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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Sealing raised beds I22gcj10Sealing raised beds 14dhcg10

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Sealing raised beds

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Post  schristi69 5/29/2013, 8:24 pm

Does anyone paint or seal their raised beds in any way?
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Post  sanderson 5/29/2013, 8:53 pm

I wouldn't on the inside. Just to keep on the safe side. Someone posted photos of their boxes painted on the outside with white trim and they looked very nice.
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Post  artisticfoodie 5/29/2013, 8:57 pm

I didn't - just used the used 2x10 douglas fir floor joists that I was given.
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Post  yolos 5/29/2013, 9:38 pm

I used 3 coats of raw linseed oil. I have no idea whether this will extend their life. But my research revealed that it was completely non toxic to humans. They did turn grey just like the non treated beds. On the last two beds, I did not bother with the linseed oil.
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Post  sanderson 5/30/2013, 12:18 am

Yolos, Just researched and learned that there is a difference between the toxic BOILED linseed (flaxseed) oil and safe RAW linseed oil. On this forum, you just keep on learning
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Post  brainchasm 6/2/2013, 3:50 pm

My raised beds are cinder/concrete block, and of course I live in Las Vegas, aka last exit before Hell.

I've been wondering what to do to keep them from holding & transmitting so much heat...white paint, wrap them in silver reflective mulch (that'd be rough on the eyes, OMG!), or "painting" them with Kool Deck.

I've been leaning towards the Kool Deck, I just haven't gotten there yet...I still have to build second trellises for the crenshaw melons...the plants are taking over!

So, we'll see.

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Post  Desertdweller 6/15/2013, 11:26 pm

I like the look of wood and have been wondering if there are ways to make it longer lasting.....I wondered about using some sort of nontoxic wax on the inside, anyone heard of such a product or process?

I am concerned about keeping toxic substances from leaching into the soil so I'm sure the options are quite limited.  Out of curiosity, for those of you who use unsealed wood boxes, what type of wood have you used and how did it hold up over time?
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Post  Goosegirl 6/16/2013, 7:41 am

I used 1x6 cedar from a bargain bin, unsealed and unpainted. This is year 3 and they are doing just great! Summers here are not the extreme that you have, but winters are wicked - they have endured ice and snow, wind, and temps down to -30. Cedar and redwood are naturally rot-resistant and insect-resistant. They do turn gray with age, but personally I like that look. I expect several more years out of these boxes.

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Post  sanderson 6/16/2013, 2:55 pm

Desert Dweller and Brain Chasm,

I've already posted replies to you, as I am following your hot weather/cinder block topics.  I have relatives in LV and I am trying to garner ideas for them.  Your back/side yards are so large compared to mine.  Sigh.  I, personally, think the cinder blocks are perfect to start with.  They will not break down anytime in your lives!!  In LV, cinder blocks are almost a must for fencing and makes sense for raised beds.  While not visually natural looking, it is used everywhere in LV, for good reason.  Keeping the blocks of the beds a little cooler is the project.

All wood, given time, WILL break down if exposed to the soil.  That's just nature (and termites as I found out the hard way!).  This first year I had my husband make 3 small beds with 8" cedar fencing, two 1 x 3 and one 1 x 4, for the side of our house.  Duh, what was I thinking.  silly me That's the area where we used treated 2 x 4's to build tall rose planter boxes and we got termites in them and in the house along the wall!!!  Even though there was at least a 6" space between the boxes and walls  $$$$  NOTE:  I just ran in and reminded husband of the past termite problem and that I think the side beds should be removed this fall and replaced with stone, brick, etc., so we don't get termites again.  What was I thinking trying to squeeze in a few more square feet of space!!  He agreed.

I think "wrapping" with wood, and for you DD, topping with a flat rail if you don't want ANY cement showing, would be the best.  BC, I know that you plant the holes in the cinder blocks, so if I were you, I would use the Cool Deck on the top surface, definitely, and either "wrap" the sides with wood/siding or use Cool Desk.  Can Cool Deck be tinted so it's not glaring bright white?    

Wood or siding, paint, stain, or leave to weather.  That way the wood is not slowly rotting on the inside of the beds where it contacts the wet Mel's Mix.  (I see a touch of it in the new side beds I mentioned above.)  If the boards don't touch the native soil or MM, they should last for years if not decades.
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Post  brainchasm 6/16/2013, 3:24 pm

Yes, Cool Decking can be tinted many colors, usually some variant of tan/taupe.

I don't think I would do the TOPS of the bricks, as much as the SIDES. With South and West facing sides, that brick gets blasted by sun. The tops are a much smaller surface area, singly and in aggregate. Planting the holes in the brick will require some irrigation changes, so I haven't committed to that path yet.

I am still leaning towards just a non-toxic, weatherproof, waterproof paint. That's a lot of requirements though. I'd even like bright white I think; the boxes would look clean, and something closer to professional.

And then of course, whatever material I "paint" onto the bricks will require a pretty complete removal of the current irrigation system (can't paint under the drip lines, doh!), so if anything I think it'll be a fall/winter project, maybe around first frost when I clear the majority of the bed and when the current residents of those squares can do without water for a day or two.

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