Questions & Answers
Q: What kind of wood are the beds made of?
A: Our standard garden beds are made of SPF lumber, which stands for Spruce/Pine/Fur. This is unfinished wood that doesn't contain any chemicals which could leach into your garden bed.
The advantage of using SPF lumber compared to more rot-resistant wood like cedar is cost. It's a lot less. However, that's not the only advantage - standard SPF wood is commonly available in thicker dimensions. We build our beds with 2" thick material, with lumber like 2 x 4's and 2 x 6's.
It's very difficult to find cedar in the mid-west, and very expensive (more than three times the cost of SPF lumber.) And, the most commonly available 6" wide board for the cedar is actually 7/8" thick. It requires more support in its design than the SPF lumber bed.
I haven't seen any designs that have a ledge like our beds. In 2021, lumber prices are extremely high already, and as a small local business, we are not able to purchase and inventory cedar.
Q: How can I treat my bed to make it last longer?
There are a number of options for helping your raised garden bed to make it last longer. Our beds are sanded and clean and accept treatments well.
1) Shou Sugi Ban - Preserving wood with fire
In this method, you burn the top layer of the wood to create a charcoal barrier to water, then apply boiled linseed oil. This is an ancient method of wood preservation that is well documented.
2) Gardener's Waterproofer for Garden Beds
There are special products made just for treating wood in raised garden beds that you just apply with a brush. Check out Gardner's Supply Company to purchase. You can also get this at Vermont Natural Coatings. One quart should work for an average bed.
3) Other Exterior Stains and Polyurethane
These are not made for vegetable gardens, however, some people apply them to the outside of the boxes only.