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Had a light bulb moment!?

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Had a light bulb moment!?

Post  wncsohn on 1/31/2012, 11:15 pm

I think ... lol

I had mentioned in another post that my DH just cleared a slew of cedar trees from a portion of our property to open up an area for the sun to get through so I can plant my SFG beds. We had also been talking about getting an Alaskan Saw Mill so we can use the trees instead of letting them go to waste. Then it occured to me .. maybe I can use the slabs from the cedar trees instead of having to buy lumber?

Can "regular" cedar be used for garden beds? (i.e. not "white" cedar)

If it can, then boy howdy I just saved us a few bucks AND will have some longer lasting garden beds!

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Re: Had a light bulb moment!?

Post  Fireopal36 on 2/1/2012, 12:23 am

I don't see why not? Smile

The only "cons" I've been able to google is that it's not as "sustainable"; however, since they were your trees to begin with no problem there!! Also I've read that the cedar oils might deplete the nitrogen levels but that's what cover crops and fertilizing are for anyway, right?

Q: My husband and I are in the process of establishing some new raised
vegetable garden beds. We downloaded information from a gardening site
on the Internet that suggested different materials for building raised
beds, one was cedar wood.

Well, we chose to go with the cedar, as it said it would have a longer
lifespan than other types of wood. I was then talking to someone, who
has some experience with vegetable gardening, and she told me that cedar
was probably not the best choice, as it will leach the cedar oils into
the soil and that will deplete the available nitrogen for the plants.

We have already purchased and built the frames and they are just waiting
to be filled with soil, etc. What is your opinion and suggestions? –Cynthia
Carol Pope, GardenWise magazine editor

Go ahead and plant
your beds with confidence. Cedar is frequently used for raised beds,
and you're right that it is a natural choice for a rot-resistant but
natural material. In fact, I used cedar in my own raised beds and have
had great results with my vegetables this first year.

And you don't just have to take my word on it. Ward Teulon, an agricultural scientist, and one of B.C.'s top experts on growing vegetables in raised beds, uses solid red cedar in his raised beds.

I also checked with Dr. Alan Reid, horticulturist, who confirmed there is "no reason why cedar should not
be used." He suggests that drainage and air flow should be optimized,
though, by "using a professional-quality landscape cloth that has a
rating of at least a 15-year lifespan. This will allow drainage and air
movement, and as long as excess water drains out of the raised bed,
there is nothing to worry about."

Lastly, Alan reminds us "to keep the soil alive like a yoghurt culture
and feed it so that it will release nitrogen and other nutrients at a
rate the plants can use them."

Enjoy your new vegetable garden!

Pros for cedar:
• Cedar is a lightweight and
dimensionally stable wood that lies flat and stays straight, which means
it resists the natural tendency to crack and check as you might find in
many other wood species. Its distinct cell structure discourages
moisture rot by allowing it to dry out faster than outdoor furniture
made from tropical hardwoods.

• Western Red Cedar is incredibly thermal coefficient, meaning even on hot days, it is cool to sit in.

Its bacterial and fungal resistance coupled with the fact that Cedar is
80% the strength of Oak, makes it the most desirable wood to use for
building outdoor furniture.

• Western Red Cedar fibers contain
oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and
decay making it excellent furniture material for moist or humid
climates. These properties also make Cedar a very popular material for
hot tub and sauna areas.

• Among other things these naturally
occurring organic compounds called (thujaplicins) give off that distinct
cedar aroma that is pleasant to humans but a deterrent to insects,
moths and other wood pests.

I think it's a great "green" way to recycle Very Happy And you can also use the woodchips and bark and turn it into mulch or compost?
Good luck and can't wait to see it done!

Note: Since I'm a new member I can't post the links to the websites where I found that information, sorry! pale

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Re: Had a light bulb moment!?

Post  wncsohn on 2/1/2012, 10:44 am

Thanks for the info Fireopal36. I did a search here on the forums and found a few posts about cedar but not a whole bunch. I guess if I plan on using the trees we should cut them to be at least 2" thick.

I have a motto though ... if it's free it's for me ... and since these are our trees in essence that makes it free! LOL

I'll be starting a thread when we begin constructing our garden. Just clearing the trees has made a huge difference.

It's going to be a grand endevor, to be honest. There's not a single level spot on our property. DH wanted to bring in a huge dozer and just raze everything down level but that would look wierd and it'd be expensive! Instead I've talked him into utilizing our live in assistants to do the largest part of the work and we're going to "roto-till" sections and terrace the sections! It'll look more natural and since it'll be the main view from my "new" front porch, I want it to look as spectacular as possible!

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Re: Had a light bulb moment!?

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