Choosing materials to construct your raised beds
Feb 17, 2023, 12:08 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2023, 2:27 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – For those who aren’t sure what materials to use to construct your raised beds, Taun and Maria gave some examples along with their advantages and disadvantages on the latest KSL Greenhouse show.
Choosing which materials to use usually depends on how much money you want to put into them and how much space you have.
Standard construction lumber
For those who hate pesticides and want something in a more natural state, standard construction lumber is the best option. Pine fir, cedar, and redwood are some good examples.
“If you have something like that, the wood is strong. If it’s untreated, you can expect five or six years of life before the beds really start to deteriorate and need repair or replacement,” Taun said. “You don’t need to worry about any chemicals.”
If you’re not too concerned about the chemical aspect, you can use pressure-treated wood. However, there is some controversy because some of them have had different compounds that made the wood poisonous to microorganisms.
“Some of that may leech into the soil, so you’re not supposed to grow root crops adjacent to the sides of those pressure-treated wood raised beds,” Taun said.
On the other hand, tomatoes and above-ground crops are generally fine to grow because pressure-treated wood lasts 10 to 12 years.
Plastic or vinyl
The next most expensive material is plastic, like the ones you use for vinyl fences. Using vinyl can be easy because you can buy kits that are ready to build.
“One thing I’ve noticed with these is that they have a tendency to bow a little bit because of the flexibility of plastic,” Taun said. If you like them to be a little more straight, then you can try bracing the centers.
Another option is metal, which looks really nice but can also get very hot.
“Because soil in those raised beds is dense enough, the outside two or three inches may heat up quite a bit,” Taun said.
However, it’s not too problematic because you’re watering frequently, which can offset the heat from the metal as it evaporates.
When Maria asked if they rust, Taun said it depends on what type of metal you’re using. If you’re using non-galvanized metal like iron and steel, then they can rust. Otherwise, aluminum and tin are fine because they don’t really rust.
For more information, watch the following two videos on container gardening:
Listen to the full segment on our podcast below!