whole farm. We decided not to use it for grazing anymore and to make it a nice street view of the house.
I want to make a seris of 4X10 beds and Im wondering the best material
Im going to make em 10 " high so they can pack in a lot of compost .
The question is

What sort of material should I use
Ive thought of

1 CYPRESS-we have a lot of cypress available around here because its sorta near the mushroom center of the US (Kennett Square) Cypress comes in 8',10
or 12" widths of dimensionl 1" thick wood. Cypress is very rot resistant


2TREX-Trex or some other name, is a composite wood chip and plastic lumber. They use it for decking, Itll last forever but its a bit pricey

REDWOOD=heard this too is good for outside stuff that touches the ground. Since its a wood, I guess its a price comparison between it and cypress

ANY experience with any of these woods?

I made a doghouse out of planed cypress and it got invaded by a family of racoons who lived there for almost a whole year, then I burnt the damn thing.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 3,104 • Replies: 22
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2012 11:12 pm
@farmerman,
Not really. The redwood I've seen here is such low quality lumber it's too ugly for fence posts. It's also kind of furry, if you know what I mean, and might tend to look 'dirty'. I know nothing of cypress, but would choose it over redwood any day.

There! Another non opinion from Roger.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Oct, 2012 11:30 pm
My aunt and I built a bunch of raised beds out of cypress a few years ago. That stuff lasts forever.
Redwood doesn't rot per se, but it does kinda get soft and can crumble after a while if it's left in damp places. Mind you, I'm pretty sure where you live is a lot drier than Vancouver Island.
So, I'm thinking you'll be safe using either wood. Cedar shingles can last upto 40 years. Shingles are much, much thinner - just sayin'.
I built 2 raised beds, 5 x 18 ish feet... this year out of 4 inch oak planks. I think I may put another layer on, because my yard has a substantial grade issue, the beds are from about 6" to about 18" deep. It's a bit of overkill, I know, but I got the rough cut timbers for free. They use them to separate oil field pipes on trains. They're not terribly pretty but they produced a ton of food this year. I filled them with lots of manure and compost and some good black topsoil.
In our dry zone, these puppies will more than outlast me, maybe the house.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 12:26 am
@Ceili,
Now that you mention it, oak can be very rot resistant. White oak, that is. I think he's in an area where cypress is relatively inexpensive. I do not enjoy sanding white oak, but that doesn't seem a part of the project.
0 Replies
 
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 12:34 am
@farmerman,
For wood, I'd go with old-growth Cypress, knowing that reedwood will get ugly after discoloration after some years being naturally weathered in the outside environment. Other than that, I've had no personal work done with it. And Trex is more expensive than Cypress, but building with it is also another valid option.

Just laying it out there, but why not use bricks or fieldstone?
That's what I have in my backyard. Although when a gap presents itself after laying down the bricks, there's more work involved in using a power cutter to measure & cut the stone to the desired width, for a snuggle fit.
I have made four 5X5 bed raised a foot (one layer of bricks below the grass level for greater stability), each with a drip system.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 04:13 am
about to lose power . weve had a few incidences of outage that lasted for a few minutes but the storm isnt even fully here yet.
Thanks all, Im using wood because I have an ample supply of compost made with shep manure so I wabnt to be able to move these things every year or so.

farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 05:16 am
@farmerman,
I checked a web site for mushroom house construction and cypress prices seem to be depressed. I oughta take advantage
I checked the PVC "lumber" prices and its about 40to 60 bucks A BOARD. Chrissakes, if the AMish going by start talkin about that xtravagance Ill never get decent prices on barn carpentry again
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 05:17 am
I assume you don't have any termites there?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 05:23 am
@edgarblythe,
we do but they dont seem to wanna **** with cypress or trex. They love sweeter woods. Cypress has some kinda oils that help it endure in humid conditions and soil contact
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 11:11 am
@farmerman,
Termites won't bother Osage Orange, either, and I recall you have some around there. Not to say you will ever see a straight, milled board. It's looking like cypress, isn't it?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 11:41 am
@farmerman,
I built 4 4' x 8' raised beds out of hefty redwood in a moderately wet area, lotta drizzle, Humboldt County coast. There was still some pretty good redwood available there. I used 4 x 4 posts in concrete footings (so not movable) to hang the 2 x 8 boards and added 2 x 10s to the top for easy seating for weeding. It's true redwood is a relative softy. I can't remember if I had any 1x pressure treated wood df attached at the base to keep the amended soil from oozing out into what would later be the gravel pathways. Maybe I can find a photo and see if I did. We also used to use a lot of cedar up there too. I'm not familiar with cypress as an outdoor building wood, but it sounds good from here.

On termites, all I know it that the termites in LA are different from the termites in New Orleans (or so I've read), am assuming wood resistance is similar with both. Redwood and cedar were known to be resistant.Ttermites would chew up doug fir like a served dessert.

My 1910 or so garage in LA, that I remodelled at one point as a studio, had old growth redwood studs, and two of them (of many) did have some termite infestation. (Heh, and a few of them had black widow nests.)
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 11:49 am
@ossobuco,
Adds, I just remembered an expensive tougher than nails decking wood, ipe (Tabebuia impetiginosa). Not so easy to just go out and work with as it is extremely dense. I remember it as quite heavy.
Trex has its uses but I really don't like it much.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 12:28 pm
@ossobuco,
Oof. Now remembering - I'm sure I didn't use any ptreated df at the base, being cautious re arsenic from the pt to the soil and then then to plant roots, though I'd read up that it doesn't go in the roots.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 12:33 pm
@roger,
osage orange is a favorite tree for the old fashioned fence posts. It i tough and is hard to find as strait lengths for boards.
It was THE favorite wood for prows and keels of sailing ships cause you could bang into a dock and ground and the wood wouldny show any dammage.
HOWEVER, finding a thick osage prnage tree anymore is a rank impossibility. The Longwood Gardens has a few thicj specimen trees in ther exotics forest area.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 12:35 pm
@farmerman,
Im gonna look up Ipe and if its abywhere near trex or evergreen (fake woods) Ill probably go with cypress.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 03:23 pm
@farmerman,
Ipe is hard to put together because of the density (special techniques worked out for building decks from it) and pricey. Happens to be very pretty. Cypress is sounding good.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2012 04:53 pm
@ossobuco,
Its also known as Ironwood, we have it at certain lumberyards. I dont think Id pay that kinda money when PVC would last forever . Course I dont want the look of white sided raised beds, too much plastic
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2012 08:50 am
@farmerman,
well, looks like Im gonna choose CYPRESS. I figure by the time I need to rplace it Ill be in the home and the next guys can worry about plastic woods prices
Im gonna chnge the dimensions to 4'X8'. Easier on the cutting and no wastage. Use a pocket joint and put some blocks at each corner, easy peazzy
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2012 10:09 am
@farmerman,
I got several cypress boards of my 4X8 ' bed plans and have put them together with corner blocks. I have 6 planting beds and I hope to get em in before the ground freezes
I planed em and hit 2 of em with a spray coat of water based poly
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Feb, 2018 05:46 am
There are about 20 different species of cypress throughout the world. In the US there are 2 that are used for woodworking (Taxodium ascendens). We call it "Bald Cypress or Swamp Cypress". Its a tree that grows in southern swamps and provides us with a particularly dense and water resistant wood.

My garden beds are about 4 years old and look like new, except that theyve weathered to a uniform grayish color.

In colonial US they were used for cabinets, house siding, working boats (along with an OSAGE ORANGE keel).
0 Replies
 
 

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