Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Will cedar last?

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Will cedar last?

Post  psalm91jim on 1/25/2012, 10:10 am

I am going to start a "raised garden" but I am not sure that using wood versus a composite or PVC is a good alternative to framing the box. Is there any problem with rot, being that it is in constant contact with moisture and soil? Also, is the weed mat sufficient to block nematodes?

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Re: Will cedar last?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 1/25/2012, 12:01 pm

glad you\'re here psalm91jim! happy hi

I'm a relative newbie and I'm sure our hosts will be along shortly to welcome you properly! The main purpose of the forum is to discuss Square Foot Gardening which is the method as described in Mel Bartholomew's book All New Square Foot Gardening. We do have areas where we discuss other gardening methods, but the forum is mainly dedicated to SFG. If you haven't yet read the book, you will definitely want to get a copy from your library, order it online, or download it to your eReader because everyone who follows the book says it's the easiest, best way to get good eats from very little effort and space! Smile

That said, there are a couple of threads on the forum currently that address materials for boxes:

In short, there are many members who opt for untreated pine or cedar and just accept that the cost of replacing boxes after a several years is acceptable to them (since after the initial expense of Mel's Mix, the cost to SFG is extremely minimal). There are some members who go with a stone, block, or cinderblock type of frame. There are others who use a plastic "wood" product or treated wood.

We have several members in Florida and the deep south and I'm sure they can chime in on what the "life expectancy" of their boxes has been in those climates.

When you get ready to fill your boxes, be sure to take a look at this thread as it will help you avoid a lot of the mistakes many of us made in the beginning:

I'm sorry I can't give any information on the nematodes question but am hoping one of our more experienced members will be able to help.

Again, welcome! Smile

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Re: Will cedar last?

Post  martha on 1/25/2012, 12:52 pm


Nice post, Walnut!

I found the nematode question interesting. In my initial on-line search, it seems that the cardboard might be more effective than a weed mat. (Or cardboard over a weed-mat!) The info I found talks about letting the ground go fallow for a year or two, which will dramatically decrease the nematode population. If you have the cardboard barrier, as far as the nematodes are concerned, the dirt they are living in is fallow.


Your weather is so different from mine - I would guess that your cardboard would decompose more quickly. But there are lots of Florida and other southern folks here, that will certainly be chiming in!

My first boxes are made of pine 1X's, and they are starting their 4th year of service. Some of them are warped, but they are all completely serviceable. I don't have a guess whose weather would be harder on them - yours or mine! Snow and ice, or unrelenting heat and humidity? My newer boxes are cedar, and I certainly expect them to last longer than pine, but again, your weather...my weather....

Certainly, for long term beauty, I would not use pine, nor would I for truly long term use. The first year, I didn't want to put too much money into this approach, because what if it didn't work as well and as easily as the book made it seem?


It does and it is!

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Cedar will last

Post  tomperrin on 1/25/2012, 1:33 pm

Cedar and locust both resist rot. They are used for fence posts, and the half life is probably around 10 years in the ground. My guess is that Tamarack (American Larch) would resist rot as well, but nobody cuts it.

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Re: Will cedar last?

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