Both contain copper and a fungicide but no arsenic. The copper keeps insects at bay, and the fungicide prevents soil fungus from attacking the wood. In ACQ, the fungicide is quat, which is also used in swimming-pool chemicals and as a disinfectant.
The other compound, CA-B, uses copper and tebuconazole, a fungicide used on food crops. According to Miles McEvoy, who works in organic certification with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, no pressure-treated wood is allowed in soils used to grow organic food.
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If you want to meet this high standard, choose a different material. Until the safety of treated wood is proven conclusively, we recommend you use a naturally rot-resistant wood like red cedar, black locust or redwood. Under most circumstances, these woods will last 10 — 20 years when used for raised beds. Recycled composite plastic lumber is another alternative, and is now available in a variety of sizes and colors.
Clear the area where the bed will be located, because you will be building the bed "in place".
Use a square to mark the ends and saw the boards to desired length. Put two screws in each corner to hold it together for now. Set a level on the frame and place blocks beneath it to keep it level. Do this for the ends and the sides. Cut the post pieces longer than you will need. You can saw a point on the bottom of the posts, although is it not essential. Set the first post into the corner of the frame and drive the post into the ground a few inches. Screw the frame into the post, using two screws per side.
Set the other posts in place and screw them in the same way. Now add the bottom row of boards down to ground level, using the same method of simply screwing into the posts. You may have to dig into the ground in places to get the boards to fit. Using a hand saw, cut the posts where they stick up, so that they are flush to the sides of the bed. Smooth the ground in the pathway and start filling the bed with soil. If your bed is longer than 8', or taller than 18", it's a good idea to use cross-bracing.
This will prevent the bed from bowing outwards in the center of the span. Use a hacksaw to cut the aluminum flat stock to the exact width of the bed. Drill a hole in each end, and use a 1" stainless screw to attach the cross-brace to the posts at either side of the span. Use your best garden soil to top off the bed. Or you can just pull out any rocks you come across. Add soil amendments such as peat, lime, rock phosphate and organic fertilizer, as needed.
Spray the soil with a fine spray, and top it off again because the water will lower the soil level a bit. This assures equal light exposure to all the plants growing in the bed.
If your bed is aligned the other way the ends facing south , you may have planting limitations because taller plants in front can block the sunlight to small plants in back. This gives you a chance to pull rocks, and to see the composition of your soil.
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Leave soil piled up in the center, away from the sides, so you can set the bed in place without obstructions. Use a level for this task. Tap down the sides as needed till you get a level reading. Be sure to check for level both along the length and across the width of your bed.
As you dig the soil, keep an eye out for any roots which may be growing beneath your beds. If left to grow, these roots will steal the organic amendments you add to the soil. Pull any roots back towards their source, and pull the main root clump. If the source is a living tree, you may need to install a root barrier by digging a narrow trench outside the perimeter of the bed, and deeper than the roots, and then insert a barrier such as heavy plastic sheeting.
Once the soil is added and the bed is planted, make it a policy to never step on the bed. Stepping on the bed will compact the soil, reduce aeration and impact root growth. Pets should also be trained to stay off the raised beds.
Things to think about when preparing a raised bed garden
This board can be laid across the bed, setting on top of the bed sides, and can be used to set buckets on when weeding or adding amendments, and it can be used to step on if you must step on the bed. It also makes a handy seat when weeding or tending the bed. If you plan to grow root crops, such as potatoes or carrots, you may want to set the mesh lower in the ground by digging deeper when you are setting up the bed.
There are also raised garden planters available for above-ground gardening. These planters are designed to be easy on the back. Add any planned soil amendments, such as peat, compost or lime, and spread the soil evenly across the bed. Water the bed with an even, fine spray. Over time the soil will settle an inch or two more. To learn more about developing the ideal soil for your raised beds, read our articles:.
It helps when pathways between raised beds are wide enough for a small wheelbarrow. For grass pathways, make sure they are at least wide enough for a weedeater or a small mower. This will not be visible because the mulch will cover it. When buying mulch, ask the seller if they have had any complaints about weed seeds in the mulch.
Some weeds will still appear on your pathways regardless of the mulch. Wait until it rains before pulling them out or you might rip the landscape cloth.
How To Build a Raised Garden Bed
The weeds will come out easily if the ground is wet. Many beautiful raised bed installations are set on concrete surfaces, but there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. Typically, patio and driveway surfaces are not level. This is intentional so water can drain away from the main house structure. Raised beds, however, should be built to level, the same as if being constructed on soil.
Raised Bed Gardens and Small Plots
This means the bottoms of the beds will need to be blocked up on the low end just enough to facilitate and direct drainage. One of the benefits of raised bed gardening is drainage, but this feature also makes the soil requirements of your garden box a little different. The following explores both options. This last combination above will help eliminate weeds, but the real key to these combinations is the compost. No matter how great your topsoil is, your raised beds will fail dismally without compost, which will need to be added again every year. The goal of any irrigation system is to make sure every plant gets enough water to thrive.
With each method of irrigation there is a different strategy to meet this goal: for dripping and soaking, hoses must be placed in the right locations to fully water the desired plants.